Before & After: The transformation of a small apartment in Rome

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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Our 'Before & After' section is dedicated to the transformation of sensational houses across Europe, and sometimes even further afield. Today's property is located in the 'Eternal City'; Italy's capital—Rome. We're going to take a look  at the renovation of an apartment located in the district of Ostia. Architects Capitoline Formaementis oversaw the recovery of this former wash house on the top floor of a building overlooking a gasometer (a nineteenth century structure with the aim of storing city gas). Despite the lack of available space, the project has managed to create distinct living areas. The apartment has a small kitchen, a special area for meals complete with a large table with chairs and a bench, a large living room, and a large terrace equipped with all the necessary comforts to enjoy the warm summer evenings. Without further ado, let's take a look at the project in closer detail…

Before: spaces and not spaces

The first photograph shows us how the interior of the wash house appeared before the refurbishment: it was a dark place, characterised by furniture more suited to its original function. Previously, the house didn't need much light as it was not a place to live, but simply a room used for washing linen and clothing. It therefore didn't make the most of the natural light outside—but as you can see, there was plenty of potential to turn it into a light and airy space!

Before: the outside

Although the exterior was not dilapidated, as is often the case with renovations, and the plaster of the walls did not show too much wear and tear, we notice that the space of the terrace was used as a storage space for old tools as well as unused objects. Both the interior and exterior was tired and neglected.

After: the kitchen

In this shot, we can see how the former wash house is now a beautiful and bright studio equipped with high quality fittings and all the mod cons. To make sure that this house received as much light as possible, the architects opted for light-coloured furniture and a mostly white palette, interspersed with pastel colours in the form of classic and elegant finishing touches throughout. 

After: the living room

The small apartment has a kitchen at the centre of the home, designed as a transition zone, but it looks like a private and distinct area due to the clever positioning of a partition wall. The living room, which is now bright and spacious, has a large open area between the couch and the wall unit which can be utilised in a number of ways. On top of this, it also makes the room seem bigger. The floors throughout the house appear to be made of natural ash wood, while the wooden ceiling has been painted white to create a greater sense of height and make the room appear fresher. 

Before: the bathroom

Take a look at how small the bathroom was before the makeover:  we are faced with a dingy, narrow place with a poorly thought-out layout. The transformation of this environment will leave you amazed!

After: the bathroom

Here's how that small, narrow space that we showed you in the previous photo turned out! Left in the hands of the experts, this bathroom is testament to what can be achieved with a sensible layout and creative approach to design. There is now room for a much larger, modern shower, and more floor space allows the occupants to move more freely around in the area. 

After: the living room

From this perspective, we can better understand the overall structure of this lovely little apartment in Rome. The living room, which we have already seen, has access to the large terrace overlooking the gasometer. French doors lead to the outside area of the house, and we can see that all the fixtures maintain a chromatic dialogue with the rest of the house. White is the dominant colour in this home; the best choice when you are faced with less than generous floor space and low ceilings.

Before: the terrace

We return back to the wash house before the renovations, for a look at the building from the outside. Here we see the porch when it was still used as a laundry area—hardly inspiring. 

Before: the laundry area

The black marks and disused taps cause us to think that there were various appliances used for washing lined up against this back wall: washing machines and dryers, when placed in the same spot for a long time, leave their mark on walls and floors. Black spots of mould form due to the large amount of water being used within this space.

After: the terrace

We conclude our Before & After with this view of the terrace, perfect for both romantic meals and aperitifs outdoors, where relaxation is guaranteed thanks to a comfy seating area bordered by integrated plants. 

The area is sheltered by a roof made of bamboo poles, excellent for protection from the sun without blocking the cool breeze of spring and summer evenings. The outdoor area of any home in the city is usually minimal, but there is plenty of space here to enjoy—we just wish we were there!

If you've enjoyed this before and after project, you'll be interested to read about this eco-home in rural Cheshire and this before and after of a Townhouse in one of London's most desirable postcodes.

What do you think of this before and after project? We look forward to receiving your comments!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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