Back in Venice now for the Architecture Biennale opening week with lots of parties and events. After a few freezing months in London I have to think ‘hot’ clothes wise – strange!
Tomorrow I am meeting an Australian client at Palazzo Molin who is interested in buying one of the few remaining apartments there…I am always amazed at how people from Australia just hop over to Venice so often and with such ease – they are a major presence for both the Architecture and the Art Biennales – several clients have become friends and I always try to catch up when they are here – interesting and fun!
Indeed another reason I am here this week is to privately show the most wonderful apartment for rent on the Grand Canal which has been recently refurbished to a spectacular level by some clients from ‘down under’ – I have literally never seen anything like it in all my years in Venice – stunning contemporary design influenced by Carlo Scarpa with many original mid century Italian design pieces, and with the most fabulous views towards La Salute, in the best part of the Grand Canal – the most stunning view to be had in Venice. Am thrilled to be working with these visionary owners
I have some personal friends here this week too – I am often asked which is the best restaurant to go to, is Venissa on Mazzorbo better than Locanda Cipriani on Torcello? Is Da Ivo still good post the ‘Clooney’ factor? It’s so difficult to answer these questions as eating out so subjective. I honestly usually reply that the stylish ‘Riviera‘ on the Zattere is my favourite – cosy in winter and stunning in summer with its canalside seating – top quality fish, so fresh they practically have names. Great service and attention to detail – perfect
Am sitting this morning on the most amazing terrace of one of our rental apartments on Giudecca close to the Cipriani, looking out over the lagoon and having a solitary breakfast… heaven. We sold most of the apartments in this lovely Giudecca Mare development about 12 years ago and they are still amazing now.
The wifi works brilliantly here so will work ‘at home’ for a bit before meeting clients at 12 at Palazzo Molin. Today is the big ‘fly in’ day for the Biennale – am so glad I arrived yesterday!
This afternoon I am hoping to drop by to see Stella Cattana in her new shop… I am exploring a concept of restyling apartments before sale … something which owners should really think about now as nowadays images are so much more sophisticated….and so many lovely apartments just look too cluttered to our 21st century eyes…
Am also going to try to get to speak to Enrico Isacchi who does our private visits but he’s going to be way toooo busy today I think!
As usual when I am in Venice so many things just ‘come up’ and arrangements are made on the spur of the moment… so I usually find myself staggering back to my apartment at around 7 exhausted, and that’s only if I don’t have a dinner appointment too. I see happy carefree people all around me wandering casually around the streets and squares whereas I am carrying 2 mobiles a diary and a laptop, and usually running…wishing I was them!
Recently I have tried to enjoy the pace here more and not rush around so much… less is definitely more for me now in relation to property. I will let you know if I manage it!
I have just done a long phone interview with a London journalist… I can talk about Venice property forever as I have done it for so long, but in order to make their pieces work they quite often have pre-conceived ideas of what they want to write, which can be difficult. Luckily I have lots of experience in this so it went well…with all the right information for her too, so she was happy.
Back home now and looking forward to a lovely evening enjoying the sunset over the lagoon and the Island of La Grazia – tomorrow I have an early start – a meeting at 9.00… ever onwards!
This is the start of a typically very busy day for me — meetings all day and all over the place… so while I am on the vaporetto I call ahead to the Gritti to book a Hot Stone massage for 6 pm as a precaution… although the beautiful spa will probably be full with stressed out jet lagged architects! It really is beautiful there, a haven of calm right in San Marco
Later on I have arranged to meet Roberto Zago our designer from Intraline who is doing some fabulous work for our new owners, and also the wonderful Enrico Isacchi who does top level private tours and visits for us.
Wondering if I will be able to fit in dropping by to Stella’s new shop which she is fitting out… or will that get pushed back again to tomorrow?
Enrico Isacchi is someone I have worked with for a long time – he is the best guide in Venice and does wonderful top level visits for private clients – an expert in Art History, he speaks great English and he looks after our clients beautifully.. .a great thing to do if you have the time.
Luckily I do manage to catch up with Roberto, one of the designers we like to recommend to our new property owners – his work is top level and all the clients are very pleased with his care and attention – he’s spot on and very experienced …we have had great feedback from our clients on his work – his English is good too!
I scoot to the Gritti at 6 for my longed for massage – an hour later and I feel like a completely new person — actually I feel like a person! Home by 8 and just about to relax with a glass of wine when a client phones from France. It’s a complicated 3 way conversation in French with his accountant to discuss a tricky sale, and lasts over half an hour – it will be a miracle if the sale goes through as they keep changing their minds about the details… so after that I call my colleague Andrea to discuss – another half an hour passes. The sellers are German, which luckily Andrea speaks fluently. Our ability with all the main languages is really essential in this international market, as negotiation is most of the work. By the time I finish it’s almost too late to eat, but I squeeze in a plate of pasta before finishing off some emails… and bed…
Tomorrow am showing an amazing private palace to someone who has top level private clients – strictly off market – as well as revisiting some clients who have a Lido Villa to sell but which now looks terribly old fashioned – how can I tell them without seeming negative about their much loved family home?
My contact loves the palace and will speak to her client…
I manage to fit in lunch in a divine little place near San Silvestro, Osteria dai Zemei, which has the best chicheti and super fresh crostini… after which I get on the vaporetto for the half hour trip to the Lido. It’s a lovely original villa but just a bit too ‘italian family’… for us… the owner is charming and he really gets it… so he is going to try to de-clutter a bit. We chat about how much the Lido has changed but also that we think it is going to come up again — he tells me that the Des Bains is re-opening as a hotel which is marvellous news – such a stylish place from the early 1900’s, the backdrop for the iconic film “Death in Venice. Amazing private beach facilities too.
I would like to say I had finished for the day but I just need to pass by Palazzo Molin to see some American clients who are staying there – it’s now 4pm and am desperate for a coffee, but am late so rushing — per fortuna I bump into a lovely client, whose apartment we are selling, just outside Rosa Salva, the best bar in Venice! We chat about what his plans are when he sells and what he’s looking for next. Very 18th century – a lot of business discussed in coffee houses!
On the way home i drop by to see Stella Cattana’s new shop in Salizzada San Samuele – it is divine – she sets the bar for style in Venice.
this afternoon my lovely London clients Erica and John Simpson (John Simpson Architects) are arriving to check on the progress of their restoration project at Palazzo Grimani close to the Gritti. When they arrive it looks very much early days to me but they know every inch of the project and as they take me round I see how much has been done — they have discovered so much under layers of paintwork and are doing fine restorative work, having found stucchi much earlier than originally thought — we expect it to be finished in the autumn after which some lucky people will be able to stay here and absorb for themselves the wonderful atmosphere of this very special property
Up at 5 for an early 7 am flight – I arrive back in GB but had forgotten it’s a holiday weekend here – my daughter is home from Uni and the sun is shining so we go to spend some time at the lovely Parham House….. a quintessential English manor house close to us in Sussex with divine huge gardens on a perfect English summers day – lying on the grass it’s hard to believe I was in a speed boat whizzing across the lagoon just a few hours before…my crazy life… but Venice is always in my thoughts!