sneak peek: annette joseph

For most of the year, stylist and producer Annette Joseph lives in Atlanta, but her summers are always spent in Italy. Annette has been going to Italy since she was a child and she and her husband continued the tradition with their own family. Finally, after 20 years of taking their two children there, they began looking for a permanent Italian home. Six years ago, they found this home in the Cinque Terre region. Now the kids bring their friends and there’s a nonstop flow of U.S. visitors enjoying the good food, good wine and the beach! Annette is an amazing stylist (she was just featured in What’s in Your Toolbox!) and I love how her Italian home is a modern take on a beach house with plenty of nautical stripes, orange and hints of blue. Additional photos of Annette’s beautiful Italian flat are on Flickr! Thanks Annette! And thanks to Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn for the amazing photos!Amy A.

Image above: Since the flat is by the sea, I wanted to infuse a little seaside energy into the décor. I am all about the textural elements of the sea. The design concept was fishing town meets retro Riviera vibe; this is reflected throughout the home. There are whimsical and literal nods to the sea and groovy retro chairs strewn about. I am very relaxed and quiet when I am there, and I wanted the décor to reflect that. By using natural colors I achieved it, along with pops of Aegean blue (for the sea) and bright orange (a nod to emergency gear on a boat or flotation device on a ship). I also used a lot of rusty patina metal reminiscent of an old fishing boat along with sleek cool finishes like the Travertine floor pavers and white Carrara marble. The effect is cool, crisp with a little fun thrown in for good measure; it is a vacation home after all.

Image above: The chalkboard wall was so that guests can write a little thought about their stay as they leave. I love this aspect, and so do our guests. We use a market basket to shop every morning, one of the best parts of the day.

Image above: The bed is from a company in Genova, Molinari. I designed the headboard with light ply-wood; the design became known as the Mondrian wall because of the varied squares. It’s a clever bed with storage under the mattress — it pulls up much like the hood of a car. Italians are all about storage and using space efficiently, I love that! The beautiful patina iron porthole on the wall is repurposed as a mirror, a nod to a rusty old boat and the sea.

Image above: I love the lighting in Italy — there is a vast selection. The industrial light above the bed is just fantastic. I hung cone-shaped safety lamps in the master bathroom, they are hung with industrial weight boat rope (another boat reference). The ½ glass wall to the ceiling (above the headboard) allows light to fill the master bathroom located behind the ½ wall/headboard.

CLICK HERE for more of Annette’s Italian flat!

Image above: The marble trough is my favorite thing. The very large sliding glass door is my next favorite element in the room. In Italy, when you ask for a marble trough, they ask “how big?” It’s no big deal. The trough cost 500 euro — a steal! Handmade and super long!

Image above: The kitchen is my favorite place in the flat, great views and a dream to work in. It took 11 men to bring the island’s marble slab, I have a great photo of it! The lights are from the U.S. via France, thanks to South of Market here in Atlanta, and yes I sent them over from Atlanta, crazy yes, but so worth it! They make just the right statement!

Image above: This is an antique bottle dryer I use for mugs. I drink so much espresso, it’s usually never this full.

Image above: This cafe table and green metal folding chair is my place to sit and gaze at the view — it’s perfect!

Image above: Rubber buckets, made from recycled tires and bought in St. Tropez at the best little hardware store, hold my collection of European and American magazines. I love design and can’t stop reading and studying them even when I am on vacation.

Image above: This is the coolest room, the floor-to-ceiling glass wall was genius. It separates the rooms (this is the guest room) but still makes the flat look larger — my Italian designer friend suggested it. The stone wall closes in the original archway that was part of the original monastery, it is done in typical Ligurian style of stonework.

Image above: This gray on the bookshelf is actually the typical color used in Genova. People usually associate Italy with warm rust tones, so when my friend (a designer living in Genova) introduced me to the color while walking in the city one day, I knew I had to incorporate it in the design somehow.

Image above: The loggia fills with light and has the most amazing few of the mountains behind us and the sea in front of us. We spend a lot of time in this room. The coffee tables turn into dining-height tables with the flick of the wrist, and we use the stools scattered around the flat plus the banquet to seat guests. We can seat 14 at a dinner party here!

monique tables!!! And the rest of the apartment. And the idea of living in Cinque Terra. Sigh.

Can we have a source on those if possible?

Thanks! Great place Annette!


The glass wall…perfection. Those blue floral pillows are stunning! (source?) Beyond jealous if you couldn’t tell ;)


This is so beautiful. I may not be spending summers in Italy any time soon, but I can definitely take some inspiration from this lovely home. Love the view from the entryway!


Cinque Terre is my favourite part of Italy, I can’t even imagine what a treat it must be to spend every summer there…and in the beauty that is this apartment!


I love it all, too – especially that gray on the bookshelves! You said that it’s a typical Genova gray. Could you elaborate on how a stateside-bound girl could acquire the same shade? Also, it seems to have a brownish undertone to it – is that so? Thanks!


One of my favorite sneak peeks, this apartment is absolutely stunning. How wonderful!


Insanely gorgeous home, but what’s with the strategically placed Hermes shopping bag?


I must know the paint color on the bookshelves. It immediately struck me in the first photo. You are one lucky lady. What a gorgeous place!


i love that “Genova Grey” on the built-in bookshelves, swoon!! thank you for sharing the story behind the decision!


i die. thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods- i am guilty as charged.


