As they drove up to the house on a winding dirt road lined with lambs and donkeys, Borromeo says, “we looked at each other and we were like, ‘Oh no, we’re in trouble.’” They were immediately charmed.
“It was a project.” Even though the 50-year-old building needed work — it had been unoccupied for a decade — the couple knew they’d discovered something worth preserving.
In 1973, following a trip to Tokyo, the Italian poet Gianni Malabarba and his wife, both influential art collectors, had hired a local landscape designer to construct a weekend home inspired by their time abroad.
The result is an Italian dwelling in the Japanese vernacular that would make as much sense in Kyoto as it would in California.
Although they added a fireplace in the living room and redivided the rooms, they were careful, as Ferri says, “to keep the spirit alive.” But, says Borromeo, “we changed basically everything.”
Borromeo, ’, ”, Ferri, they’d, Gianni Malabarba, “
Tokyo, Italian, Kyoto, California