Tamu McPherson’s family moved into the historic three-bedroom, distinguished by wood panelling and mosaic floors Milan apartment, several years ago, though it wasn’t new to her husband. His mother had purchased it nearly two decades prior as a place to reconnect with her two sons after the passing of their father. Its unique U-shape configuration allowed for mother and children to have their own wings, affording the 20-somethings a degree of independence. As time passed and the kids flew the coop, the Milan apartment proved too big for just the matriarch. So when McPherson and her husband began searching for a larger place for themselves and their own son, she handed them the key.
McPherson credits her mother-in-law, an academic and aesthete, with opening many doors. “She introduced me to life in Milan. I would go to the opera with her and her friends, sit in her box at La Scala.” Signora also provided valuable decorating guidance, bequeathing vintage treasures by the likes of Le Corbusier and Carlo Scarpa and connecting McPherson with antiques dealer and interior designer Raimondo Garau, whom she enlisted to help furnish her home.
“My mother-in-law has spectacular taste,” McPherson says. “I didn’t want to do a lot of work in the apartment.”
She and Garau started by painting the walls an elegant sage green, then set about layering antiques he procured with the existing furnishings, among them, dining chairs sourced at Salone del Mobile and a credenza from the old Pirelli headquarters that they repurposed as a china cabinet.
“Our previous apartment was all Le Corbusier and everything you see now on Instagram,” says McPherson. “Raimondo told me, ‘You need to introduce a new spirit and make this home your own.’ ”
For McPherson, known for her vibrant ensembles, there is nothing more personal than colour. In her living room, a magenta sofa by Knoll and a chocolate-brown one by Luigi Caccia Dominioni now surround a 1970s cocktail table accented with tiered blue-glass discs. Nearby, a pink Ettore Sottsass Shiva vase is displayed atop an antique Chinese armoire.
The art on their Milan apartment also carries a certain sentimentality. Hanging in the entryway, for instance, is a Micaiah Carter photograph that shows a young woman’s braided hair in barrettes, reminding McPherson of “little black girls growing up.” And her biographical journey further reveals itself in the kitchen, where she has mastered Italian staples like risotto but proudly declares, “We make our chicken soup with green plantains.” In cooking, as in decorating, colour adds personality.
Source: Architectural Digest
Photography: Valentina Sommariva
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