Gorgeous home! The Hermes bag is a little ridiculous – like a weak attempt to “upscale brand” the home. Apart from that, very lovely.


I love the warm gray bookshelves and how it takes up the entire wall and frames the window. It’s such an unexpected statement in the kitchen, but seems to fit perfectly.

What a gorgeous home!


I guess I too fell in love with the bookshelf color! Does anyone know a US vendor that carries a similar/exact shade?


ok, now…beautiful coffee tables that pop up to dining tables w/ the flick of a wrist? Anyone know where these are from? I’ve seen similar products..but none this beautiful.


Lovely, lovely, lovely….so comfortable and welcoming. I love those white shell ‘trees’ on the grey bookshelf. Well, ok, i love everything!


thanks for all the lovely comments:) I will try to find a gray that is similar so stay tuned….and for those of you who commented on the Hermes shopping bag:) I love the pop of orange + it’s my favorite shopping bag of all time, I collect shopping bags…there it’s explained. Simple as that.


I just looove stripes. So eye-catching! The chalkboard is also a fun element to add to a sweet home. Love it!

Laura Hays

I’m with Leslie on this one. Cruel in the way that us “normal” people could only dream about how perfect this all is! I just went into an “are you kidding me” overload. ;)


How amazing must it be to have a home in Italy?! The space is absolutely stunning – love love love!

ginny branch stelling

almost fell off the sofa, mouth on the floor! annette!!! this is so GOBSMACKINGLY gorgeous ; )

you got skillz to pay the billz!


Absolutely stunning. I agree on the bookshelf paint comments–I was drawn to it right off the bat as well. And I live just a few miles from South of Market. Will have to stop in versus simply drooling from my car at the stoplight.

Ryan Howell

This might make me sound like a nerd, but I’m digging the mini-split zoned AC system. A lot of these big ol’ houses don’t take energy savings into consideration. Nice to see!


Neutral tones marry so well with that splash of blue…such a calming interior effect. Love it…


For us Aussies Italy is a a 24 hour flight away, one that my family and I will luckily be doing next year! Annette, your holiday home epitomises the warmth and beauty I imagine all of Italy to have. I close my eyes and imagine myself entertaining family and friends. Bliss. Thank you for sharing.


can you tell me where did you get the black wire chair in the room of the Anette italian flat?


Just beautiful! Ditto on Kami’s comment. Please talk more about the pop-up coffee tables…they sound fantastic for NYC apartment!


absolutely beautiful! i love that it is an italian cliche, but had a lovely relaxed panache that is authentically italian all the same :)


Those dining tables-ingenious. That glass wall-stunning. I am drooling! Thanks for the peek!

holly~ livingston and porter

I spent my 30th birthday in cinque terre- hard to believe it’s already been 13 years since that memorable trip…..

What a beautiful home you have created in such a lovely part of Italy. Peeking into your world with my coffee this morning has been a little holiday in itself!


When I die I want to go to this house. I hope they won’t mind a ghost napping on that couch.

Ha ha..I just looked up and noticed that Stacy Koehn had the same idea.

Gorgeous beyond gorgeous.


okay, now I’m just wildly jealous. I really like that dark grey bookcase/wall. It looks great with all that natural light.


I second the request for the bookshelf paint color. I have bookshelves that await that color. Do not deny them…


“Cinque Terra” which is a typo.
The real location is “Cinque Terre” as Lynn said


This home says home. It’s absolutely stunning..warm and reflects so much of it’s owners. I would love to know where the black and white runner is from. Thank you for sharing this..made my night.


I hate to beg, but PLEASE share the details of those convertible coffee tables. I am mad with desire. The whole place looks fabulous!


I’d love to know the artist who made the photograph of the child in a dress, in the sixth photo from the bottom. Thanks!

Jean Christen

Annette, what a beautiful and inviting home. It feels like a warm and authentic place to relax and just be. You are one gifted and talented lady!


Fantastic. Do you know the designer of the lamp, which is hanging on the wall above the bed?
Love it.


I love that striped poof! Please would you do a DIY: Making an Awesome Poof!!!

jean James

Beautiful and so kind of you to share- ignore any negative comments you read- not kind at all….
I am happy for you to have such a wonderful flat. If you share the paint color of the shelving, I would love to know as well. Take care


Absolutely gorgeous! Swoon! Did any one ever source where the black and white runner was from? I love it!


Karlee, I’m with you… where can I find those black and white runners? They add a wonderful dynamism to the flat!


the runner is custom made in Sweden, however dwell online has something very similar!


Annette: can you please tell me where you got the orange/blue striped rug in the kitchen? thank you so much.


probably one of the most beautiful homes I’ve seen on this site!

Ann Wisniewski

Wow Annette. I love your home. It is breathtaking. I know you can hardly wait to get back here each year. Thanks for sharing it with us.


Hi, your home is inspirational, i love the colours & your runner!! I am unable to find the runner on dwell.. please can you send a link or provide the contact details for the swedish company please.. thanks


what leslie in comment number 3 said. This is so beautiful it’s unreal. And we haven’t even seen the view yet!!


Cara Annette…che bello vedere la tua casa italiana!!!! naturalmente fantastica !!!! baci roberto