DESIGNER Angela Panozzo spent a long time looking for a space to create her dream home. When she found it she knew right away. The space was a rundown warehouse in the heart of Bologna, Italy.
“The first time I visited the place there was little floor space because it was full of printing machines, desks and storage furniture,” the Chinese-Italian said. “I remember the tiled floor being greasy and dirty, the walls and ceiling ruined and very little natural light coming in.”
Despite the problems she said several things caught her attention.
“Despite being part of a condominium, it’s an independent structure on the ground floor and doesn’t face any street, so it’s far from the noisy traffic,” she said.
“I was attracted by the beautiful façade, and I kept the original red bricks, columns and wide opening. I fell in love with the high arched ceiling, which is typical of warehouses.”
Although the ceiling was ruined, Panozzo knew she would be able to save the arched-roof, the key element that makes her home so unique.
During the renovation process, she replaced the old roof with new non-toxic corrugated laminates and added six custom skylights, all of which can be opened.
Another important element in the conversion was Panozzo’s vision to adhere somewhat to the building’s original purpose as a printing press.
“I wanted to maintain the industrial style given by the space itself,” she said. “In fact, this house is a real open space with the semi-opened bedrooms that are reminiscent of working booths. And not coincidentally the flooring I chose is concrete, a cold material, unusual for residential spaces. Even the main bathroom, with the walls made of wire mesh glass windows, recalls a workshop.”
The loft-style home features plenty of concrete, iron, glass and wood.
“I used concrete flooring throughout the whole space except for the bathrooms, where I used recovered tiles, and in the mezzanine level I used planks of hardwood oak to provide a warmer and lighter feeling.”
The bedrooms are open boxes made of birch panels. The designer/owner kept the bedrooms open to take advantage of the skylights.Panozzo said the most unique and interesting areas of her home are the kitchen and the main bathroom.
The kitchen has an iron cabinet with glass doors that contains the refrigerator and Piasentina limestone kitchen counters that were sanded and waxed to maintain a natural feel. Vintage elements include Foscarini suspension lamps that recall the 70s, a zinc table top and washed-out velvet chairs.
“Cooking and eating healthy have always been a constant thing in my family,” Panozzo said, underscoring the importance of the kitchen. “Even today we still gather around the dining table and thus share one of the most pleasant moments of the week.”
The two bathrooms were born from the choice of using recovered cement tiles that Panozzo found in Piacenza.
“I wanted to create a warmer and more intimate feeling compared to the rest of the space. The decorations on the walls of the main bathroom were inspired by an old postcard, bought at a flea market, thus creating a very relaxing atmosphere,” she said. “In both bathrooms I wanted to combine classical and contemporary elements such as the bathtub with lion’s feet and the extremely minimal shower.”
Understandably, Panozzo’s favorite place to relax and re-energize is the bathroom, which looks like a workshop-box from the outside.
“Besides being the most colorful area of the loft, it has all the amenities you need for body care, with both shower and bathtub.”
And the living room is where she spends most of her time at home because of the natural light coming through the skylights.