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!

  1. nadine says:

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

  2. currystrumpet says:

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

  3. Tracey says:

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

  4. amy says:

    Soooo good. Between the chalkboard wall and the Eames chair, I’m dying here.

  5. 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!

  6. Mariela says:

    Lovely home. So beautiful, and love the kitchen, well everything.

  7. I really love the lived in look…not too fussy, and good design. FUN! Exceptional building as well.

  8. Sealicious says:

    yes, please tell us more about those convertible coffee tables!

  9. Stacy Koehn says:

    Just bury me there!

  10. What an amazing home. I love the drying rack!

  11. kate says:

    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.

  12. The convertible coffee table is pure genius. I really need this for my little house!

  13. kerrouche says:

    very good thank you

  14. Questa casa e` incredibilmente meravigliosa. Una fra le piu` belle che abbia mai visto, in tutti i suoi dettagli! Complimenti!

  15. Becky says:

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

  16. Kara says:

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

  17. blal says:

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

  18. Beautiful flat but I do not get a sense of ‘being in Italy’ here.

  19. jeannette says:

    whoa there! beautiful.

  20. Cricket says:

    Love that trough. 500 euros . . . you are lucky.

  21. Ingrid says:

    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.

  22. jphilly says:

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

  23. HNR says:

    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!

  24. Annette says:

    The Boy photograph is from Vee Spears, The Birthday Party Collection.
    The tables are from a store in Genoa called http://www.molinaridesign.com/
    The paint on the library shelves, the closest one I could find in the U.S. was BM Stormy Sky

  25. Jean Christen says:

    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!

  26. Sarah says:

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

  27. rachel says:

    thanks for the paint color update, annette!

  28. Mom says:

    Beautiful home,lucky we went to Italy so often.And of course Budapest also.

  29. Sophie says:

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

    1. grace says:

      hi sophie!

      we did actually- you can learn to make one here:

      http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/05/sewing-101-making-a-pouf.html

      grace

  30. jean James says:

    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

  31. Karlee says:

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

  32. rene says:

    beautiful! really love it.

  33. Emily says:

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

  34. annette says:

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

  35. christine says:

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

  36. Andy Montoya says:

    Gorgeous!!! Very nice really!

  37. Luwam says:

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

  38. Ann Wisniewski says:

    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.

  39. ali says:

    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

  40. Eva says:

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

  41. roberto says:

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

  42. Drooling over every aspect of your flat. You did such a terrific job. I, too, am in love with those gray bookshelves. TDF! oxoxo

  43. Piero Romano Pieruzzi says:

    Dear Annette,
    thank you for your message. Just for your info we are trying to sell our apartment with large private garden and private swimming pool as well. We think to be not in the very right hands with local Agencies. Your partner in this operation looks much better prepared and, if possible, we would consider them to carry in our project. Is this possible? In the meantime, good luck and warmest regards. Piero Pieruzzi

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