A Tusc-Mex home in Tuscany: Erin Quinlan Quiros

A Tusc-Mex home in Tuscany: Erin Quinlan Quiros

How to create a habitat that represents your personality

Thu 02 May 2024 10:11 AM

“That’s my tequila corner,” exclaims interior designer and home stylist Erin Quinlan Quiros, gesticulating to the cacti and desert ferns planted in a gravel flower bed as Pocho the dog eagerly guides us along the undulating pebble pathway to their reimagined home in the Florence hills.

The Tusc-Mex garden at Erin’s home designed by local company Dimensione Verde. Ph. @marcobadiani

One of the signature features is a circular window that draws the eye to the stone façade of Erin’s home. “That window sets the mood for the entire house. That’s what made it brutalist. The house is actually only about 30-35 years old; it’s postwar. I was living in a penthouse near the Ponte Vecchio. Lockdown came, I felt trapped and I got really sick. They sent me to the hospital just to be on the safe side and, while I was recovering, I looked at real estate online. I saw that window from my searches and sent a friend to look at the house. He said, ‘It’s the house for you’. I made an offer sight unseen because I was still sick. I just had this gut feeling that I needed to be in the hills and to have some freshness in my life. I moved in less than a year ago.”

The signature circular window, which was one of the reasons why Erin bought the house. Ph. @marcobadiani
Hand-picked design details elevate the space. Ph. @marcobadiani

Light earthy tones bathe the lounge. From sliding French doors to the hallmark porthole, a natural continuum connects floors, walls and ceilings. “In the beginning, the house had lovely oak flooring and I wanted to save it. Then one day, we’d put some finish on the walls and light-coloured paper was all over the floor. At that point, the floor was out and the project took on a different direction. I wanted this floating feeling.” An unhewn crystal slab from a quarry in New Mexico serves as a sparkling table and a “hairy” limited-edition chair cover made from agave fibres makes for a conversation piece (“I call her Paloma!”), while a design-driven table with voluptuous golden legs bought at a flea market in Paris and a wooden Gaudí chair lures you over the art gallery-esque space that showcases Erin’s inherent understanding of interior design.  

Two south-facing bedrooms are a haven of tranquillity. The soft-line bedside consoles are by American designer Kelly Wearstler and the metal-plated set of drawers is an important collector’s piece by Paul Evans (“I just put a TV on top because you want to watch a movie at night when you’ve had a bad day!), while warm vibes play out in the bathroom, which boasts a clay bath by Belgian brand Studio Loho and an antique Chinese stool clad in a vintage ocelot. 

The sleeping zone leads to what is arguably the highlight of the home: a spa complete with a plunge pool, steam room and an outdoor shower as banana and cypress trees provide privacy. “In Mexico, water is very important. This is my calming cleansing space. It’s my sanctuary.

The spa designed and installed by Dimensione Verde. Ph. @marcobadiani

While Erin’s home cherishes this intensely private space, it’s ultimately designed as a party house. “I love entertaining, so there’s a lot of different little party angles. I’m from Laredo, which is on the border between Texas and Mexico, so I love barbecuing,” our host explains as she shows us around her outdoor kitchen, equipped with a lava stone island, a fireplace, a wooden table seating 12 in woven wicker chairs and a Big Green Egg grill.” Across the manicured lawn, a couple of hammocks sway in the spring breeze, anchored to centuries-old olive trees, while captivating views of Florence’s various towers sealed the deal for Erin when she purchased the property.

“I’ve got views of all these medieval towers here, so I wanted to mix my roots and the Tuscan landscape together. There are established fruit trees, roses and wisteria. I’ve been living in Italy for 25 years. My home is a reflection of me as a blend of the cultures.” In addition to the original greenery, Erin has had a vegetable garden and firepit added with the help of landscape gardening experts Dimensione Verde, who also installed the hammam. 

“My family has had a home in Cabo San Lucas for the past 30 years, where there’s a very indoor-outdoor lifestyle, and so this is my bringing Cabo home.” Erin’s eclectic style is on display in the outdoor den with natural-tone sofas from Westwing, a vintage stone Italian table, fiberglass seats from 101 Copenhagen and a vintage oak credenza by Guillerme e Chambron, all of which are centred around the fireplace with a screen that descends for alfresco movie nights among friends. “I brought the pillows back with me from Mexico. It’s a house for idling!” A bushy yucca tree and a slender ficus plant reiterate the biophilic vibe of bringing greenery into the house. 

The lava stone kitchen island. Ph @marcobadiani

The volcanic stone reappears in the indoor kitchen, a monolithic charcoal grey island softened by recuperated third-hand teak wood from Thailand that Erin had made into cabinets with soft corners and a gold and black artistic photography by Raphael Mazzucco set in a frame crafted from former railway tracks. “There’s a lot of cooking on lava stone where I come from, so I wanted to bring that into the kitchen area. It reminds me of señoritas making tortillas, which I love to make too. My Taco Tuesdays are very famous!” 

Erin Quinlan Quiros and Pocho the dog in their Florence home

Off the kitchen stands Erin’s creative space, where she styles home interiors for clients all over Italy. A signature wall has been lined with ceramics by Umbrian company Cotto Etrusco. “I designed it myself with the music ascending from light to dark.” A contemporary revisitation of a brutalist desk holds court in the homely studio setup with personal touches like a money tree that once belonged to Erin’s grandmother. After all, home is where the heart is and Erin has poured her soul into crafting the habitat that represents her personality. “Designing a home doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, but everything needs to have a story.” 

Erin has joined forces with The Florentine to develop a lifestyle column. Stay tuned!

EQQ Design @ Palazzo Pucci, Florence

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