Resuscitating a Ruined Tuscan Villa

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The rolling hills, sunflower fields and scattered towns of Tuscany often garner a romanticized view of the region, described to death in the pages of airport paperbacks. But among these sites and cultures stand the ruins of dozens of abandoned villas and farmhouses, remnants of a more prosperous economic time. These sites exist in an odd limbo state, as they don’t qualify for historic conservancy, but are protected by strict preservation laws that can make it expensive for builders to revitalize them. But thanks to architects like Ilana David, a partner at Roy David Studio, one of these villas is getting a second life as an elegant vacation house. Working in conjunction with the preservation laws, the Montelparo Villa was remodeled into a beautiful summer getaway without losing site of its heritage. Starting with the exterior, the original stones of the façade were catalogued and individually tested for structural integrity before being reconstructed. This then freed up the architect to redesign the interior with the knowledge that the building’s envelope could handle the workload. Using techniques associated with the local architecture, such as exposed wood beams, terra-cotta stone flooring and a contextually minded color palette, the home smoothly integrates all modern amenities into the historic villa. Instead of petitioning to bulldoze the site and start from scratch, the remodel of the Monetlparo Villa is a prime example of how careful refurbishment can combine with contemporary to get the most out of historically significant but damaged buildings. Photography © Matteo Canestraro

Nathaniel Barlam

Nathaniel

Amid the unrest of earning his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from RISD, Nathaniel manages to find the time to read, write, hang out with friends, play drums, and listen to music. Nathaniel has learned a lot about architecture firsthand thanks to opportunities to live and work in Rome and Brooklyn during the past year. Coming from a family with strong roots in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Nathaniel has always maintained a strong love for NYC especially, and after his studies finish up in Providence he may move there for a while. He hasn't decided yet. You can connect with him via Linkedin or by visiting his Portfolio page.

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