Coloured panels of real fresco were painted around that part of the old barn, which was to become the drawing room

Frescoed panels

This room was an old barn not so long ago, in fact the house was originally stables and outbuildings set in olive groves above Florence, the walls were very crooked and kept that way throughout the caring and clever restoration by the architect Themistocle Antoniadis.

Before the splendid herringbone parquet went in we decided to paint coloured panels of real fresco around the soon to be drawing room.

The walls had been layered up in lime plaster so we roughed up the panels after defining there edges with plastic strips nailed into the walls. We then applied the lime intonaco (lime, fine sand and marble dust ). When this was almost set we used five paintbrushes nailed together in a row to apply first a rusty red and then a blue black.

We had premixed the pigment and water in wide troughs and used a broom stick attached to the brushes so we could paint a single stroke for each coat of colour. Finally the strips were removed and a dark blue lime wash applied to the panel surrounds.

The transparency of colour on the panels with tiny reflections from the sand makes a beautiful contrast to the opaque dark blue surround. The team for this one was Fiona Corsini, Pietro Manzo, myself and the builders Calogeno and Shaba.

Other rooms

In the same house, that belongs to our painter colleague Fiona Corsini and her husband Diego di San Giuliano, we also decorated the dining room and a large bedroom, which have separate pages on this site.

Read more

This bedroom and other parts of the house feature in a story published by The New York Times Style Magazine.