Scheduling your holiday plans for the summer? You might want to consider this tranquil eco bed and breakfast, an idyllic retreat in northern Italy.
Il Richiamo del Bosco – Italian for ‘the call of the woods’ – is an eco B&B owned by Carla Soffritti and Stefano Castelluccio, who along with their daughter Sofia, have called it home for the past decade. Located on the edge of the peaceful Carrega forest, the residence is 15 km from the centre of Parma, where Stefano was born and raised.
The couple had originally bought the house to upsize from their previous one, in order to accommodate an office for Carla’s press business. After renting out one of the rooms, they decided to expand and now run a business hosting guests – an idyllic escape in the forest that boasts a stylish interior, along with all that nature has to offer.
The house is located amongst 1100 hectares of trees and meadows, but just 15 minutes from the city of Parma. The area is protected from human intervention and Il Richiamo del Bosco was one of the last houses to be built before it became a protected area. The house is designed and built to be in perfect harmony with nature, following a number of ecological guidelines.
Electricity comes from 100% renewable sources and hot water heated by solar-panels, whilst the roof is insulated with Rockwool – a sustainable stone wool insulation. The main kitchen/living area is south-east facing so that it receives the maximum amount of natural light from the sun, throughout the day.
Large, energy-efficient windows in the main living area are free from any fussy window treatments, again allowing maximum light to enter the building and undisturbed views of the forest. Other materials used include locally sourced oak, beech and chestnut, as well as silver quartzite from the Italian province of South Tyrol.
Simple, rustic furniture is made from materials gathered from the forest, along with bespoke upcycled pieces by Italian designer Alessandro Mora. The dining table he created is made from scaffold planks which is perfectly matched with industrial style wire mesh chairs. Ceramics are also by Italian designers Arago Design based in Pescara and Seletti.
In the kitchen, a blackboard is repurposed as a cover for the cooker hood. Stefano’s sister Tiziana is an artist and naturopath who runs cookery courses here, using organic and locally sourced produce. The family also make their own homemade spirits from locally sourced berries and walnuts.
The chosen interior colour palette and furnishings are deliberately neutral and understated so as not to distract from the views through the windows and nature’s changing colour palette.
The layout of the house is also designed to ensure fluidity between the interior and its surroundings. Furniture under the veranda and on the grass extends the living space outwards whilst offering views of Parma and the Alps.
The house provides plenty of opportunity to spy on the neighbours – squirrels, hedgehogs, deer and other wildlife. Bicycle rental is also offered to guests who wish to go exploring.
Throughout the house, decorative objects made from reclaimed wood, shutters, wine crates and doors become mirrors, furniture and coat hooks. Carla says:
There is a ‘no waste’ rule. By making the most of the life cycle of the products, we have given second hand objects and production waste a new function and a high-level aesthetic. Unmatched drawers have taken on new life by becoming book shelves, the door of an old wardrobe today is now a bathroom mirror and part of a discarded blackboard serves as the front panel of the stove hood.
A bespoke four poster bed is made from locally sourced and dried found wood, whilst linen bedding in shades of blue grey add to the sense of calm.
The natural and worn textures of wooden art pieces and furniture are offset against pale walls and flooring. A theme which continues throughout the house.
There are three bedrooms available for guests to stay in, named Hoopoe, Capriolo and Squirrel. Prices are approx €75-100 a night for two people with breakfast included. Flooring in the bedroom pictured above is bleached oak.
A ceramic sink by Gabbiano Studio Pottery, sits on a handmade upcycled cabinet, also by Alessandro Mora. Additional eco features of the house include water flow regulators and a water recycling system.
“Light, respect for nature and giving new life to objects are all key to creating an eco, elegant and comfortable interior. Natural light gives us joy. We should have respect for nature because, as the Native American Proverb goes, ‘We do not inherit the world from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.’ It’s our duty to return it to them.”
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