Light takes center stage in this charming Milan apartment

“For the first 20 years of my career, I was never at home,” explains Alice Carli. “I traveled for work, out of curiosity and the desire to grow; I traveled to see the world and learn about the markets. Then I had to stop, like everyone else, because of the pandemic.

This is how Carli, who has worked as CEO, director and advisor for many top Italian fashion and luxury brands, describes the trajectory of her career and when, like much of the world, she was forced to slow down. Born in Liguria (the Mediterranean region of Italy that borders France) and Milanese by choice, she is now the managing director and board member of a company that develops wearable technology. She is also an executive consultant at Image Regenerative Clinic.

These roles and other commitments meant she traveled frequently, but when the closings started the apartment (purchased and restored in 2018) was ready and waiting for Carli to come home. It was a place she knew she wanted to live on her first visit. “And to say that I am someone who never falls in love: when I make a decision, it is a rational and considered decision. Here, on the other hand, as soon as I set foot there, it was love at first sight.

Carli has black eyes and a determined attitude; she has a cosmopolitan air and the assurance worthy of an elegant Parisienne. She also has a placid and precise sense of style, which is perfectly reflected in her large apartment of approximately 1,900 square feet and located in a residential and chic area of ​​Milan. It sits amidst early 20th century buildings, beautiful plazas and lots of greenery. The first time Carli saw the apartment, she was struck by the light which, even on a gray Milanese morning, fills the rooms. She decided at that moment to make an offer and stay. Carli credits her Aquarius nature for making her decide so often to buy, remodel, furnish, and then sell apartments. She says she is always looking for ways to change her “skin”.

This time, however, Carli might stay longer. It seems she has found her wonderland, a place where she can stay and where she has found space to express her style. This charming house has a soul, although it expresses itself in a contemporary way with a clean and fresh look. “During these confinements, I got back into the game by studying. I pursued an honors certificate in strategy at Harvard Business School. Spent a lot of time video conferencing – what better setting than this house! This space has become the place of my recent professional, educational and personal journey. It was also an emotion and I learned that this house was waiting for me.

The pursuit of beauty has always been important to Carli. And this house is living proof of his ability to find it: In the period coffered ceilings; the parquet floor with its precious two-tone work – lovingly restored to its original splendor – and the details such as the stucco and polished marble entrance. Every beautiful detail has been preserved, in homage to the style and elegance of old Milan, without falling into sweet nostalgia. Everything here speaks of a harmonious project that respects the identity of the apartment.

Busnelli Corporate studio and interior designer Martina Menegon played a pivotal role in the restoration and design of custom pieces. The palette was decided by the owner, who says, “From designers of all kinds, I absorbed a passion for color and light. I chose four visual effects or colors. First, transparent and translucent elements like the crystals of the vintage chandeliers and the ribbed glass panels of some doors that we have kept. Then, we find the wood in the rosewood kitchen and the parquet floors, of course. Burnt orange tones are introduced with seating in the lobby. And, finally, there are the hues of the night, with dusty blues and teals. These colors are perfectly complemented by brass elements such as a profile for the bathroom mirrors and accessories for the closets, in the master bedroom and in the dressing room, all made to measure by Busnelli.

The apartment combines a certain sober Milanese elegance with Parisian accents, those even from the house of his paternal grandmother. All the chandeliers look French, as does the small armchair in the room, with its bone wheels purposely left worn, and a small gilt table with a marble top. Other pieces, such as the table by Gae Aulenti for Fontana Arte, the bookcase suspended from the ceiling by Baxter and the sofas – which Carli had reupholstered with raw linen in an ecru hue sourced from Capri – are thoughtful choices by the owner, who admits to liking evolutions, rather than revolutions, in the field of decoration.

Reflecting Carli’s passion for pieces that evoke memories, the house is littered with gifts from people dear to her, from vases to ashtrays and ceramics – from Fornasetti, Ginori, Hermés – to photographs. There is a picture signed by photographer Nikola Borisov that depicts Carli in her old home, leaning against the door frame entering her bedroom. Next to it is an ancient silver necklace, framed, which belonged to an Andean queen. It is fitting that this accessory of timeless beauty is now in the hands of this contemporary queen of Italian fashion.