March 2013

Castello di Casole

Author: J. Banks Design | Photographer: J Banks Design

For well over eight years, Hilton Head Island’s award winning interior design firm, J Banks Design has been crossing the Atlantic regularly to meander through the world of Italian design, culture and business while working on their massive project, Castello di Casole—A Timbers Resorts Hotel & Residences.

Castello di Casole is a 4,200-acre historic estate located in the rolling hills of Toscana, not far from the cities of Florence and Siena. The property is dotted with over 16 farmhouse villas as well as numerous private residential estates. The central jewel of the property is Hotel Castello di Casole, once a castle in ruins that has now been restored into a luxurious 41-suite boutique hotel, housing elegant public amenity spaces including reception, lounge, bar, pizzeria, fine dining restaurant, spa and fitness center, as well as numerous private residential villas.

J Banks Design was hired by Carbondale, Colorado-based Timbers Resorts to work alongside their team on all aspects of design for the complete restoration of the entire property. When they first toured the property, many of the structures were nothing but ruins that had graced the estate dating back to the 10th century. Besides the obvious challenges—cultural differences, language barriers, building codes and European vacation and “lunch” schedules—the firm faced the design challenge of transforming the ruins into spaces that seamlessly fused old world Tuscan charm with modern day luxury.

To master their charge, the development team and designers Joni Vanderslice and Adrienne Warner, specified authentic materials found on the estate and throughout the region. Wood-beamed ceilings, exposed stone walls, original brick arches, reclaimed wood flooring, terracotta tile, marble, travertine, and hand-plastered finishes were used to capture traditional European construction.


BOTH VANDERSLICE AND WARNER SCOURED EUROPE TO SOURCE FABRICS, FIXTURES AND FURNISHINGS FROM THE MOST ACCLAIMED ARTISANS.

While working on the interior appointments, Vanderslice custom designed all painted murals and interior millwork with rich details and design motifs. Each door, cabinet and mantle was crafted by a specialty artisan to add to the authentic Tuscan experience. Both Vanderslice and Warner scoured Europe to source fabrics, fixtures and furnishings from the most acclaimed artisans. Antiques and accessories were purchased at local fairs and markets throughout all of Italy, and the designers worked with their vendors to custom create many of the pieces found in each residential casale (or farmhouse), hotel amenity spaces as well as the hotel suites. To modernize their designs, and to highlight the cutting edge, contemporary design that Italians are also known for, the design team incorporated Bisazza glass mosaic tiles and sleek Italian fixtures into each bathroom, creating an alluring blend of old and new.


THE HOTEL COMPONENT OF THE RESORT OPENED THIS PAST JULY AND CONTINUES TO RECEIVE WORLDWIDE ACCLAMATION; AND THE FIRM CONTINUES TO WORK ON NUMEROUS RESIDENTIAL CASALE ON THE PROPERTY.

The hotel component of the resort opened this past July and continues to receive worldwide acclamation; and the firm continues to work on numerous residential casale on the property. Regarding the honor by Boutique Design magazine for best renovation project of 2012, Vanderslice, J Banks’ president and owner said, “I was humbled. This project has proven to be the most challenging, yet rewarding project I have ever experienced during J Banks Design’s 26 years of business. Castello di Casole is much more than a project to me. It has changed my way of life and my outlook on design for forever. I’m grateful to our client, Timbers Resorts for the opportunity to work on the project, and I am grateful for the experiences and the relationships that have been forged during the journey.”

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