When seeking exquisite Mediterranean coastlines, it's hard to look past Sardinia. Italy-native Susanna Colleoni was not immune to the region’s charm when after years of travelling the most beautiful corners of the world, she decided to call this area her home.
We sat down with her to discuss her dream-turned-reality Villa Susanna. Throughout our conversation, it became clear how deeply reflective this property is of its owner, both her tastes and her eccentric yet sophisticated personality. This stunning home will have you planning your next holiday in North Sardinia.
With her cigarette in hand and one of her three dogs at her feet, she took us through her self-indulgent haven perched in the cliffs of Sardinia.
SCOUTING A LOCATION
Susanna is no stranger to luxury and beautiful locations. With a remarkable career in the fashion industry, she spent nearly 30 years working at Missoni as head of public relations. There, she dwelled in luxury, travelling across the world connecting with fashion industry elites and getting to know their lifestyles.
With experience scouting locations and finding sets, she then pivoted her career towards interior design, opening two interior design studios. All these experiences lead her to invest in luxury properties of her own.
Susanna first discovered her villa in a very different form: three little houses sitting side by side in the cliffs of Sardinia. Though she had originally shown this property to friends of hers in want of a new pied à terre in Porto Rafael, she ultimately bought it, drawn to the location and energy exuded by the granite cliffs.
Perched in Sardinia’s facade, the property promised the owner what she most prefers: a secluded outdoor home. It's the perfect home base from which to visit Italy.
“It’s like being in an eagle’s nest, because you have all the rocks behind and underneath you and a beautiful view.”
A VILLA OF ONE’S OWN
When Susanna set out to build this villa, she had only her own preferences in mind. The ensuing home is a pure reflection of her tastes, making “Villa Susanna” a fitting name for this property so deeply connected to its owner.
Having travelled to Indonesia many times, she was drawn to the use of teak wood in design and the marriage of indoor and outdoor living spaces. She incorporated Balinese styles in the home through the abundance of wood, mainly teak and iroko.
Aside from being an avid teak aficionado, she also noticed how beautifully the wood complemented her seaside views, and she welcomed the neutral grey, beige, and tan tones that would underlie her home’s design. The villa seems delightfully overgrown with teak: in furniture, flooring, doors, tables, and decorative items, this wood perfectly complements the natural space it inhabits.
Coming from the world of fashion, Susanna is closely familiar with how fickle trends can be, so she wanted her home to be at once timeless and easily shifting. The neutral tones of the teak wood were thus an ideal base from which she could switch out stylistic decorative elements.
This is where colour came into play, and Susanna added bright pieces like turquoise lamps and a purple sofa. The whimsical colours are chosen intentionally to fit together despite being different, often by marrying tones. “Harmony is the word that most explains the feeling of the house,” Susanna explains.
Despite decorating with bright modish pieces, Susanna also wanted natural spaces to be honoured in her design. Windows were used to integrate the location’s natural beauty into the home’s design. Sleek black frames are hung around several of the windows to enhance the view.
Susanna remarks that many people put up prints of dazzling natural scenes in their homes encased within black frames, so why not showcase her villa’s setting in the same way? After all, it is one of the best places to visit in Southern Italy.
LUXURY HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT
Set in the cliffs of Sardinia overlooking the Maddalena archipelago, Villa Susanna is undeniably a luxury space – but even more so to those who look at it closely.
Susanna’s prized purple couch is upholstered with the finest linen found on the market, a heavy yet supple fabric. The large teak table by the outdoor grill is made from a single piece of wood which would be impossible to find today in such dimensions. Imported Balinese antiques bring a touch of authenticity and history to the villa. Far from ostentatious, they drip with luxury nonetheless.
Susanna played a hand in crafting a natural space outside her home as well. The path up from the car park is planted with sage and other native Mediterranean plants, so you feel you’re in Southern Italy from the moment you arrive. Even the air you breathe is a unique product of Porto Rafael; the dense bushes produce a scent that immediately envelops you for a fully embodied arrival at Villa Susanna.
The home feeds on the opulence of its setting to provide an unforgettable experience. As an early bird, Susanna often watches a fiery spectacle play out before her eyes when the sun rises each morning, complete with a score of crashing waves and singing birds. With no neighbours in sight, it's an intimate moment for quiet contemplation before most of the world has even woken up, especially if you visit Italy during winter.
Sunsets provide an equally radiant show: the sun setting behind the villa casts a purple glow on the islands it faces. Watch carefully to see dolphins leaping over the water — Susanna will tell you they bring good luck.