A stone house over the sea

Sheila Byers Sheila Byers
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As summer winds down, some of us may be looking back on memories of the sun that we can carry into the coming autumn.  To inspire those thoughts of bright weather, today we feature an impressive Italian house in Monte Argentario National Park in Tuscany.  A project of Modostudio architectural firm, the building stands on a hill from which it enjoys views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. We invite you to step under the blue sky, gaze at the sparkling sea and explore this sophisticated, beautiful house. 

Recovered stone

As we approach the house, we are greeted by a scene of simple yet elegant geometry. The building was designed on the site of an old warehouse and stands within the boundaries of the original structure. It has been completely rebuilt in the shape of the older structure using recovered stones, so that the home retains a sense of the history both of its location and materials. The rustic look of the stones combines with the regimented geometrical lines of the building to create a look that is at once classic and modern.

Deep windows

The designers did make slight alterations to the plan of the old warehouse; most importantly, they added  windows on all sides so that the stunning view could be seen from multiple places within the home.  From outside the house, the windows give an indication of the thickness of the stone walls, creating the sensation of a building that is both open and protected. The large windows are, of course, also important in terms of letting in as much sun as possible. 

High plains

This unique roof was constructed using an updated version of an old, traditional method, and, in many ways, this practice could be seen as a description for the whole house, which has combined older materials with contemporary features.  One of the more modern features is the house's heating system, which is run entirely by solar energy. The flatness of the roof helps to collect the suns rays, while also echoing the plain of the sea below and keeping the building from overshadowing the hilltop around it. 

Complimentary textures

One of the most striking qualities of this building is its use of so many different materials within a small space.  From this side of the house, we can see the stone of the walls, the brick surrounding the foundation, the wooden planks of the patio and the white paint of the inner windows.  Rather than becoming overwhelming, these textures compliment each other, combining to form a block of neutral colour that blends seamlessly with the bright green of the hillside.  

Bright white

The inner space of the home is marked by smooth, monochromatic surfaces.  The abundance of white keeps the inside bright and sunny and makes it feel large and open.  A hint of the stone wall seen through the door reminds us of the outside and also draws attention to the faint pattern of the flooring. Although the style of this living area appears to stand in stark contrast to the exterior of the building, the minimalist décor echoes the clean modern lines of the house's silhouette. 

Illumination

No tour of this house could be complete without a view of it at night.  Illuminated against the dark sky, we see it as a mound of stones housing the sunlight it has collected over the day.  

Let us know your thoughts on this building below.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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