Before & after: An ancient palace reborn

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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In our homify before & after segment, we have seen abandoned houses transformed into modern homes, as well as ruined warehouses, basements and attics reborn as minimalistic studios. Then there have been old abandoned factories converted into amazing family homes. As you know, we're not talking about a collection of fairy tales whereby the fairy godmother has waved her want and magically transformed this spaces, but we're talking about the reality of our lives everyday, and the meaning behind our popular before & after section.

Whenever a new project comes up, there is always an unexpected surprise around every corner. Some are so filled with nostalgia that they pull on the heart strings, others leave us plain gob-smacked. In this instance, we see a combination of both these things, with a palpable recovery of a historical building in Sardinia. The office of Officina29- Architects has revived a mid-nineteenth century building which was once a palace, into a modern home that wonderfully merges both the past and present together as one. Take a look…

Before: The attic

  by Officina29_ARCHITETTI
Officina29_ARCHITETTI

Prima della ristrutturazione— sottotetto

Officina29_ARCHITETTI

We commence our tour today directly under the roof of the house in the attic. This space was essentially wasted by the previous owners as it was not in use. This desolate landscape was in need of a team of experts: there were peeling walls devoid of plaster, and serious structural weaknesses. The windows were too small to illuminate the dank environment and the floor was in utter disrepair. As you can see by the photo, the situation was dire, but the virtually blank canvas allowed the architects to have a great amount of freedom in terms of creativity and space planning.

After: Kitchen & dining area

You may not believe it, but this is the result of the renovation of the attic. What was once a sad, sorry and forgotten space, is now bright, modern and spacious. In this space, a kitchen and integrated dining room have been designed with access to the terrace. This has created a wonderful juxtaposition between the internal and external spaces that was not there before. Having restored the walls, the existing wooden beams have been painted white, further amplifying the amount of natural light that flows in from the new glazing. The tiled floor, as you may have noticed, is actually the original, yet it has been polished up and restored to its former glory.

The passageway

As a unique touch, new openings were created in the existing walls, with rectangular and circular cuts adding a contemporary contrast to the traditional aspects of the space. Now, there is a language between old and new, and a flowing dialogue despite the fact these elements are centuries apart. The same tiled floor has again been retained, as well as an ancient wooden and iron door, which has been restored and returned to its original location.

The gym

As we move further along, we see another part of the house which too, has undergone a dramatic transformation. In addition to the new kitchen and terrace, a relaxation area, guest room and even a fitness room have been included. A large skylight opens the roof up, allowing air to circulate the space, as well as bathe the room in natural light. The floor to ceiling mirrors help to refract the light further, making this wellness zone simply glow!

Before: Ground floor

  by Officina29_ARCHITETTI
Officina29_ARCHITETTI

Prima della ristrutturazione—livello 1

Officina29_ARCHITETTI

Downstairs, we see an intricate honeycomb pattern made from cement floor tiles. You can imagine that there would be plenty of life left in these old tiles if they were paid a little bit of TLC, but as for the lemon coloured paint, well, there was only one option for that. The space before renovation showed typical signs of bad organisation, and an attempt to fuse a whole range of decorating styles together that really just didn't match. This is a room that doesn't respond to modern housing needs, and is crying out desperately for help.

After: A modern living room

Voilà! The new and modern living room, a place full of charm and contemporary functionality. As with the attic, the old flooring and structure has been preserved, and charming modern elements have been added to give the room a facelift, and bring it into the 21st century.

Before: A room in ruins

  by Officina29_ARCHITETTI
Officina29_ARCHITETTI

Prima della ristrutturazione—livello1

Officina29_ARCHITETTI

Shifting our attention to another room, which you will see transformed into a bedroom in a moment, we see the same dark, barely recognisable floor coverings as in the previous 'before' photograph. But then, magically, we look to the ceiling and see an incredible relief painting on the surface. This ancient decoration is really something else, but there is one factor that leaves us perplexed—why on earth are the walls such a stark, banal shade of white, unlike any of the other rooms?

After: An antique bedroom

Here it is—the great reveal! The white wall plaster, which was clearly an after thought from recent years, has been removed to show off the most incredible wall painting. The previous surface was as delicate and beautiful as the ceiling work, and is now a stunning feature of this bedroom. Echoing the past, this space has been fully restored and protected with special resins so that we might enjoy this scene for many more years to come. The result: a bedroom that is regal in aura, and truly fit for a king or queen.

Merging past & present

Leaving the bedroom, which kick started our history tour, we make our way into the epicentre of the architecture and design of the house. Like a journey through time, yet with a modern twist, irreparable segments of wall have been replaced in a tasteful manner, leaving the historic elements to reign supreme. The furniture, too, is respectful of the antiquated nature of the building, and is rich, sturdy and built with exceptional craftsmanship. 

Homage to the past

In this image, we see the wall of a small study. Lined with colourful books, the arrangement of this space is nothing short of interesting. The horizontal flow of the books is in direct contrast with the fading vertical wall stripes. An impressive and elegant way to create additional storage.

Before: Dark & gloomy

  by Officina29_ARCHITETTI
Officina29_ARCHITETTI

Prima della ristrutturazione—sottotetto

Officina29_ARCHITETTI

Wrapping up this tour, we will analyse the final room. Remember the shabby attic we saw at the beginning? Well, you won't believe the last change it underwent..

After: An airy terrace

The large windows and sliding doors of the kitchen gave us a sneak peek, and let us know very conspicuously about the outdoor space it housed. By redistributing the space of the attic, this large wooden terrace was created, giving the occupants the chance to enjoy an enviable view over the surrounding landscape.

After viewing this before and after project, we hope that you're ready to tackle your own. As they say—anything is possible!

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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