How to create a haven of tranquility – this lakeside home is a lesson in calm

The ultimate relaxing retreat – the designer of this Italian lakeside home shows us how to create an oasis of calm

living room with view of lake and white sofas
(Image credit: Vigo Jansons)

This apartment is in the commune of Campione d'Italia, a small Italian town surrounded by Swiss territory. It's situated on the hillside with a panoramic view of the mountains and Lake Lugano, as well as of the city of Lugano, on the opposite shore of the lake. 

If anyone is going to appreciate those cinematic views, it's Sergey Sozanovsky, owner of one of the largest film studios in Ukraine and his wife Iryna Kostyuk, who is a TV and film producer, who use the apartment for vacations with friends and family. 

The lake views alone make this one of the world's best homes, but when you factor in the apartment's interior design by the couple's friend, interior designer Yana Molodykh, you realise it's very special indeed. She shows us round, sharing her hints on how to create a haven of tranquility as she goes. 

living room with arched shelves and white chairs

(Image credit: Vigo Jansons)

Designer Yana Molodykh came on board relatively late on in the process, in 2020, when the main works were almost finished.

'It was agreed from the very beginning that I would be in charge of the decoration process, as I know my friends’ tastes and preferences,' says Molodykh.

The designer's living room ideas were about working with the existing footprint, and that view of course, but developing the sense of calm. 'I wanted to soften the atmosphere and introduce some coziness, so I chose objects with rounded shapes and added some tactility to all rooms through textiles – cotton with silk, wool, carpets and cushions,' says Molodykh.  

In pride of place on the bookcase is a golden eagle vase by Natura Ceramica, a Ukranian studio, now based in Amsterdam. 

white sofa in living room with balcony and view of lake behind

(Image credit: Vigo Jansons)

'I was inspired by the scenery outside the window: the water, the sky and the mountains – which have different colors depending on the seasons – the roofs; and the bell tower in the valley; as well as my clients,' adds Molodykh, who believes that reflecting the natural world and views in the interiors adds to sense of being at one with the world and aids relaxation. 

Her furnishing choices are full of natural references, as she explains: 'The Ochre chandelier (seen in the opening image) evokes the fish jumping out of the lake; the CC Tapis rug looks like circles on the water from a raindrop; and the fluffy Edra Cyprus sofa reflects the clouds floating outside the window, and which often "cling" to the mountain.'

Designer Yana Molodykh
Yana Molodykh

Yana Molodykh's inspiration for the interiors in this Italian lakeside home came, as with many of her projects, from the natural landscape outside. She is also inspired by great art and architecture, and by her travels around the world. Sourcing works of art and commissioning Ukranian artisans for this apartment was a real joy, she says. 

white sectional sofa in living room

(Image credit: Vigo Jansons)

This area of the living room is used for watching TV, but also for admiring the sunset over the lake. The Edra On the Rocks sofa is perfect for both activities, with its options for sitting in opposite directions. A Bolia coffee table, Gan Rugs carpet, Gubi floor lamp, and Rossana Orlandi mirror complete the scene. 

kitchen with wooden shelves and dining table

(Image credit: Vigo Jansons)

The smart kitchen-diner is on the lower floor of the apartment. Here too, natural, organic materials create a sense of wellbeing. 

'My clients wanted to bring a piece of our culture to their Italian apartment so we decorated each room with objects made by Ukrainian craftspeople and artists,' explains Molodykh. 

Kitchen ideas include a custom dining table made by Vasko Sotirov. The tabletop is made of 200-year-old oak, which grew on the territory of an estate near Verona. Other key furnishings include a vintage Turkish carpet, vases by Ukrainian ceramic workshop Gorn ceramics, and an Atelier Areti lamp. 

bedroom with lake view

(Image credit: Vigo Jansons)

The simple, pared back bedroom ideas for the main bedroom on the upper floor are designed to let the lake and mountain view do the talking. The bed is by De la Espada. 

Bedroom with blue cushion and insect cushion

(Image credit: Vigo Jansons)

It's not hard to spot the natural theme in the couple's daughter's room. Calming blues and neutrals again reference the lake to create the most relaxing setting for a good night's sleep.  

The bedside table is by Kartell, the lamp from &tradition. 

balcony with bar stools and view of lake

(Image credit: Vigo Jansons)

For a home where the views are all important, a balcony space to enjoy them was just as important. Wrapping round two sides of the apartment, the balcony includes comfortable seating areas, as well as this bar stool perch. 

Like the apartment's owners, designer Yana Molodykh is delighted with the way the home has evolved organically, embracing the landscape and creating a calm sanctuary and retreat for all who are lucky enough to stay here. 'I kind of built a nest,' she says. 'because the symbol of this family is a bird, a wagtail, in fact.' 

It looks like being a nest they will return to over and over again, whenever a touch of calm is required. 

Interior design: Yana Molodykh Interiors

Photographs: Vigo Jansons 

Karen Darlow

Karen is the houses editor for and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.