MOJEH exclusively explores the beachside hideaway of Italian fashion designer, Elisabetta Franchi
Living your dream is something Elisabetta Franchi seems to have a knack for. Heading up her eponymous label for more than 20 years, the 50-year-old designer says it was dreaming big that helped her get where she is in the fashion industry today.
While the self-effacing Italian “doesn’t believe the word success belongs to her,” as we sit in the garden of her Milano Marittima holiday home, focusing upon one particular childhood wish culminated in the realisation of one of many long-held dreams.
“When I was a little girl, I always came here to go to the beach” says Elisabetta, who was born and raised in Bologna, just over an hour’s drive from her seaside hideaway. “I promised myself that one day, if I had made enough money, I would buy a house in Milano Marittima. And, well, here we are – I did it.”
Located just a few moments walk from the beach of the pretty north Italian coastal town, Elisabetta’s dream house is an exquisite all-white structure, boasting polished concrete floors, vast windows and glass walls that flood the space with an abundance of natural light.
I was looking for a place that was pretty close to home where I could relax and enjoy nature and the sea,” explains Elisabetta. “For me, this house represents luxury, a sense of harmony and overall balance that is achieved when the furniture and accessories interact with each other in a perfect unison of clean lines and shapes.”
Designed by architect Alfredo Mattesini, and inspired by the deck of a yacht, while the aesthetic is cool, sleek and minimalist, the feel is warm and inviting – with the multiple dining areas a clear indication that this is a holiday home designed for sharing good food and great times.
“My favourite piece of furniture in the house is the huge table in the outdoor dining room,” smiles Elisabetta, who personally designed the interiors of the house herself. “It’s eight metres long, and it’s perfect for hosting big dinners and lunches with lots of people – the classic Italian way to eat. It also has little trunks for sitting on instead of chairs. I just love it.”
Decorated in neutral shades of white, ivory and beige, with elements of natural wood, stone and stainless steel and an emphasis on bringing the outdoors in, the house is all about combining the calming powers of nature with contemporary technology and cutting edge design.
“I am passionate about art, and love to collect pieces that really speak to me. But in this house, it’s less about magnificent artworks, and more about the incredible structure of the building,” explains Elisabetta.
While there may not be any huge artworks on display, there are many cherished items dotted around the house; family photos are everywhere, a reminder of numerous happy moments and experiences shared with the most important people in Elisabetta’s life, alongside an elegant edit of stylish accessories.
“I have chosen particular objects that have lots of meaning attached to them. I don’t like to have too many ornaments, because I don’t like the space to feel overwhelmed with items,” says the designer of her carefully curated collection of decorative pieces.
“That’s not to say that if I see something on one of my trips that really catches my attention, I won’t buy it. It’s just that I think the house is already complete, and that its design says enough.”
Frequently shuttling between her trio of Italian homes with husband Alan and their children Leone and Ginevra, dedicated animal lover Elisabetta often brings one or two (or three) of her dogs with her to enjoy the sea air.
“Some of my dogs travel with us when we come here, but I prefer to leave most of them at the house in Bologna so they can run around in the countryside,” she says of her furry family.
And just as Elisabetta prioritises the needs of her husband and children in each of the homes she builds or renovates, the designer also considers her pets when moving to a new property.
“I create custom-made spaces for my kids in each of our homes, so they can be independent both now and in the future, but I also consider the needs of our pets,” she reveals.
“They are so important to me, and it’s because of them that I love surrounding myself with a beautiful garden, so they can live freely and happily without any restrictions. I decided to give them a better life, and they became a part of my family. I love spending time with them. They give me peace.”
With so many important people and pets to consider, there’s only one change Elisabetta would make to the Milano Marittima property if she had the chance. “I love this house, but if I did it again, I’d make it bigger,” she explains.
With a consistently hectic schedule, which includes the daily runnings of her company as well as designing numerous collections, animal rights campaigner Elisabetta also oversees the company’s recently-launched Island Dog Village EF.
Currently working on a book, as well as a documentary, when Elisabetta has the opportunity to escape to her seaside hideaway, her priority is rest and relaxation. “I consider this house my sanctuary,” she says. “It transmits a real sense of peace and wellbeing.”
- Words by Lucy Wildman
- Photography by Mattia Bettinelli