When two cultures come together in harmonic fusion on an interior design project, amazing things can happen! We know from experience that the result will be anything but conventional, as proved by the renovation of this traditional residence by the shores of Lake Comabbio in Italy. The home of Dutch born designer Marjolein Bartelmann, who has lived in Italy with her family for some 20 years, is the subject of this outstanding design intervention. As a DIY project, she was in the unique position of understanding the needs of her family, which she interpreted within the cool contemporary functionality of an interior warmed by the soft Italian elegance, which has become part and parcel of her world and her being.

When defining the design aesthetic of the renovation project, she remained true to her heritage and her Mediterranean home, through a blend of the old and the new, of found objects and distressed surface, side by side with spectacular designer light fittings and carefully curated objects. On the ground floor level, the kitchen, living space and office follow very different lines, according to their uses. The kitchen is the heart of the home with an old rustic table taking centre stage beside the unexpected choice of contrasting plastic chairs, ‘Louis Ghost’ by Kartell. One wall is of raw brick, another is a blackboard and the other painted white, something for everyone which adds an exciting element to this family space. The living room is quite formal in comparison, starkly contemporary through the oversized ‘Po’ standard lamp of Cappellini and the retro iron radiator under the painted white beams of the traditional ceiling.

The office space exudes a rustic element and a family friendly wall of chalked messages and photo board, both of which may be changed at will, as the entire family contributes to the decoration, expressing their individual personalities in the process. On the upper level, each of the bedrooms holds its own attraction through the experimental stripping back of the walls, exposing the history of paintwork which has covered them throughout the ages. Particularly successful is the room of daughter Noa,  the surfaces of which have taken on the look of the wall murals of the grand Italian palaces,  enhanced by the bright magenta Artecnica light ‘Midsummer Light’ and a sweet chair upholstered in Missoni velvet, lucky girl! A stunning makeover beautifully executed in a personal style, only possible through a DIY project.