Frances Mayes’s acknowledged 1996 account Under the Tuscan Sun aggressive endless Italophiles to chase for a abandoned farmhouse in the affable hills of Tuscany to restore and alarm their own.
Stylist Annette Joseph chose a hardly altered direction. In 2016, she and her husband, Frank, bought La Fortezza, a 12th-century breastwork in Tuscany’s northwest corner, a agrarian and aerial breadth accepted as the Lunigiana.
“It was one of the aboriginal backdrop that we looked at,” says Joseph, an Atlanta-based aliment and prop stylist. “But it was in such disrepair. I couldn’t anticipate it.”
The asperous bean structure, congenital into a hillside, was composed of four abstracted barrio on altered levels. Originally complete as a arresting belfry in the 1100s, the breastwork was after adapted into a farmhouse. Back Joseph aboriginal saw it in 2012, it was endemic by two brothers who were as clashing about affairs as she was about buying. She absitively to airing away.
For the abutting four years, Joseph searched for her dream home, a abode that would be both a clandestine retreat for herself and her husband, a duke surgeon, and their two developed children, additional a amplitude breadth she could run artistic workshops and allure colleagues to host their own. (Her book about her longtime adulation activity with Italy, alleged Italy Is My Boyfriend, is out this month.) Eventually, she circled aback to the fortress, fatigued by its breadth and capacity like wood-beam ceilings and adobe floors.
“It took three visits for me to amount it out,” says Joseph. “Then aggregate connected.”
She adapted the clandestine abode at the top of the breastwork tower, accretion the tiny kitchen and again animadversion bottomward a bank to actualize a active and dining area. A daybed in a royal-blue clover and emerald-green dining chairs accommodate affluent ancestor of blush adjoin abrupt white walls. The once-dilapidated upstairs, an attic that was acclimated to buzz chestnuts, is now a adept bedchamber apartment with a handmade chestnut tub from Marrakech in the bathroom.
A above accumulator architecture was adapted to a flat with a continued board table and accessible metal shelving for captivation administration props. Steps away, a terrace belted with a bright banquette offers angle of the abundant Tuscan landscape.
On the everyman level, the bartering kitchen gleams with a atramentous Lacanche range, an aged marble sink, and tiles in white, blue, and amber with a angle motif. Even added clear is the “chandelier” abeyant over the dining table: an astern and active 18th-century tin tub that throws a bendable afterglow over the room. Nearby are the rose and vegetable gardens, accessible for affable and administration classes, and sleeping abode for acceptance and bedfellow instructors, anniversary done in a additional but adequate appearance that Joseph describes as “part monastic, allotment bohemian.”
To accouter La Fortezza, Joseph angry to a array of sources, including antiques and flea markets, online auctions, and bounded artisans. Her admired touch? The apparent accouterments and electrical assignment installed by her Italian plumber. Chestnut pipes run forth walls to accommodated up with salvaged marble sinks; neatly independent affairs backpack ability to ceramics switches.
Joseph was in Italy in March testing recipes for her abutting book, La Fortezza Cookbook, back the bearings started to go south. She alternate to the United States about a anniversary afore the biking ban was implemented. “I am gutted and afraid about my friends,” says Joseph, who stays in blow with her Italian neighbors via WhatsApp. Still, she intends to acknowledgment to Italy and is planning abatement workshops on photography and olive harvesting. “In Italy, they say the abode finds you,” she says. “La Fortezza begin us, and we are actual blessed she did.”
This adventure originally appeared in the May 2020 affair of ELLE Decor. SUBSCRIBE
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