The Chic Home: A home inspired by rustic villas on the Italian coast

Stepping into the 3,000 sq ft three-storey house transports one into a traditional kitchen of an Italian grandmother, with faded tiles underfoot and a rustic wooden dining table.
Stepping into the 3,000 sq ft three-storey house transports one into a traditional kitchen of an Italian grandmother, with faded tiles underfoot and a rustic wooden dining table.PHOTO: DARREN CHANG

SINGAPORE - Nestled in Seletar Hills Estate is a little slice of the Italian coast.

Stepping into a 3,000 sq ft three-storey house transports one into a traditional kitchen of an Italian nonna (grandmother), with faded tiles underfoot and a rustic wooden dining table set with candlesticks.

Beyond the spacious living room is a generously sized terrace with an alfresco dining set-up, bordered by three lemon trees weighed down with fruit.

The only indication that this is Singapore is the view of the neighbouring condominium blocks.

The home owners are Mr Eugenio Accongiagioco, a consultant in his 40s who hails from southern Italy, and his wife, Singaporean Georgina Soh. They live with their son and daughter - who are aged eight and four - and a domestic helper.

The couple had met overseas and spent their first holiday together on the Italian island of Capri. They also wanted their home to reflect Mr Accongiagioco's roots.

They engaged Mr Alvin Chua of Edge Interior to design the home, as they liked his other Mediterranean-style designs.

The house's airy, relaxed feel is thanks to careful spatial planning and harmonious features such as arched doorways and rounded corners. A light all-white palette, accented by earthy tones, contributes to the holiday-home feel.

To ensure the house will age beautifully, there is no plastic or shiny material to be seen.

The television console in the living room, the bench in the dining area and the bathtub in the master bedroom are all made of concrete.

Accented with wood and rattan elements, the home exudes a timeless feel. Every piece of furniture has a story and travelled with the couple as they moved from country to country.

In the living room, for instance, sits a side table with a clock face, which they bought in the Greek island of Mykonos on their honeymoon. Next to it is an intricately carved love seat Ms Soh got in Shanghai.


The living room of the house is bright and airy, thanks to ventilation blocks that act as a partial divider between the spaces. PHOTO: DARREN CHANG

"We don't believe in throwing out things - these are memories and a part of us," says the sales director in her 30s.

Most of the furniture pieces and decorative items are inherited.

Several paintings that adorn the walls were gifts from Mr Accongiagioco's adoptive mother, who had worked with prominent artists such as Andy Warhol.

A vintage lacquered jewellery cabinet that he reckons his family had purchased in the 1970s sits on the second-storey landing.


All the furnishings have a story and has travelled with the couple as they moved, such as the couple's collection of old furniture and cherished paintings, or the side table from their honeymoon in Mykonos. PHOTOS: DARREN CHANG

"Our son used to play with Lego on top of this," says Mr Accongiagioco with a laugh.

This notion of the home evolving with the family is evident in the design choices.

The children's bedrooms have loose furniture and a neutral colour scheme, so the family can change things as the kids grow.

"We wanted to leave the space open for them to stamp their personality on as they grow up," says Ms Soh.


Fish scales and florals work together well in this bathroom, complemented by the backdrop of wood and concrete. PHOTO: DARREN CHANG

Each bathroom features interesting tile designs from tile supplier Hafary, from tropical prints in the guest bathroom to mother-of-pearl bricks in the daughter's bathroom.

Although there were delays due to last year's circuit breaker, the renovation - which cost about $300,000 including furnishings - was completed in five months, and the family moved into the home in August last year.

Their favourite part of the house is the living room and terrace area, says Ms Soh. "There's the breeze, the lemon trees outside. The kids spend a lot of time there. We've even bought a pizza oven that Eugenio fires up outside."


The house's terrace is bordered by a low wall and three lemon trees. PHOTO: DARREN CHANG

This article first appeared in the March 2021 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines. Get the May and latest issue (above) of Home & Decor now at all newsstands or download the digital edition of Home & Decor from the App Store, Magzter or Google Play. Also, see more inspiring homes at the Home & Decor website.