This beautiful project focuses on the restoration and expansion of a farmhouse by A2BC Studio on the terraced hillside of Cinque Terre in Liguria, Italy. The main emphasis of the project is on the recovery and emphasis of original materials and construction techniques in a contemporary perspective. The main house has fully retained its structure and distribution while incorporating contemporary elements in substitution for the parts of the building that were not recoverable due to advanced stages of deterioration.
New concrete paving unifies the spaces of the house, white plaster for the interior highlights the stone on the original bearing walls, and the new black window frames create a balanced contrast with the interiors of the house and the framing of the landscape. The furniture is refined yet simple, as it plays on the combination of recovered and modern pieces, using colors that recall those of the surrounding landscape.
The restoration of the main house is complemented by the reconstruction of the adjacent barn, of which only the foundation remained. A simple volume of split stone, typical of Liguria, is hollow to allow for a generous full-height opening towards the sea, whose adjustable brise soleil, the typical Genoese shutters, allow regulation of the light throughout the day. Inside, the smallest spaces, the ‘garden rooms’ (the surface is approximately equal to Le Corbusier’s Cabanon at Cap-Martin) has no more than a bed, water closet, sink, and shower. The scheme is repeated on two floors.
Greek architect Minas Kosmidis redesigned this postwar two story detached house featuring a stunning Acropolis view, located in the area of Thisio in Athens, Greece. Besides the restoration work which had to be done for the 1,076 square foot (100 square meters) home, the configuration of the spatial organization was another significant part of the re-design.
Here is a description of the project from the architects. “The indoor organization of the detached houses of ‘50s was almost standard. On the ground floor, one could find the daytime functions: the sitting room, the living-room, the kitchen, perhaps a small water closet; on the other floor, the nightly functions: the 3 bedrooms, the bathroom, the store room-laundry and the back balcony which had access to the camber through metal stairs.
All the rooms looked over the street, as usual, because life in the neighborhood was intrinsic to it. The building was to be bought by the new owners because it had an important advantage (besides its location) the back of the second floor had a view of the Acropolis.
The aim of the study of the house was the exploitation of that view and how it would be able to become the most important element in the final spatial configuration in order to serve the owners both interns of their needs and in terms of aesthetics. Of course, the purchase would depend on this solution.
All this was achieved, to a maximum, through this study and its application afterwards, which literally brought things upside down. So on the ground floor, besides the entrance was/we created the bedroom with the owners’ private bathroom, a small living-room which is transformed into a guest-house after changing the movable elements, which separate it from the bedroom, a small water closet for the guests and a storeroom.
As the ground-floor gets light only through the two windows that overlook the street, walls and doors have been removed and replaced with big movable panels made of wooden surfaces with either walnut finishing or that of the walls.
The wants and the aesthetics of the owners as well as the architects were concurrent. A monochromatic was created, in the shades of the earth shell, natural materials were used, non-sterile, where furniture, items, memories can coexist harmoniously, without affectation.
The beige is the main color of the coated surfaces of the walls and of the floors, of the marble floors, of the hollows and of the most cloths, in a coexistence with the wood of the walnut and the black of the metal constructions, of the switches, of some items which stand for other seasons.
You are in a constant conversation with the lively frame of Acropolis and bring you into a pleasant nostalgic attitude, somewhere else. The metal elements, which were used for the restoration, remained visible, as well as the building elements of the old construction.
The old outwards hollows remained and maintained and at the frontage the railing and the gutters were redesigned. The colors that were used for the internal were also used for the external.
The lighting was studied for showing the building both inside and outside but with respect to the region of Thisio, the monument of Acropolis, the atmosphere that is brought by the building.
The big glass wall was built so that it could become a large frame with a view to the Acropolis. From the veranda, a steel stair leads to the terrace; from there somebody has the superlative view to the Attica sky, to Acropolis, to the “observatory”, to Athens.
Opposite the entrance, a staircase with steps made of solid walnut “planted” on the wall leads to the floor where a single space has been created, which includes a living-room, a dining-room, a kitchen with a straight continuation towards the veranda.
Photos: Ioanna Roufopoulou
The Bovina Residence is a stunning timber frame home from a nineteenth century barn that has been restored and raised on a new site in the Catskills, New York. Designed by kimberly peck architect, the goal of this project was to build a house that would be energy efficient using materials that were both economical and environmentally conscious. Due to the extremely cold winter weather conditions in the Catskills, insulating the house was a primary concern. The entirety of the timber frame has been wrapped in SIPs (structural insulated panels), both walls and the roof.
The 1,945 square foot house sits on a poured concrete slab with a radiant heating system inside and the top of the slab was polished and left exposed as the flooring surface. Fiberglass windows were chosen for their green properties. The house utilizes an air exchanger, a device that brings fresh air in from outside without losing heat and circulates the air within the house to move warmer air down from the second floor.
