Figline Valdarno, Tuscany, Italy - September 2019
A young couple and an old house to restore in the historic center of Figline Valdarno (near Chianti and close to Norcenni Girasole club Toscana) with a small budget. The building had been renovated the latest time in the 80s and it was inhabited by a single whose lifestyle was not compatible with the needs of my young customers. And even less the aesthetic tastes. The restructuring that we went to carry out is based on the recovery of the existing, keeping as much as possible what was good because making the economy often means sustainability for both the environment and the portfolio.
The cottage had the traditional finishes of building in central Italy: celings with dark etched wood beams and red terracotta tiles on the floor; the red brick floors were so dark that they looked black; the walls of a pathetic yellow and the doors the same.
The ground floor in particular had a very sad appearance: two wooden and glass doors to the English had been painted yellow and fitted like a filter by frames in wood stained with an unthinkable blue that when compared to yellow was really unpleasant to the eye. Since the doors were well made, I immediately thought of having them repainted in white and used: here they are always placed on the ground floor as sliding panels that separate the bathroom / laundry environment from the rest of the ground floor. In order not to break the beauty of the barrel vault, the part above the track and the longarine was closed with a transparent glass. On the ground floor, in addition to the aesthetic ugliness, there was a lot of rising damp that led to the detachment of veil portions. This was because a masonry counter-wall was built during the previous renovation, inside which newspaper and a bituminous sheath had been inserted; the wall had a "cymatium" in serena stone... this whole structure was nothing more than to make the humidity from the underground rise higher.
Despite having warned my clients that the problem of rising damp is one of the most difficult to solve if one cannot act at the root, my proposal was to demolish the false wall and remove the now dull plaster by letting the wall as much as possible. The bricks and stones we found as masonry were spray-painted with siloxane paints for interiors rigorously white in order to create a nice contrast with the retracted terracotta floor.
On the first floor the very small bathroom that was in the stairwell was made much more functional by using a small well-positioned sink, supporting the toilet and radiator and reversing the door. In a bathroom so small I had found so many errors all at once! The result was an environment not only aesthetically unpleasant but difficult to use. The cladding was demolished and replaced with Kerakoll wallpaper in the colors of the new collection signed by Lissoni used exclusively (it was not on the market in large retailers especially in Tuscany). Also in the kitchen we used Kerakoll Design resins and whitewashing in the WR03 color. In general The ceilings with exposed beams have been bleached through a glaze and there have been applied some LED strips to enhance the general lighting of the rooms which was rather poor.
One of the most difficult jobs was the one done in the black and white bathroom on the second floor: in order not to raise the budget and to maintain the beauty of this bathroom, we did some small, targeted interventions, which means a bricklayer plumber, work with extreme care and attention. All the tiles have been maintained even if all the sanitary ware has been replaced and above all the terrible 120 cm tray has been replaced by a large spacious and functional shower. The new tiles used in black Ce-Sa tiles have been laid like a wall and we used a lemon-yellow stucco for the joints: a touch of gracious irony wanted by the lady of the house!