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longing for a life by the sea prompted our young couple to rescue a tiny house that had been abandoned for a number of years. The exterior refurbishment was sensitive to the aesthetic and architectural characteristics of the ancient building, the interior was turned in an open and modern space. The project was overseen by Maria Teresa Giorgio, a young architect who works for the family practice in Messina.

 

The view of the Strait of Messina from first floor living room. The floor has an integrated glass skylight that visually connects to the ground floor.

The living room of Casa De Leo, armchair LC1, Cassina

The living room is three steps above the staircase platform. The staircase continues in the sleeping quarter in the attic, open with a balustrade over the living room.

 

The building is located on Messina’s north coast, just before Punta Faro, where the mainland is just over three kilometres away. Overlooking the strait, it commands a view over the coming and going of ships of any sort, from cruise ships to commercial vessels and fishermen’s boats too. This magnificent landscape deserves the large window that Maria Teresa has designed on the first floor, where the living room is placed.

 

The ground floor was the only part that remained from the original building that dated from the second half of the nineteenth century, the first floor was a precarious shack built after the earthquake that raised Messina to the ground in 1908. Masonry walls were erected on the first floor too, so as to restore the building to its original state. 

The façade of Casa De Leo overlooks the Strait of Messina.

The façade of Casa De Leo overlooks the Strait of Messina. On the ground floor, the original masonry that dates from the second half of the nineteenth century.

 

The project is based on a juxtaposition between the ancient shell and the modern interior. The interior is designed as a fluid space. The open staircase connects the four different heights of the staggered levels of the house. Light walls and floors capture the light from the large first floor window and a glass skylight in the floor carries the light down to the dining area. The contemporary furniture includes the classic pieces of the iconic designers, here and there several family period pieces add the right contrast.

 

The view from the living room skylight towards the ground floor. De Leo House, Messina

The view from the living room skylight towards the ground floor.

a combination of load-bearing walls in exposed stone and white washed partition walls. De Leo House, Messina

On the ground floor, a combination of load-bearing walls in exposed stone and white washed partition walls. Salvaged tiles are integrated in the resin floor just like a carpet.

a juxtaposition of whitewashed walls and exposed stone, De Leo House, Messina

On the ground floor, a juxtaposition of whitewashed walls and exposed stone create a cleverly lit dramatic effect.

 

The cusp of the Strait of Messina is an ancient and captivating place. It faces the rest of Italy with its mysterious stories of men and the sea. This small house, renovated by Maria Teresa Giorgio for a young couple, seems to want to gather them all and adds a new one too. A modern story, full of light and a longing to build something new while preserving and respecting the past.

 

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Design project

Renovation of a rural house

Location:
Messina, Italy

Project and e interior design:  
Studio Giorgio, Umberto & Maria Teresa Giorgio Architetti, Messina
Email: stgiorgio@tiscali.it 

Photos:

Courtesy Maria Teresa Giorgio
Credits Giancarlo Granei

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