Additional green materials used in the home include reclaimed barn wood used for the floor and ceiling of the second floor, reclaimed wood stairs and bathroom vanity, and an on-demand hot water/boiler system. The exterior of the house is clad in black corrugated aluminum with an aluminum standing seam roof. Because of the extremely cold winter temperatures windows are used discerningly, the three largest windows are on the first floor providing the main living areas with a majestic view of the Catskill Mountains.
This urban flat called ‘Loft Sangervasio’ is located in a restored building of an old industrial district in the town of Brescia, Italy. This incredible 2,690 square foot (250 square meters) space has been designed by architecture studio Massimo Adiansi Architetto, the project respected as much as possible the history of the building, which was once a garage. This has been done by the selection of materials such as wood, bricks, iron, stone as well as the fixtures and furnishings. The wooden floor is of particular interest, as it is made from old wine oak barrels, perfectly mixed with material such as the slate in the bathrooms, the iron spiral staircase and the brick walls.
Design studio Dufner Heighes were commissioned with the task of turning back the clock on a New York City townhouse. The most recent developer gutted the building and left if feeling cold and stark, so the new owner wished to create a cozy home with modern details. The designers restored the original facade from 1899 and reinstated original architectural and design details. The 4,200 square foot multi-story townhouse opens by way of steps that lead up to the first floor entry level featuring a double parlor. The living room with its custom Koi wallpaper mural adds elegant warmth to the home. The rear parlor beyond is the TV room and study. The kitchen and dining room are on the garden level, offering views out to an outside garden and sitting area. The second floor houses the two children’s bedrooms. The master bedroom retreat is situated on the third level. The top floor was designed as a rooftop lounge with both interior and exterior living spaces.
Glassed-in lounge features a whirl ceramic wall installation by J Prichard Design and a Moroccan relief rug from Stark. A skylight offers additional light to penetrate into the cozy space.
The roof deck has its own fireplace and teak furniture.
The dining room is on the garden level.
The master bedroom on the third floor is a cocoon of soft pastel color with silk carpeting and a new stone fireplace.
The walls are covered in suede wallpaper.
On the second floor, one of the two sons’ rooms is designed with custom built-in furniture to retain as much floor space as possible. A round pivoting porthole with corkboard to connects the two boys rooms.
A painted teak bench and lots of plantings fill the small garden.
The TV room and study are painted in high-gloss gray lacquer. Custom steel bookshelves are cantilevered off the walls.
The fireplace surround was replaced from a modernist design to a classical marble.
The curtains have been hung from the ceiling to create the impression of height.
Through the front door of the home is a Lindsey Adelman pendant bubble light fixture with a stair runner from Tai Ping.
Emma Sloley and Adam McCulloch, travel writers, bought a house in the historic center of Mérida, the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán. The couple is originally from Australia but live in New York, writing for magazines such as Departures and Travel & Leisure. While on assignment, they fell in love with the city and wished to return to work on book projects since they were already somewhat familiar with the place. They returned several more times after, renting various houses in the historic city center where American and Canadian expats were purchasing homes and restoring them. Two years ago the couple decided they too would purchase a home, spending $85,000 on a single-story residence on a quiet block that had been in the same family since the 19th century. The property had highly desirable features, which included an unusually deep lot of about 80 yards, original tile floors and high ceilings.
Undertaking the renovation by themselves, took about a year and almost $150,000. Working with a Maya construction crew, about a third of the house was gutted, adding an extra story, a guest casita and a pool. The new design emphasizes the strength of the house, its long site lines, adding glass curtains in place of solid walls so that upon entrance to the home, one can see right through to the backyard where frangipani grow in the small courtyard of the casita. The 4,000 square foot home is now bright and colorful, with four bedrooms, and an additional bedroom in the casita, a screening room, spacious kitchen and dining area, a rooftop terrace and a generous backyard with a glassed-in pool and an outdoor fireplace. The home is furnished with a mix of pieces from New York and local antiques shops, including a bust of the former Mexican president Lázaro Cárdenas, for whom the house, Casa Cárdenas, was named.
The letters in the entryway, hanging over a 1950s vanity, spell the name of a popular Mexican boy band. The tile floor is original.
The couple bought a bust of the former Mexican president Lázaro Cárdenas at a local antiques store. It now stands guard in a breezeway, beside the stairs to the second-floor bedrooms.
The window seat in the master bedroom looks out onto a private patio, where the couple like to watch hummingbirds congregating around the foliage.
The master bathroom has two showers and a window that looks out on the garden. The door to the right opens onto a private balcony.
The brightly colored house is now 4,000 square feet.
The couple undertook the house’s renovation themselves, without the help of an architect or designer.
“Good character trumps good condition,” Mr. McCulloch said. “The view from the ground is more important than the plan. And always leave room for set dressing.”
