The look-at-me star of this house is the staircase, a striking black metal structure that rises statuesque through the house to give the interior real architectural flair as well as making the most of the expansive size of the space.
It was the brainchild of architects Archi+ who designed and oversaw the build of this luxurious new home. ‘We wanted the staircase to look solid but also be as airy and open as possible to create shadows and allow light to flow through it,’ says Adrian Mangion, founding partner at the firm.
It was, however, a challenge to make and to install. Made of steel and weighing four-and-a-half tonnes, it was constructed in Italy and put in place in sections, each one hanging like a pendulum from the end of a pulley before being carefully lowered into place. It was precision work – between the treads is open space, and each section had to exactly fit, to the millimetre, the support structure that was fixed to the wall.
However, while the staircase was possibly the most nerve-wracking part of the build, it wasn’t the only issue. The house is ultra-modern but the neighbouring properties are many hundreds of years old and this presented its own planning and design challenges. ‘We wanted a modern house of a good design and with a lot of light,’ explains the homeowner. ‘But at the same time we didn’t want a house that didn’t fit with its historic surroundings.’
And so the decision was taken to retain the old rubble walls which surround the property. ‘In fact, we took advantage of the walls,’ says Adrian. ‘The entrance to the property is through them and there are not many properties where this is the case.’
The travertine facade on part of the house also reflects the colours and shapes of the rubbles walls, linking the two.
The plot of land is long and narrow; making the most of the dimensions, the two-storey house is L-shaped, wrapping around a large swimming pool on the ground floor. All the main rooms of the house have a view – either of the sea, garden or pool – for a feeling of openness.
The open-plan living area overlooks the pool, the travertine flooring both inside and out in a similar pale shade to connect the two spaces, which also brings the relaxing mood of the water to the interior.
The living room area is further enhanced by the elliptical wood-burning stove that hangs suspended from the ceiling, the chimney extending up through the space, like a piece of sculpture. ‘We’re very proud of the fireplace,’ says the homeowner. ‘We knew it would look good but before we used it we weren’t sure how practical it would be – but it heats the room really well, and it’s really easy to use too.’
The family moved in last October and after a two-year build are finally calling it home. ‘We wanted a modern house, but one that was comfortable, practical and cosy as well as visually stylish.’ And that they certainly have.