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Style Secret: Shuttered Windows
You won't commonly find curtains or shades in a Tuscan home. Instead, install wooden shutters that you can throw wide to let natural light and breezes flood in. Leave the wood natural for a rustic look, or paint and distress it in a sun-washed shade for a bit of subtle color. If you do use draperies, stick to simple panels and be sure that you can pull them widely enough apart that they won't obscure the panes.
Bella Tuscany: Add to the airy feel with simple casement-style windows that open and shut at will. Bonus points if you have a view like the one shown here, but if not, consider a trellis with climbing vines or a row of tall cypress trees to fake a rural landscape.
Style Secret: Balconies
Technically, Romeo and Juliet were in un-Tuscan Verona when they steamed up the balcony. But this architectural element is a pitch-perfect piece of Tuscan style as well. And it's not just for the exterior — it's a lovely crowning touch in an atrium, a foyer or another space with a soaring ceiling.
Bella Tuscany: Like many Mediterranean countries, Italy is noted for its use of wrought iron ornamentation. Cordon off a balcony with a decorative railing, perhaps bearing a curlicue or filigree design, to create a look that's ready for your own "Wherefore art thou?" moment.
Style Secret: Textural Walls
Sandstone, stucco, plaster — tactile wall treatments instantly convey the impression of a farmhouse that's stood intact on the land for centuries. Let the beauty of natural stone shine through, but stucco and plaster come alive with a little paintbrush sleight of hand. Choose several shades of a warm, neutral color, such as ochre, tan, faded apricot or cream, to layer onto the walls for visual interest.
Bella Tuscany: Complement textured surfaces with equally textural — but still simple — fabrics. Natural fibers such as linen, cotton and muslin are on point. Eschew heavy layers of pattern, which can feel too formal and fussy for this look.
Style Secret: Gentle Colors
The Tuscan palette draws upon land and sky: dusty green hills, brick-red earth, blue skies, golden sunlight. Choose shades of terra-cotta, tawny yellow, soft gray-green and faded blue. Colors should look as though they've faded gracefully in the hot sun; paint gains a pleasing patina and depth from a little chipping or cracking.
Bella Tuscany: Earthy tones cloak this kitchen and add an irresistible layer of invitation. The terra-cotta flooring mirrors the hues of the ceiling brick so the whole space feels wrapped in coziness.
Style Secret: Capacious Kitchen and Dining Tables
The kitchen is the heart of the home, we've all heard — but nowhere does that hold truer than in Italy. Family meals provide the pulse of household life. Even if you're a party of two or three, add a long farm-style kitchen or dining table that looks as though it can hold several generations.
Bella Tuscany: Tuscan spaces tend to be uncluttered, and this one is no exception. The owners let the simple furnishings make their own quiet statement without feeling the need to overfill the space with bric-a-brac.