35 sqm reclaimed in a small stone and brick cottage

The exemplary recovery of a small building, in the enchanting landscape between Val d’Orcia and Crete Senesi, is due to a work that stands out for its originality at a time of intense interest in the regeneration of historic villages. Architects are favored a conservative intervention of the original structures and materials, also following the course of the ground, from the entrance at street level to the inner courtyard, to the arched door that opens into the living room.

His choice is fundamental keep the ancient materials on the walls and vaulted ceilings inside: exposed stone and brick in fact, they give an evocative atmosphere even with the few necessary furniture and the concrete floor.

In the ground floor, kitchen and living room coexist in the same environment where two long side seats give regularity to the space, within a difficult volume. In the Upper floorwith the sleeping area and the bathroom, where the stone is painted mostly white like the wooden beamed ceiling, a special role is assigned to the wardrobe with a full wall in front of the bed, which also contains the toilet and shower behind the doors.

Photo renovated house, 35 sq.m

What works in the small rustic building

The restoration work involved both the external facades and the internal stone and brick walls. Structurally, the challenges of the roof with internal beams have been fixed, the floors have been insulated (then finished with resin cement) and the windows and doors have been replaced, including the reconstruction of the stone thresholds. The strong point of the building is the inner courtyard, which grows at different heights to the entry points located at street level and the arched window of the house. This particular site proposed the design concept of creating an outdoor space, redesigning the ground and equipping it with wooden plank platforms, ideal for organizing outdoor living.

entrance to the house with iron and glass door and brick arch

outdoor living room with wooden slatted floor

The modern rustic effect – thanks to the brushed and rearranged stones and bricks – gives character to the house. The descending elevations from the entrance to the multi-level courtyard, leading to the interior, offered the opportunity to redesign the open space with several wooden platforms, creating an outdoor lounge.

dining room in the entrance with table, chairs and bench anchored to the wall

The dining room is furnished with iconic design pieces: Tulip table by Saarinen for Knoll (knoll.com) and Eames chairs by Vitra (vitra.com). In the corner, the iron spiral staircase leads to the bedroom.

Rounded French window, under vault, in drawing-room

Post arched iron and wood entrance windowfollowing the original opening in the masonry, the living room is enriched by the old fireplace and the suggestive brick vault exposed leaning against the stone walls. The space appears regular thanks to the long benches that correct the non-orthogonality of the longitudinal walls and balance the spatial discontinuities.

open living room with vaulted brick ceiling and stone walls

In the gray concrete-paved living room, another designer seat: Vitra’s Eames Plastic Armchair (vitra.com). The other furniture in the room (and the kitchen with the bench) is specially designed, such as the two large wall benches: in natural wood to support the TV screen and in black lacquer to accommodate the raw cotton cushions that give shape to the sofa .

Conservation restoration of stones and bricks

Two timeless materials, durable and of great charm, whose protection is always worth evaluating in renovations of period and ancient houses. The conservative restoration of stone, such as bricks, combined or not, is widespread in many Italian regions, despite the fact that rather high cost (which depend and vary according to the state of departure), also because it is often requested, if not mandatory, by public bodies. It is certainly necessary to be well informed in order to know in depth the legislation that governs this type of intervention, which varies from region to region. In fact, it is not unusual for specific local regulations to apply to the protection of typical buildings. Sometimes they are also provided incentives from local authorities which favor the restructuring and recovery of abandoned buildings.

Fixation and rehabilitation interventions

Technically, often it is necessary to intervene in the masonry with both fixing works (due to gaps and discontinuities that cause interruptions in the wall structure) aims to solve one of the most frequently encountered problems, namely that ofhumidity of the ascent.

From an aesthetic point of view, the surface always requires acleaning function (manually with a wire brush or mechanically with wet micro-sandblasting). Sometimes a finish / protection – opaque and colorless – is used to close the pores of the materials or a color – with a breathable product – according to the interior project.

detail of cantilevered bench top along wall

Spiral staircase in the corner

Also on the ground floor, one is grafted into the corner new spiral staircase made of iron and wood, with steps that follow the heights of the counter and the window: it leads to the upper floor, where the private space is acquired. The back wall, on exposed stone which rises to the top of the roof, is painted white to enhance the black elements.

spiral staircase made of iron and wood

attic room with exposed wood ceiling

Whitewashed stone walls

In this environment, original and functional solutions made it possible to solve a difficult space. In the bedroom the stone walls are painted whitewith the exception of the wall behind the headboard which has been left natural, intervening only with a transparent leveling processing (one layer, useful to protect the surface and avoid any chalking). Also to be appreciated visible roof structure, with wooden beams and white terracotta tiles. On the ground, the matte gray resin-coated concrete lining ties all the other materials together.

private bathroom located in the closet

At the arrival point of the upstairs staircase, the cylindrical washbasin is Vieques by Agape (agapedesign.it), a model in white painted steel with a floor drain. The column tap is by Cea Design (ceadesign.it).

closet with shower

Space-saving solutions for the bathroom in the bedroom: toilet and shower “in the closet”

Given the size of the room and its configuration, the architects solved this by designing along the wall in front of the bed a wardrobe made of wood (birch plywood) which also incorporates the compartments containing the toilet (with mechanical ventilation system) and the shower respectively. In fact, these two compartments are closed by doors that look like wardrobe doors, even if a different treatment of their surface distinguishes the different uses. At the side (behind the sink) access to the toilet is actually through a smooth finish panel, while the shower slide is slatted.multifunctional closet project containing toilet and shower

Work: Diego Cisi and Stefano Gorni Silvestrini – ArchiplanStudio, archiplanstudio.com
Partners: Jacopo Rettondini and Christian Tezza
Photo: David Galli

Taken from the December 2021 issue of Cose di Casa

Old houses and restored period buildings: ideas for copying and useful information

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