When Rustic Umbrian Charm Meets Minimalist Scandinavian Design

What do you get when you mix modern Dutch and Scandinavian design with the breathtaking rolling hills of Umbria? Something very close to interior design heaven we believe, judging by Casa Refogliano.

In December of 2014, a Dutch family fell in love with an old olive grove near the Italian town of Piegaro, Umbria. With the plot boasting a spectacular view overlooking Lake Trasimeno and the Tuscan mountain ridge, it’s not hard to see why. Instead of simply taking a few photos and moving on, the family – made up of a successful entrepreneur, a judge and three young children – decided to go a step further by building their dream holiday home on the site. Less than two years later, Casa Refogliano was ready to welcome its Dutch owners with open arms.

In order to stay true to the rustic charms of the Umbrian countryside, the house has been built with traditional materials typical of the area. The exterior stonework, for example, was forged from stones excavated from the rock on which the house was built.

Inside, handmade cotto floors, beamed ceilings, and locally crafted wooden windows and shutters are just some of the architectural gems to be found in the interior of this inspiring country home.

In the combined family room and dining space, sleek Scandinavian design and minimalist white walls create a bright and open interior aesthetic, juxtaposing the home’s more traditional infrastructure. We love the combination of brilliant and burnt orange accents; in an otherwise neutral interior, these playful touches are a great way to visually warm up the space.

To accommodate the growing family of five, the owners turned to the latest in modern seating solutions for their dining space. A built in bench pays homage to the traditional rustic farmhouse aesthetic whilst still being practical for everyday family living. The addition of a gallery wall is a clever way to bring art into the house without disrupting the fun and casual overall feel of the room.

The kitchen offers a cozier take on the minimalist aesthetic we’ve seen in previous Scandinavian themed house tours. This is partly attributable to the handmade floors and wooden beams, but the warmer beige tones of the cabinets, open shelving, and the use of antique design elements, such as the beautiful hanging candle chandelier, also help to introduce a homey vibe to the space. Our favorite part of the kitchen has to be that fabulous butcher block island which serves to add a real country house flair to the room.

Upstairs in the bedrooms, the refreshing mixed aesthetic of rustic farmhouse and modern minimalism continues to dominate. In one room, a hanging lantern in lieu of the conventional lamp setup is a quirky alternative for those looking at unique lighting options. We also like the choice of a chunky knitted stool as a bedside table – very hygge!

In the kids’ bedroom, style and sophistication reign supreme. The key here is to incorporate elevated versions of the usual children’s furniture pieces. A built in bunk bed made from solid dark wood and decorated with wrought iron details, for instance, is a serious step up from the unsightly character-themed plastic alternative. Even the toy elephant is a cool and design conscious.

Outside in the garden, a spacious swimming pool and roofed lounge terrace complete with pizza oven (when in Rome after all) await –  not that we needed any more convincing to spend time with that stunner of a view, which is arguably one of the best features of this house. It is a relief, then, that Casa Refogliano has been designed and constructed in a way that respects and honors its glorious surroundings.

The result of this sustainable architectural design becomes clear when viewing the exterior profile of the building; here, you can see how Casa Refogliano is positioned perfectly within the slope of the hill so as to blend in with the natural lines of the land, thus minimizing the visual environmental impact of the project. As such, besides being a lesson in how to combine traditional rustic design elements with an overall modern minimalist aesthetic, Casa Refogliano further stands as a shining, stone-clad example of eco-friendly architectural design – not bad for a little holiday home right?

Would you like to spend your vacation in this Umbrian holiday home? Let us know in the comments below.

Project: Casa Refogliano from Special Umbria

Design:  Special Umbria, and S.P.R. Studio

Photos: Kristian Septimius Krogh

  • Jaimie Haines

    Absolutely gorgeous! Bet it’s expensive?