LOVE at first SIGHT

Chic & Country - - Living - Pho­tos: P Peris/RBA Stylist: M Klam­burg/RBA

In­stead of boy meets girl, this is a story about ar­chi­tect

meets ar­chi­tect and... their first home to­gether.

The art of mix­ing

The dresser, the mirror, the tray, vase and lamp are from an an­tique shop. The chairs (next page) are from Ikea.

Anna and Fran are ar­chi­tects and we have been in­vited to see the house that is the first that they have worked on to­gether. “It’s very much ours!”, they tell us. And, with­out a doubt, they feel it. Al­though now it is cool and bright, it is a com­plete trans­for­ma­tion from what is was be­fore. Anna re­calls “my mother found the house about 5 years ago and we bought it and deter­mined to re­store it. It had in­cip­i­ent beauty with two ter­races and win­dows with shut­ters, but it was derelict and had no power, wa­ter or in­deed in­ter­nal stair­cases. It was to­tal chaos”. For­tu­nately, the two of them had ded­i­ca­tion and great il­lu­sion for the project. As Fran ex­plains, “we de­signed and re­built the loft re­in­forc­ing the en­tire deck­ing and we greatly en­larged it. We added beams and we opened the at­tic win­dows. We re­cov­ered the win­dows that open onto the ter­race as well as the in­te­rior doors from an old house.” Fran is par­tic­u­larly pleased with how the new stair­case and the top floor has been in­te­grated into the ex­ist­ing struc­ture of the house. “It was worth all the ef­fort - the re­sult is that our house feels as though it has al­ways been like this, which I feel is an achieve­ment given what we started with!” he says with a sigh of re­lief.

Anna has turned both ter­races into peace­ful havens, and she has re­ally turned them into ad­di­tional rooms, which the cou­ple use a lot. As well as the all weather so­fas and a lounger, she has placed a cof­fee ta­ble and a side ta­ble in one to give the im­pres­sion of a liv­ing area. In the other, she has trans­formed it into a re­laxed din­ing area. She has clev­erly made use of the ex­ist­ing struc­tures, and has be­gun plant­ing trees and shrubs that will grad­u­ally turn these ar­eas into truly at­mo­spheric ter­races.

They painted the whole house a warm white and they de­cided on a dec­o­ra­tion “that would trans­mit fresh­ness, with lots of light and green out­side.” The style is re­laxed, with mod­ern so­fas but with the con­trast of some an­tique pieces dot­ted around. The high beamed ceil­ings, also painted white, add to the feel­ing of space and peace. The con­trast with the washed wood floor­ing is striking, and the house evokes a feel­ing of tran­quil­ity. “We re­ally wanted the house to be a place where we could un­wind and for it not to be some kind of show house” says Fran.

W

e re­ally wanted the house to be a place where we could un­wind and for it not to be some kind of

show house.

What is their favourite room? Fran speaks for both of them - “We think that it has to be the kitchen. We ini­tially wanted an open kitchen, but we were wor­ried about the fumes and those kitchen smells! So we came up with the so­lu­tion of the hatches that we can open or close, ac­cord­ing to the oc­ca­sion. Well, ac­tu­ally, think­ing about it, we also love the ter­races, and the stair­case ... in fact we just love the whole thing!” The kitchen is a real work­ing kitchen, and the bar stools in front of the hatches al­low the cou­ple to have a more re­laxed meal in­stead of the for­mal meals on the ter­race. The house is func­tional and yet el­e­gant and its ver­sa­til­ity is what the cou­ple re­ally re­spect. Al­though this first project to­gether has been a suc­cess, the cou­ple are not plan­ning an­other restora­tion for a while - “we will con­cen­trate on the day jobs” laughs Anna.

Liv­ing room

The lounger, next to the book­case, is from Af­fari. The book­case, the stairs and the new doors are the work of a lo­cal car­pen­ter.

Up­stairs

The at­tic had no win­dows and so the ar­chi­tects de­cided to cre­ate a sec­ond floor with win­dows open­ing into the at­tic and the new bath­room.

The bed­room

The roof’s tongue and groove in­te­grated drawer units were made by a lo­cal car­pen­ter.

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