Milan's swankiest apartments are usually located in opulent historical buildings, but with a little know-how, your newly-built Texas pad can be just as leggendario. With just a few design tricks, you too could be living la dolce vita.
We call it the Milan Look: sexy, with an old-meets-new vibe. Elegant but not precious, the Milan Look is a masterful blend of rich materials like leather, patinated metal, and reclaimed wood. Italian architect and designer Vincenzo De Cotiis is making a name for himself with this genre, a less-is-more eclecticism that blends classical architecture with mid-century lines and a minimalist, contemporary lifestyle. If properly executed, the look is distinctly Italian, with native materials and designs like black marble and Gio Ponti–inspired furnishings.
To get the smoldering look, try dark floors. Waxed or reclaimed wood also works. Seek a sofa in dark leather and pair with some vintage, brightly-hued chairs. Lighting can be new or vintage, but brass is a good choice to create a feeling of warmth and patina.
Bright, graphic art offers the perfect counterbalance to the brooding effect. Black and white, geometric, and neon are some good places to start. As for some 3-D texture, try a Brutalist sculpture: the midcentury genre, usually some form of twisted metal, will give a space just the right edge.
For your mid-century treasure hunt, try Reeves Antiques (2415 Taft St., 713-523-5577, [email protected]) or Metro Retro (2215 Washington Ave., 713-521-3030, j[email protected]). Online, 1stdibs.com offers infinite choices, but be prepared to pay top dollar.
The result? A crazy-sexy-yet-cozy space. Timelessly modern.