Sense and sensibility
An initial description of this renovation project – a stone farmhouse in the Tuscan hills – conjures up a mental vision of pastoral scenes and magnificent landscapes. It is an image that couldn’t be closer to the truth.
The setting is the hills of the Val d’Elsa between Volterra and San Gimignano, along the ancient Via Francigena pilgrim route running from France to Rome. “It is the ideal place for contemplation and silence, far removed from chaos,” explained Daniela Berlingozzi, the Siena-based architect tasked with the renovation project. “This description applies equally to the charming farmhouse set in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, surrounded by history and nature as well as artefacts from ancient Etruscan civilisation.”
Returning to the remodelling project, the house itself is named after the picturesque tenth-century Romanesque church Pieve dei Santi Ippolito e Cassiano. A tree-lined driveway leads to the main residence and the apartments set aside for tourist accommodation. The restoration project displays a profound respect for tradition, deploying natural elements and ancient techniques such as earthenware and stone walls whitewashed with lime plaster in conjunction with contemporary materials. In converting the former manor stables, the original large travertine stone pavers have been reused to build the large fireplace and to emphasise the differences in height in the larger apartment. For this purpose, the original pavers have been coordinated with a porcelain floor tile produced in a variety of dusty colours reminiscent of brick (Coem BrickLane collection, Bricklane brick-effect tile, Intonaco colour). The same atmosphere but with different materials is reprised in the kitchen, where Cementine tiles (Cementine20 line from Fioranese) with geometric and decorative designs are used to frame an earthenware countertop.
As for the exteriors, the infinity pool set in the large olive grove is clad with travertine effect porcelain tiles and the pool surround with wood-effect tiles (pool: Travertino Scanalato Silver; pool surround: Habita, also from Coem). The solarium paving consists of natural coloured tiles (Habita Rovere), which blend in perfectly with the surrounding environment.
As a whole, the remodelling project has sought to enhance the historical and natural characteristics of the building and the surrounding landscape while maintaining the comfort and performance of modern architectural materials. The project creates a harmonious blend of colours and tones spanning traditional and contemporary: in short, sense and sensibility.
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0.15%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GLA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): PEI4
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 43.8 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant