Intrepid Los Angeles-born photographer Andrea Wyner moved to Italy seven years ago for love. She had been sent over to shoot a cookbook in Tuscany, then fell for a fisherman and decided to stay, living with him on an island. Later that year, she was sent to Milan by the The New York Times to photograph the Salone del Mobile. ‘I decided I really needed to relocate to Milan instead. It’s the centre of Europe and is so close to everywhere. I thought I’d see how it goes,’ she says. What happened to the fisherman? ‘I left him,’ she says.
Wyner found this third-floor, 26 sq m apartment in the city’s Tortona district through a friend of a friend and has been here ever since. There is one room, one small shower room and one window. The owner had kitted it out with numerous space-saving devices, like the elevated sleeping area (‘Do not call it a bunk bed,’ she exclaims) and daybed with storage underneath.
Shooting regularly for Travel + Leisure and T magazines takes Wyner away a lot, and she spends the winters in Los Angeles. Micro living in Milan has worked out for her, however. ‘I thought it was going to be temporary but it’s been six years,’ she admits. We find out why.
What were your first impressions?
It was all furnished. Everything that’s in here is the owner’s, who designed it, except some of the artwork. I loved it because of the fireplace and the original floors and because there’s nothing from Ikea or anything plastic. I almost felt like I was in a cabin on a boat.
How does the size impact the way you live?
I am social and spend a lot of time out, although I have had dinner parties here with ten people. I actually had a 4th July party here with 35 people all out on the balcony. It’s great in the summer and the spring because I can keep all the windows open so it feels bigger. In the winter it feels really small because I have to keep everything closed.
How does it change your approach to what you actually own?
I do a lot of design shoots and always think, I wish I had space to buy furniture. There’s nowhere to put it.
All my furniture and art is at my mum’s house in LA. The interesting thing is, I don’t really miss it. I have a Danish modern table, some Kartell stuff and lamps over there, but I have realised that we have so much stuff that we don’t need.
What’s the best space-saving device or design in the home?
I like the storage under the daybed. I keep shoes on one side and photo equipment on the other.
You’re American. Is living on this scale completely mad?
Yeah and I’m from LA… it’s not even like New York, where you’re used to living in an apartment. But people typically only use 40 per cent of their space. My aunt and uncle live in a crazy mansion in Hidden Hills next to the Kardashians and it’s just the two of them – it’s insane.
How important are the immediate surroundings when you live in a small space like this?
Very important. I love being high. I have a great view and really good light. It’s very green in the courtyard outside and I have a park right across the street when I want to go and play with dogs. I could not have this in LA because you spend so much more time at home there. Having a European lifestyle where everyone is incredibly social and you can walk everywhere works.
What would you change?
I don’t like sleeping up on top. Although all I do is sleep up there and it’s very comfortable, I do miss being on the ground. If I had a bedroom and a bathtub, this place would be perfect for me.
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