by mc2 architettura

A Place in the Sun Shines Again

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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Suvereto is a picturesque town located in Tuscany, and today we're invited to find out how one of its beautiful old buildings has been renovated and given a new lease of life. With meadows on the horizons, stately trees on every side of the property, and only a few neighbours, this is a truly stunning location.

It's here that you find the old farmhouse, comprised of two floors of 450 square metres which, after housing three generations over several decades, were desperately in need of some TLC. Experts from MC2 Architettura were commissioned to carry out the rehabilitation of this property in an effort to harmonise the internal and external aspects, and create a practical and vibrant space for modern living.

The result has managed to reflect the history of its previous occupants, from grandparents to grandchildren, looks to the future, but without losing sight of the past.

Here is the visual story of the restoration…

Before: Tired old exterior

Here we can see the exterior before the renovation work took place. Time had aged the façade, which looks worn and dirty and, over the years, problems inside the house led to the property becoming inhabitable.

The humidity certainly didn't help the condition of the home, but another problem also lay in the poorly judged architectural changes made without proper planning. Overall, the villa looks less than welcoming!

After: Golden views from the meadow

Focusing on the very front, few would guess that this is the restored former villa. During the work, one of the volumes was removed in order to harmonise the composition of the building. Now the building has a unique compact volume, completed with a terrace on the first floor.

Its walls, now smooth and white, bring a light and airy feel to the building, contrary to its previous appearance. Equally important is the transformation of the garden, which now appears to be thriving, as well as the work carried out inside the building to make it habitable, and beautiful once more. 

After: Closer exterior view

To improve the silhouette, part of the first floor was completed with a wooden terrace. The same timber is also present in the windows and doors of the house, providing a dose of warmth that recalls the original intended appearance of this charming villa.

To improve the relationship between the building and its surroundings, the façade was slightly modified, with additional windows added to allow for communication between the landscape and the interior of the house.

Before: Wasted terrace

In the 80s, a terrace was added to the house with good intentions, but bad results. Theoretically, the occupants could enjoy the view over the Tuscan landscape but, in reality, the balcony was an isolated place, disconnected from the interior of the house and completely unprotected from the elements. 

Simply put, it was uncomfortable and impractical. The quality and finish were also not conducive to a pleasant and relaxing environment for the inhabitants; banisters in disrepair, a simple brick paved floor, and walls that marred the view.

After: Glorious new terrace

The architects were able to see the potential of this terrace and focused on working to improve the quality of this part of the house. To do this, timber became the star material, coating the ancient walls.

An outside staircase was built in order to build a physical relationship between the viewpoint and the landscape. Also note the new window, which invites a view of the stunning Tuscan landscape into the living room.

After: In the shade

The atmosphere that enveloped the previous deck was cold and bleak, and nothing like the sensual feeling now permeating this place, which appeals to all the senses. A solid wooden larch structure provides shelter from the sun, whilst still allowing for a free-flowing breeze.

The design also allows the light to enter inside, letting us enjoy the view over the meadows at the same time. The shadows, which form thanks to the wooden slat design, mimic the functionality and order of the villa's façade, creating different patterns throughout the day, depending on the position of the sun. 

After: Inside the house

One of the problems we identified in the property before the reform was the missing link between the interior and exterior. What better way to fix that than adding more windows? 

The new extension on the ground floor avoids the mistakes of the first extension, opening out onto the terrace and the garden beyond. New visual and physical relationships between the interior of the house, namely the living room and the outdoor terrace, have been established.

In fact, the sliding glass panels cause the boundaries to disappear and both spaces, inside and out, merge into one.

After: Updated interior

The newly added first floor is the new hall of the house. Boasting elegant high ceilings, the living room is a large and fluid space that leads on to a dining room. In the construction of this decked area, stained wooden panels were used. 

Another requirement of the project was to improve the villa's energy rating. To achieve this, top quality insulation was added to the walls, and ventilation was greatly improved. Additionally, solar collectors were installed to assist the boiler in producing hot water for the home. 

After: A final look

The restored villa shines brightly in it's stunning natural surroundings. It blends in to the landscape and looks as though it belongs and, as we have seen, it's now a warm and cosy home for the third generation of occupants, who can enjoy the home of their grandparents with all of today's modern comforts.

For more renovation inspiration, check out these:  5 Tea-Spilling British Façade Upgrades.

Would you ever tackle a renovation project abroad?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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