Inside a Jewelry Designer’s Historic Milan Apartment

Several years ago, jewelry designer Madina Visconti di Modrone was walking around Milan’s Cinque Vie neighborhood with her mother when they glimpsed a courtyard past an unassuming façade. “I would love to live in a palazzo like this one,” Visconti di Modrone recalls remarking. At mom’s urging, she asked the doorman if there were any units for sale in the building, a converted 17th-century convent. He grabbed a set of keys and took them for a look. “The apartment was completely destroyed,” she continues. “But I saw these super-high ceilings, the big windows—the rooms. And I could imagine it all in my head.”

The “it” of which she speaks is a diamond in the rough polished to perfection. “I wanted to really express myself,” Visconti di Modrone explains of the property, her first home purchase after years of renting. “So I really played. I had fun with it.” Floors were restored using reclaimed boards, and a vacant hearth replaced with an antique fireplace. The elegantly timeworn walls, however, were left exactly as they were. “I wanted to preserve the feeling of the place,” says Visconti di Modrone, who considered changing the original doors—she wasn’t crazy about the bright blue glass—but eventually fell in love with them. And when she learned that she couldn’t fit a soaking tub in the petite bathroom, she installed one in her bedroom, a decorating pivot fit for a 1920s starlet. “It’s perfect. I take a bath every night.”

herringbone patterned wood floors yellow floral patterned wallpaper on right wall two large gilded mirrors on left wall...

Growing up, Madina watched her mom (Osanna, the veteran Milanese designer) craft metal accessories and later furniture using lost-wax casting. After studying at Regent’s University London, she joined the family business, choosing jewelry as her medium. But whereas mother works predominantly in bronze, daughter slicked her fanciful pieces (think ivy leaves, butterfly wings, twigs) with glistening enamels in bold hues. “I love to mix and match colors,” notes Visconti di Modrone, who recently launched her own atelier. “It’s my personality, which you can clearly see in my house.”

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