Located in Mottola in the Taranto province of southeast Italy, La Casa di Gioia (The House of Joy) rises from a small ravine among a breathtaking landscape, offering views across the open sea and the Gulf of Taranto, Puglia. Built in 1908, the two structures have been left abandoned and exposed to the elements for more than 50 years. To renovate the buildings and to rekindle their dormant charisma, the owners hired architect Carmine Chiarelli. He immediately felt a personal duty to honor a piece of Italian history, but he also fell in love with the house at first sight, setting on a journey to preserve the original design and features as much as possible. The project’s goal was to transform the space into a modern B&B that maintained the rural architecture of the region. The restoration process includes the outdoor area that now boasts new walls, terraces, concrete surfaces, and a threshing floor made from pieces of hand-hewn stone. The position of the house and the relationship between the two structures may seem random at a glance, but it is in fact a clever decision made by the first architects. The space in between the two buildings creates natural ventilation as it acts as a funnel for the north winds, but also separates the garden from the residential area. Chiarelli designed a concrete terrace that maintains these original features intact and incorporates the ancient olive tree, as well as a new pedestrian path. The color palette composed of the blue sky and windows, rich brown earth, and bright white walls is maintained inside the hotel. Pristine white paint and concrete floors complement wooden furniture and modern pieces, which are used sparingly, while blue accents add more visual impact to the décor. The most striking elements of the whole interior are the original tile floors, restored to their former glory. A perfect balance between man and nature, modern and antique, The House of Joy provides a perfect opportunity to live, if only for a few days, in home built more than a century ago and to feel closer to the rich history and unique charm of the region. Photography by Paola Aloisio.

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