tiny dilapidated building, a stone’s throw away from an amazing beach in front of the gulf of Ulysses in the south-eastern corner of Sicily, was transformed in a bewitching holiday home. In this paradise, holidaymakers breath in the clean air of the Mediterranean sea. We are in the southernmost point of Italy, at Granelli, a few kilometres away from Pachino with its famous cherry tomatoes as well as from the capitals of Sicilian baroque: Noto, Modica and Scicli. And due to its popularity, impossible not to mention as well the coveted home of Andrea Camilleri’s inspector Montalbano with its romantic terrace over the sea.
We enter in the property located at two hundred metres from the sea and continue walking in a southerly direction, there at the bottom, you already see it glistening. Walking under a pergola, an open-air corridor nearly sixty metres long, we head towards the patch of blue we see beyond the house. Or rather, through the house itself.
The architect in charge of the renovation project, Lillo Scaringi Raspagliesi’s initial reaction was that you had to catch a glimpse of the sea, as soon as you set foot in the garden. This gave life to the home’s open plan living room, the intersection between the land and the sea in which you take cover only when forced in by the bad weather. The open plan living room duplicates outdoors in fact, as Lillo tells us, “We live outdoors in this house, in contact with nature and the landscape. The main feature here is not the house itself, it’s the sea”.
Design is the owners’ great passion. This home is a collection of wonderful iconic pieces by the top Italian designer brands, harmoniously integrated in a structure that has an almost archaic simplicity. The furniture is functional, the colours are soft, the lines are meticulous. The uniform floor in sandstone, polished indoors, untreated outdoors, makes the space feel free-flowing and uninterrupted.
The light design of the living room: the Pierrot sofa-bed by Bonaldo, the Bloom Bouquet chandelier by Kartell and the Costanza floor lamp by Luceplan. On the wall, the Loft radiator by Antrax and on the wall, the Tenochtitlan candle holders by Driadekosmo. In the background, the simple wooden boardwalk that leads to the sea.
In a holiday home that focuses on communal life with friends and the memorable dinners prepared in company, the living room and the kitchen had to be the same space. They are separated by a difference in ceiling height (the roof terrace is above the kitchen). The same height as the doors, the built-in cupboards are built along the living room walls that have bespoke cupboards and shelves in corten iron. Here too, the distinctive designer furniture, from the large table on castors with the top in Calcatta marble, designed over twenty years ago by Philippe Starck, to the iconic S-chairs designed by Tom Dixon in 1992 combined with the simple, traditional, local chairs. The game of contrasts carries on in the kitchen with furniture that combines pieces by Alpes Inox with retro-inspired style.
In the two bedrooms the deco is kept clean, a few simple and functional pieces, lamps that have made the history of lighting design are on the bedside tables and several romantic touches such as the old stepladder used as a bookcase or the baroque-style mirror found at a flea-market in Modica, which is placed on the wall that in the master bedroom replaces the headboard and the bedside tables too.
The sound of the waves in your ears, a ruin casually discovered and, in a flash, the vision of the house it was going to transform into. This is how the story of this tiny gem on the beach of Granelli started, planned with great attention to detail so as to deserve its exceptional location on the sea. Simple architecture and refined designer furniture for a unique mix, an atmosphere of sophisticated simplicity that evokes the Sicilian sea, so strong, intense and, above all, beautiful.
Renovation of a building on the sea
Location: Granelli (SR), Sicily, Italy
Arch. Lillo Scaringi Raspagliesi, Milan, Italy
Studio Tringali, Ispica (SR), Italy
Courtesy Lillo Scaringi Raspagliesi