Marble, leather, brass and stone celebrate history in this small Italian mansion

Contrasting medieval architecture with modern design, this tiny Italian apartment uses colour and mirrors to enhance the sense of space

modern kitchen vigone home
Photography Serena Eller/Vega MG

Twenty-eight-year-old beauty therapist Martina Parise was well-acquainted with the 14th- century tower in her village long before she got the chance to live there – it is a beloved landmark in the hamlet, which is located in the Vigone region just outside Turin. When a friend of Martina’s told her his father-in-law was selling an apartment in the tower, she jumped at the chance to buy it. Its age didn’t daunt her: two years after moving in, she asked Turin-based firm SCEG Architects to help her renovate it, drawn in by their experience of creating modern, sympathetic interiors for old buildings.

Photography Serena Eller/Vega MG

The apartment, which looks out over a tree-lined piazza, boasted striking period features, including timber ceilings and tall windows. But at 90 square metres, the space was challengingly small. Thanks to SCEG Architect’s Eirini Giannakopoulou and Stefano Carera, it no longer feels that way, after they changed the interior to make the rooms feel lighter and bigger.

A Palette of Greens, sky blues and sandy hues mimic the colours of the sun-drenched piazza outside

The duo separated the home into three graduated levels: from the living area at the front, the floor rises via a series of shallow steps, so that there are sightlines along the home’s entire length – Martina can view the piazza even from her bedroom on the top level. The architects reinforced the link between indoors and out with a unique slatted wooden structure in front of the living area’s windows, which frames the view and incorporates a terrace-style bench. ‘We imagined the home’s windows as a spyglass on the square,’ says Eirini.

corridor vigano home
Photography Serena Eller/Vega MG

Colours and materials are used cleverly to complement the building’s heritage. Eirini chose a palette of nature-inspired greens, sky blues and sand-hued natural lime plaster to mimic the surrounding landscape and the tower’s exterior walls. Each shade is used in small blocks, so that the rooms feel open, rather than box-like.

modern bedroom vigone home
Photography Serena Eller/Vega MG

‘When it came to materials, we decided on lasting finishes such as marble, leather, brass and stone to reference the building’s history,’ says Eirini. ‘The hexagonal stone tiles in the living area echo the flagstones in the piazza. This building has been part of the village’s life for centuries, and we wanted to honour that.’

For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration March 2018

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