Today, like yesterday
NOT FAR FROM NOTO, IN SICILY, A FARMHOUSE FROM THE 1800S, TRANSFORMED INTO AN EVOCATIVE HOME.
It all began 8 years ago. A farm estate between Noto and Palazzolo Acreide, in Sicily. A sequence of courtyards, leading to the manor house surrounded by an overgrown garden. «We bought it from a writer in September 2009», says Elena Lops, an entrepreneur in the fields of fashion, design and now hospitality. «My husband is Sicilian, we have three children and three grandchildren, and we have lived in many parts of Italy. We wanted a place for gatherings of family and friends. What could be better than this complex on a green slope in the Sicilian countryside? But it required lots of modifications». At Dimora delle Balze everything has been remade to make sure nothing would change. After the project by Elena Lops one still senses the original 19th-century atmosphere, the same slow pace, aromas, colors, windswept silence. «The place is magical, so the restoration tried not to disturb its architectural substance». Damaged doors and casements were replaced using local materials, including recycled items. The ceilings were repaired and painted in their original color. «We also found frescoes, which have been restored. The floors are in handmade tile from Morocco, and we added fireplaces based on the model of the one in the kitchen, in a contemporary interpretation. We had to add the chimneys, because when the house was built they were not utilized in this region. The lighting is also new. Luca Turrini, who has worked for Artemide and Flos, did a great, very discreet job». The operation also relied on the help of the designer Draga Obradovic and the architect Stefano Guidotti. The old stables have become rooms and suites. Each of the 12 guestrooms has been named for a Sicilian writer. All the furnishings, vintage or design, every object and its placement, are the result of the deliberations of Elena, Draga and Stefano, a theater of everyday family life that can also be used to organize events, weddings, exhibitions. Or to welcome friends and their friends. Dimora delle Balze is an earthly paradise, delicately nestled in this fascinating area of Sicily. With a spectacular swimming pool and a garden that contains the remains of ancient columns, on a series of green terraces like outdoor salons. After years of work, everything is in place.