Total white home: how to decorate a minimalist style apartment

Be it an old palace, a newly built house or a contemporary loft, total white interiors are the ultimate must

EFFETTO GIARDINO D'INVERNO IN SOGGIORNO. IL TESSUTO DI LIVIO DE SIMONE CAMBIA VOLTO ALLE POLTRONE ANNI '40 IN BAMBÙ. DIVANO DI GERVASONI, DESIGN PAOLA NAVONE; TAVOLINI DI CASSINA; LAMPADA SUL FONDO DI FLOSE A DESTRA DI NEMO
Kasia Gatkowska

The minimalist home with total white interiors and fittings is a classic piece of modern interior design that can be found both within celebrated historical palaces and newly built architectures or even in lofts born from the conversion of old industrial buildings. The characteristic versatility of white, with its similarity to the writer’s blank page, entices more and more people to choose a total white home, ranging from a country style to a shabby chic interior déco, including certain Japan-style bare interiors where the only watchword is “decorating in white”. A trend that concerns not just the living or sleeping areas, but that also includes total white, super-equipped and ultra-tech kitchen and bathroom areas.

Surely for many the “white effect” represents a form of stylistic purism, a return to the extraordinarily sober style of many renowned Modernist masters such as Le Corbusier, author of masterpieces such as Villa Savoye in Poissy (1929) and Villa Stein in Garches (1927). Total white, with all its flexibility, can easily fit both a classic and a contemporary decorating taste, and – thanks to the general eclecticism that characterizes today’s interior decoration – it can be successfully combined with the clear-cut lines of design furniture as well as with the curving shapes of such vintage pieces as, for instance, the 1940s bamboo armchairs covered with fabrics by Livio De Simone currently decorating the “winter-garden” living room of the Capri villa we’ve selected for the cover of this article (see opening photo), featuring 5 design homes representing the concept of “total white”, each in its own way.

Case total white
FREAKS/David Foessel

The first one, small but bright, is a barely 35 sqm wide apartment in the center of Geneva (see photo above), Switzerland. Designed by Paris-based studio Freaks Free Architects this deliciously tiny home features completely custom-made, total white fittings including tailored wardrobes and a chest of drawers enclosed under the bed, that, in addition to their cabinet function, organize and subdivide the space, which is arranged along two parallel belts including, respectively, the living and sleeping areas (the latter complete with total white kitchen and bathroom). The strictly total white furniture includes outstanding pieces such as the Kartell Masters chairs designed by Philippe Starck and Eugeni Quitllet, emphasized by contrast by a dark blue resin flooring.

Case total white
Ed Reeve

From Geneva to Clerkenweel, London: studio APA London architects have converted a former old factory (see photo above) into an evocative interior especially conceived for a famous movie couple. The interior decoration features total white combined with black elements (such as the big, dark metal cube which represents the actual beating heart of the apartment) and different shades of gray. The effect upon entering the house is that of an open space loft where walls have made room for an open, unbroken, luminous space, featuring a minimalist style and simple, metallic tubular furniture reminiscent of the works of Modernist masters from the 1930s.

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Maris Mezulis

Another black&white play highlights this Paris apartment (see photo above), renamed “Kabinette” and designed by Septembre Architecture pursuing the “white effect”. An 85 sqm loft – once a former craftsman workshop - with foldaway furniture and minimalist design. White is the leading color, from the plastered walls to the furniture lacquering, from the ceramic cladding of the total white bathroom to the light shade of the oak flooring, from the total white kitchen island to the shelving system. The only exception to the rule is represented by the kitchen equipped wall, which offers the living area a rather unconventional background. Here both backdrop and furniture are strictly dark.

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Max Zambelli

Milan is the bright, open setting of our third chosen total white home, owned by architect, communication expert and event director for international companies Monika Unger (see photo above). The apartment, featuring white walls, floorings and fittings, is a beautiful loft combining design and vintage furniture, arranged on two levels emphasized by a modern slanting staircase connecting the living and sleeping areas. Within this monochrome architectural box, classic pieces of Northern design (comfy, practical, minimalist and, yes, very democratic) stand out among various pieces of furniture including several Brazilian treats by big international names such as Sergio Rodriguez and Joaquim Tenreiro.

Case total white
Takumi Ota

A total white, open space two level house (see photo above) in a traditional period building designed by Mamm Design in Amsterdam historical center: minimalist Japan-style fittings and total white cladding highlight the few decorating objects and pieces of furniture, personally picked by the owners among vintage and contemporary items. This two-storey, informal-style housing unit has been completely renovated erasing stairs, internal partitions and entire attic sections, obtaining further room for the creation of bright, open spaces. The ample living, located under the roof, hosts an original service turret that encloses, just like an open box, a total white kitchen.

At the opening: “Winter garden effect” in the living room. Fabrics by Livio De Simone lend a new look to the 1940s bamboo armchairs. Gervasoni sofa by Paola Navone; Cassina small tables; Nemo lamp (on the right) and Flos lamp (on the background).

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