Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tour all-season garden inside (& out) a boho farmhouse in Italy

“I just wanted to build a very insignificant farmhouse, and then cover it with flowers,” says house and garden photographer Oberto Gili in the February 2017 issue of Architectural Digest.

I think he easily overshot both goals, though I’m not complaining, oh no! Instead he made boho “flowers” of the interior rooms, dressed in colorful mish-mashes of exotica collected by he and his companion, Joy Sohn—a photographic force in her own right—in their global travels. 


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

The living room walls (above) are the only remnant of the faded pink that once also graced the exterior of the house (below). The flower painting below the marlin is by Cecil Beaton.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

Gili says the change from pink to gray on the outside allows foliage and flowers to take center stage.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

Thus the house sifts into the background and nature shines no matter the season or its weather.


That’s when it’s especially nice to be inside, in the pink, to turn a phrase.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

“It’s a lot like living inside the garden,” Sohn says. And my, how the interiors bloom!


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

There’s not a traditional sort of sofa anywhere in the house, let alone in the living room. But you will find a variety of chairs and settees, many of which sport drapes of textiles from the couple’s travels, like this swath of mud cloth from Africa on an antique Italian chair.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

The gilded mirror reflects one of Gili’s photographs and is a family heirloom. My personal favorites in this room, though, are the colorful Chinese figurines flanking the vase of hydrangeas on the table.


Ground-floor rooms flow one into another and serve multiple purposes


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

Hence the appearance of sturdy tables and chairs everywhere. This rooms is used mostly as the dining room and features funnel-like lighting and a cherry table designed by Gili, as well as more quirky seating.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

“Rooms should be what you want them to be—and when you need them to be,” Gili says, which explains the presence of so many sturdy tables and chairs. The couple estimates they could easily accommodate 50 guests.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili

Ditto for the “bread room,” which might be compared to a keeping room or breakfast room (note the ovens/fireplace in the corner). I like how the table here is the same style to the cherry ones in the living room and dining room. But here Gili had it fashioned in iron with a marble top. Those same lines, the lighting fixtures and the repeat of drapery fabric throughout the downstairs unifies the connecting spaces.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

I’m especially partial to that perky yellow, curved-back settee peeking from behind this table. I also love all the shells and natural treasures on display. The American flag painting is by Alessandra Bruno.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

Even something as simple as a hand-hewn wood bowl full of homegrown apples and a painting of a weiner dog mix it up with vintage art and antique ceramics and porcelains.


Who wouldn’t slumber peacefully here?


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili

The master bedroom has no shortage of flowers of its own—these ones painted in large-scale by Alida Morgan. The family dogs find this room a comfy snoozing spot probably because there’s so much to look at that there’s no need to count (or chase!) sheep.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

A guest room features a rusted iron sleigh bed Gili designed, with Gili’s Bank Street Rose: Life and Death hung overhead. I love how the gorgeous saffron coverlet seems to be casually tossed up over most of the bed, as if someone just got up. Wish I'd been that someone! Of course, if I had, that bowling pin lamp and colorful vase would now be missing (winky-wink).


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

A separate guest house includes more quirky seating, more funnel lighting, another sturdy table, and even more natural wonders. I'm in love with the barrel ceiling myself, as well as the cubby-like windows.


Gili has always dreaming of living off the land, and now he has his wish


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Obert Gili photo

Pretty much everything the couple eats and drinks comes from the land and livestock they raise. Here Gili is shown here with his donkey, Giulia. Looking on is Rachetta, one of Gili's dogs.


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

More livestock grazes nearby. Though many of the roses are fragrant David Austin varieties, Gili observes that sometimes, in May, there are so many that even he tires of them. Imagine!! How about a house trade, Oberto, ol' buddy ol' pal? I'll take the place off your hands for a week or so. I'll even prune those roses for you when they're done blooming. Deal?


Oberto Gili on Architectural Digest. www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Oberto Gili photo

Once in, though, he'd have a hard time ousting me. Because even in winter, who could tire of views like these, seen from the inside of such an amazing boho home? Like living inside a flower, indeed!


If you want more…

  • Take the full online photographic tour on the Architectural Digest website. If you’re a garden enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the additional exterior photos included there.  
  • Pick up the February 2017 issue of AD and read “Italian Idyll” by Mitchell Owens—an interview with Gili and his partner, Joy Sohn, also a photographer. 
  • Get BoHo Home sent to your inbox using one of the subscriptions services at the bottom of this page. Or, follow my blog with Bloglovin.
  • Check out Oberto Gili’s work in these books (affiliate links)...

        

    

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