During the yearlong renovation, they worked with a Maya construction crew that gutted about a third of the main house, added a second story and put in a 27-foot-long lap pool.
Bull-shaped piggy banks march along the poured-concrete floating shelves in the kitchen.
Mr. McCulloch often prefers to write at the antique hacienda-style dining table instead of in his office. The tile on the floor is a reproduction of what was originally there, made by hand from the original molds at a local factory that has been manufacturing tile for more than 200 years.
“We didn’t want to go somewhere we hadn’t been, because we’d spend all our time exploring,” Mr. McCulloch said. “We wanted a place where we had been, had liked and would be able to work.”
Photos: Bruce Buck for The New York Times
Gallery owner Judith Racht is the longtime owner of a working 60-acre farm outside Niles, Michigan, and an art and antiques gallery. Racht was determined to transform her dilapidated 200-year-old barn into a cutting-edge living space without losing its “feel of antiquity.” Consulting with Chicago-based Northworks Architects and Planners, the client wished to have a home that suited their contemporary tastes while respecting the local design vernacular.
Racht had purchased the property 29 years ago and was informed that the barn had been relocated onto the farm before the Civil War and was in danger of collapse. She had a local team of Amish craftsmen restore its structure and preserve the original beams and framing, which was then integrated into the new plans of the home. The architect polished the interior with reclaimed barn wood that melds with the beams and rafters. He selected painted aluminum for the exterior siding and roof and installed 15-foot-tall black steel windows on two sides of the barn and flanked them with crank-operated panels that slide open and shut like traditional barn doors.
The silo and the two interior “corncribs” atop the loft (concealing an elevator and the master bathroom) complete the illusion of a working barn. Designer furnishings were mixed with old pieces against weathered walls and ancient timbers. The main floor is decorated with a continually rotating collection of modern art. The open kitchen is lined with a steely array of high-tech appliances.
Photos: James Yochum
This restored old farm house of the 18th century, spotted on Nuevo Estilo, blends the past and present, situated in the Empordà, a beautiful wine region located north of Barcelona in Mediterranean Spain. The renovation is the work of Studio Palau de Casavells, renewing the home with a strong mix of vintage and cutting edge design. The aroma of lavender from the Mediterranean garden welcomes you into the home and the beauty that awaits you. In the reform, the designer kept the soul of the building, while retaining, as much as possible, the original materials.
Natural materials of clay, stone, wood and cement were incorporated into the existing structure to help preserve what was already there. This unique fusion can also be seen in the decoration, which shows a flexible mix of parts, furniture and details, with results that creates a surprising and very evocative effect. A mix of recovered industrial furnishings and chairs of the sixties creates a fresh and modern atmosphere, a spectacular backdrop for an interesting collection of contemporary art, which finds its perfect frame in the thick walls with centuries of history.
Moulin du Jardinier is a converted old mill house nestled in over 7 acres of beautifully mature, landscaped gardens in the hills at Mouans Sartoux in the South of France. From the house and gardens there are open views over the valley below. This 15th century stone-built house was originally owned by director Sir David Lean. The house and gardens with all of their magical charm was purchased from Sir David’s widow by a young Danish couple who also fell under its spell.
The furnishings throughout the house are a blend of the original dramatic, tempered with an elegant Scandinavian simplicity. Rich fabrics and beautifully executed paint effect finishes, including several entrancing murals, all create a colorful setting for the Provencal antique furniture. The house features two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a single bedroom with bathroom and the completely independent master bedroom suite which has two en-suite bathrooms. Up a spiral staircase from the conservatory, there is a further twin bedroom with en suite bathroom.
The huge vaulted drawing room and dining room are perfect for entertaining and open directly onto the terraces offering lovely views and one of several outdoor dining areas. The private master bedroom suite is separated from the house by a conservatory, with French doors opening onto its own terrace and water garden. The large pool with green mosaic tiles nestles underneath one of the many flower terraces. At one end, the elegant pool house there is everything from BBQ and fridge to hand-made wrought iron dining table and chairs.
Prices for the rental villa ranges from $15,700-$31,400 per week, from here.
This beautiful rustic countryside family home in Italy is owned by a woman named Hanne who lives there with her two teenage sons and her partner Rafaelle. Hanne was originally from Norway, and then moved around to various places before making her way to Italy. She purchased a rundown home in the outskirts of Rome and had it rebuilt. Hanne explains, “When we found this place, it was basically just a roof and walls. No one else would buy it because it was so run-down and in the middle of nowhere. I saw the potential though – for me, the uglier the house, the bigger the challenge. It took a year to do all the work and it was very hard. There were no trees here, and the house didn’t even have water or electricity.” It is now the home of her dreams and a place where she can have lots of house guests because it has been built spaciously enough for entertaining. Via