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10 Lessons on Classical Decorating From a Top Milan Firm

The newest T, The New York Times Style Magazine features a wide-eyed tour of the Milan atelier of Studio Peregalli, a grand, old-school European architecture and interior design firm that eschews brand extensions like books deals and furniture lines to dedicate more time to creating, "on the highest level of artistic achievement," "deeply poetic spaces that transcend the bounds of time." The story is a beautiful, wordy traipse among the work and personalities of the firm, but here we've distilled it all into 10 lessons on design from the experts, interior designer Roberto Peregalli and architect Laura Sartori Rimini, themselves. Do have a read:

10. Stick to your guns, even when elements seem like they don't go together. Says one of Studio Peregalli's former clients, a garden designer: "What they do is about capturing the past, but it's also about magic—and a great sense of poetry. They proposed something to me I would never even have thought of—in fact it kind of terrified me." That terrifying thing? "The unlikely marriage of a dome and a garden shed." Quelle horror!

9. Strive for "buttato lì,"—in Italian, "tossed there"—or "something that seems casual whereas it is completely thought out," Peregalli says.

8. Don't skimp on the details and don't gloss over the small stuff. At the firm's HQ, T' David Netto observes, "the walls appear to be covered in embossed antique leather, but a brush of the fingers reveals it to be paper." Now that's luxury.

7. Don't be afraid of mess, or as T describes it, "a temple of artful disorder."

6. You don't need money if you've got a brain and some time (and, well, money). The author writes: "I'm standing in the studio, holding a sample of emerald green stamped velvet that is a little reminiscent of old Fortuny and appears to have significant age. They explain that it came to them as white; they dyed it green and then stamped it with the design. 'If you have ideas and you have some time, you can use your brain to find ways to make fabric unique,' Roberto explains. Every component of an interior by Studio Peregalli, whether fabric, stone or wood, undergoes a similar process."

5. Reclaimed materials can be luxurious; for example, the flooring in this Andalusian living room (?) features black-and-white stone reclaimed from a 17th-century building in Seville, Spain.

4. Use study models. Studio Peregalli's studio is full of them, as well as "stone samples, fabric swatches, fragments of boiserie and classical cornices, antique light fixtures ... and stacks and stacks of hand-painted tiles."

3. Create a unique narrative: "They are not interested in historic interiors and architecture for tradition's sake alone. Their passion is engaging in the rigorous intellectual work and creative reveries required to evoke the past." Plus, "the invention of the past is neither a retrograde nor conservative endeavor, but a bold and fearless one."

2. Protect the past "like a wild panda," Roberto Peregalli says.

1. Go above and beyond. Recalls Vogue editor at large Hamish Bowles, a Studio Peregalli client: "I was in the Paris flea market with them and found two lamps, which I shipped to Milan to have the lampshades made. [...] When they arrived back in New York and I unpacked the crate, it happened to contain two drawings"—working sketches with measurements from Studio Peregalli—"that looked as though Piranesi had done them, rendered with watercolor. For my very humble apartment, and my very humble flea market lamps! You could have framed them."

· At the Milan Interiors Firm Studio Peregalli, Old World Traditions Live On [T Magazine]