4267 - Casa Belquis, Italy

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The remote island of Filicudi would not seem the most likely place for a worldly socialite to choose as her home. And yet this is, most bizarrely, exactly where Belquis, a young woman of aristocratic origin from an exotic Middle Eastern country, decided to settle. Writer Adam Butler. It was this very sense of remoteness that made Belquis fall in love with the island. She had spent enough time in stifling, overcrowded cities and wanted a place to motivate her work as a jewellery designer and to build the house of her dreams. Belquis had previously been an interior designer and two things she had in abundance was a keen eye for style, and exquisite taste. She found a house in a totally ruinous state, but it had two things that were of paramount importance to her – stunning views and a secluded position. She knew that she could turn it into a gem. Everything was rebuilt and finished by hand – even the plastering was hand rendered to give the soft, mottled look that Belquis was after. Following traditions, pieces of olive tree were used as lintels above the doors and windows. Ancient doors from derelict local churches were bought, and furniture and fabrics were brought in from Sicily, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and the Middle East. However, this house has a thoroughly modern feel, even if traditional forms and materials were used everywhere. Within this, a subtle sense of the new, redolent of great taste and style, emerges. It is in this paradise that the ethereally beautiful Belquis and her Neapolitan boyfriend Nicola pass much of each year, enjoying the warm, tranquil evenings with candle-lit dinners, and contemplative, languid moments on the terrace where they can observe the lights of the villages below and the stars twinkling above. Ostensibly far removed from what is termed the civilised world, needless to say they never feel cut off or nostalgic when on Filicudi, but how could anyone ever feel anything but complete peace and happiness in this perpetually striking home that Belquis has created, ensconced by the compete, unadulterated beauty of nature that can still be found in these remote fringes of Europe.

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