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| Designbest editorial staff


n eighteenth century stone tower has been converted into a delightful home, which brings past and present together. This four-floor building by the sea, is the new holiday home of a French professional couple, who spends their summer months here. We are in a charming little town, once part of the maritime republic of Venice, which, like many other such places, is found along the rugged Croatian coastline with its series of capes, coves, bays and small islands. A veritable sailing paradise, dolphins are often spotted by holidaymakers, who similarly to our French couple, end up falling hopelessly in love with the romantic hamlets and the wild landscape.


the top floor with ensuite master bedroom

Original exterior walls and window openings have been left untouched; this doesn’t interfere with the new internal layout. A light-strip runs along the entire attic perimeter, almost as if it were a free-standing building. The image above shows the top floor with ensuite master bedroom.

the restored wooden front door and the home seen from the sea-front

Left hand-side image, the restored wooden front door is an early twentieth century piece. Right hand-side, the home seen from the sea-front. The balcony, which jets over the water, has a lightweight steel railing, replacing the old masonry balcony.


Venetian architect Giorgio Zaetta completely refurbished this building, once part of the old town walls and used to defend the settlement from incoming sea raids. The project focused on reinforcing this historic building, as well as converting it into a home. The original stone walls have been carefully restored and plumbing, heating and wiring have been purposely installed in built-in furniture, so as not to damage the stone structure. This follows the teachings of architect Carlo Scarpa, also from the Veneto region.


On the small balcony two chairs, an occasional table, a sunshade and a lamp are perfect for a tête-à-tête.
Driade Pendant lamp Zelight

The small balcony over the sea is the most beloved corner of this home, especially during a hot summer’s evening. Two chairs, an occasional table, a sunshade and a lamp are perfect for a tête-à-tête.

Bespoke kitchen, appliances by Miele, kitchen hood by Boffi

The street-level entrance leads directly to a communal area. A large dining table and open-plan kitchen welcome friends. The entrance is on the left, the balcony over the sea is on the right. Bespoke kitchen, appliances by Miele, kitchen hood by Boffi.

Exposed brick walls, concrete screed flooring, timber-framed table and chairs and false ceiling which hides wiring. Extreme attention to detail adds a natural type of elegance to an almost bare space.

Poltrone e sgabelli della collezione Luna di Gandia Blasco, elettrodomestici di Miele e Küppersbusch

There’s a second entrance at sea level; this lets you approach by boat. An outdoor space was built here, fronted by steel bars and with a sink and barbeque, so you can gut and grill fresh fish. This is the guest floor with a large bespoke kitchen.

Armchairs and stool are part of the Luna series by Gandia Blasco, appliances by Miele and Küppersbusch, Led spot lights on the perimeter.  

Similarly, the exquisite cantilevered staircase is set-back from the stone walls. Supported by a steel lattice frame, the staircase also houses the technical compartments for each floor. Each step is constructed from a stainless steel dovetail joint (1 cm thick), built without welding.

Polder sofa designed by Hella Jongerius and Eames lounge chairs are both manufactured by Vitra.


The mood instantly becomes more intimate on the first floor. It brings together a living room and a home office. This space is closed-off by a large bookcase, which faces away from the rest of the room, plus its back serves as a backdrop for the video installations of an artist dear to our owners. The large sofa by Hella Jongerius is right in the centre of the room, facing both the sea and a TV, which, just like the keel of a ship, is in the low-level storage in front of the windows. In the foreground, a desk, which is a bespoke piece like most of the furniture. 


Bedrooms on the top floor, exposed beams and trusses pained pearl grey and rigatino oak flooring. The master bed is behind the cube with bathtub and shower, in the centre of the room. Sea-view all around, even from the bathtub, thanks to original windows at different heights.


Architect Giorgio Zaetta and his clients brought back to life this centuries-old tower perched on a cliff. They carefully preserved its past, as well as pouring the same amount of energy into giving it a new function. Furthermore, the overall minimalism of this project is balanced-out by the romantic feel of the ancient stone walls. We hope, you’ll have a chance to see its balcony sailing by this summer along the beautiful Croatian coast.



Design project

Converted seaside tower

Location: Croatia
Floors:  4

Conservation and interior design project, furniture sourcing:
Zaetta Studio, via Roma 1, Feltre (BL), Italy
Tel: 0039 0439 840 080
Email: info@zaettastudio.it


Credits Alberto Ferrero
Courtesy Zaetta Studio

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