Ancient cement tiles recovered in Val Tidone, white German ceramic and bakelite switches, French pampilles, handmade ceramics and wooden beams blasted with bicarbonate: this is not my first time in Veneto at Villa 61 – Maison de Campagne, but every time it's pure magic. "We bought the cement tiles (10 pallets) from a gentleman in Piacenza, that restores them one by one equipped with an electric chisel", tell the owners of the house, Eleonore, French and passionate about cooking, interior design and flea markets, and Massimo, from Belluno, architect and graphic designer.
All the spaces are decorated with old-fashioned pieces, family treasures, like the wooden Madonna (one of the few objects from the Eleonore family), or carefully selected in antique markets, which give that rustic and refined touch that we love so much. Each with its own story to tell, and cleverly refurbished by Eleonore and Massimo: "Furniture and furnishings are the result of our research, we were touring the antique markets of Italy and France even before having a home. Every object has its own history, we remember exactly where it was taken ... and then how it was restored! The goal is to give life and dignity back to objects that have been forgotten ".
Each door leads to a fairytale atmosphere. And even the doors have a story to tell, from the entrance door of the late '700 to the doors recovered in the old Belluno hospital. "The only door that we kept from the old building and which also represents Villa 61 (from which our logo was created) is the one of the entrance of the Lumiere room, embellished by the railing recovered in a market and that fit perfectly". And then handmade decorations, which open the doors of creativity, and make you want to create with your own hands wreaths of flowers, poems in wire and ancient herbarium.
Here you can experience the slow living of the countryside, including aperitifs in the garden, genuine food and always different views. Yes, because another highlight of Villa 61 is the view of the Dolomites, which ranges from the Feltre peaks to the Alpago basin. A real refuge far from the confusion of everyday life, where you can breathe calm and serenity, where you can find yourself thanks to the contact with nature and beautiful things, the authentic ones.
The welcome is with rose scented water. Breakfast is a real cuddle, with Eleonore cakes: simple and rustic cakes that remind of grandma's Sundays. And then homemade granola, jams and yogurt, apple juice from Miel and freshly squeezed orange juice. At the home of a French Madame you can't miss the French croissants and the tarte tatin (delicious!).
My favorite room? In the shades of white, beige and gray-blue Gustavien, the Lumière room was my love at first sight (I love ‘pampilles’ next to the beds!).
And then there is the Romance room, overlooking the Dolomites, a dip in the nuances of beige and aubergine violet. Wonderful the ancient iron headboard of the early 1900s, flanked by two ceiling lamps in black Murano glass.
"The color palette had to be on pastel shades, natural shades that matched perfectly with raw wood and clay," says Eleonore.
Another curiosity is the raw clay plasters, known for its breathable, hygrogenic and hypoallergenic properties.
And then there is the old barn ... Here they organize weddings, events and workshops, ranging from handmade ceramics with Maruska Fiengo, to the photography course with Alberto Bogo up to herbarium by Ery Terapiacasa.
How was born Villa61 Maison de Campagne in Limana, Belluno
"I am French but my maternal grandparents are from Val Belluna, so I have always seen this incredible territory with ‘foreign eyes’. I like to be in contact with people and my sociable and outgoing character has led me to want to share these wonders - many of which have been discovered thanks to my previous work in tourism publishing - with other people. In France we have Maison d'hôtes and a special care for the house. I wanted to bring this kind of hospitality here to Limana, in the province of Belluno, in Veneto. For two years I managed a restaurant in a historic building from the 1400s, which allowed me to experience hospitality. And I realized that this was my way ... " Eleonore says.
"For some time we have been looking for a home that could in part become a receptive activity. We felt in love when we saw this rustic from the end of the 1800s, almost devoured by an acacia wood, with an incomparable view of the Dolomites. The view of our beloved Dolomites was the sine qua non condition for choosing our home”. And then the type of exposed stone, with angular stones squared by hand and with brick arches above all the windows: "for being a rustic it was very elegant".
The recovery works, the renovations and the deforestation started. "The restoration embraces the criteria of bio-architecture. With attention to natural materials such as the thermal coat in wood fiber and the plaster in clay ".
The house was still inhabited by one of the two owner brothers: “Entering was like taking a step back in time, at the beginning of the 900: the furnishings, the beds still made. The old owner had touched nothing in his brother's part: he had only added bowls for water leaking from the roof, bowls and old pots everywhere!”.
Eleonore has been passionate about interior design since she was a child. This is thanks to her mother who raised her amid fabulous installations, flowers and French savoir-faire. The secret of interior design? "Listen to the house! Often there are things we like but they are not adaptable to the house in which we live, we need to listen to the house to create a harmonious and winning style ". Among Eleonore's favorite interior designers, “Paola Navone because she combines ancient materials and modern vibes. My favorite instagram accounts to take inspiration from? @_foodstories_(or @_designtales_) and @saarmanche. They have a "vintage" but also minimal style. In the barn that we are furnishing, I would like some beautiful pieces, without exaggerating in quantity. To give lightness".
What are the five essential elements to create the perfect atmosphere at home? "The light! I don't mean the natural one but the artificial one. Choosing light points and type is fundamental. Then you can't miss the cushions, an armchair to read, a nice kitchen and a large dining table to sit all together!"
The antique markets not to be missed in Veneto, according to Eleonore, are Badoere (the first Sunday of the month), Portobuffolè (the second Sunday of the month), and Feltre (the second Sunday of the month).
Three adjectives to describe Villa 61 - Maison de Campagne? " 'Unique' because there is only one with these architectural features and in this position. "Authentic" because we followed very high criteria to restructure it. "Original" because in interior decor there is a French touch" explains Eleonore.
Future projects? "In the future we would like to create in the old pigsty a small wellness area with sauna and cold tub, and on the outside a solarium with a view of the Dolomites". I can’t wait!