13.7.2018

Villa Guillem

The property, covering an area of about 27,000 square meters, is characterized by great slopes and contours carved out by the forces of nature and its boundaries are marked by ditches and woods.

Amidst the green hills of northern Lazio stand two farmhouses dating from the first half of the 20th century that, after decades of neglect, have been given a new lease of life thanks to a painstaking and targeted project of renovation, based on making the most of the natural materials and the existing architectural spaces and
on the maximum respect for principles of energy conservation and environmental sustainability. The property, covering an area of about 27,000 square meters, is characterized by great slopes and contours carved out by the forces of nature and its boundaries are marked by ditches and woods. On it are located two buildings, separated by a distance of about a hundred meters and by a steep natural gradient of around 30 meters that extends from north to south and ensures their correct exposure.

In line with their historic and functional character, both buildings consist of a central two-story core that was the original residence proper and a series of lower structures built at different times out of local gray stone, tuff or mixed stone and brick masonry and never plastered that, added on to the main block, were used as annexes such as sheds for livestock, storehouses for tools and cellars for the produce from working the fields.

The main farmhouse (the villa)

The main farmhouse, located farthest to the south, constitutes the residence proper. It has been plastered in its entirety and has a central block that dominates the annexes on the western side. The day zone, master bedroom, bathrooms and other facilities are on the ground floor, while the guest rooms are situated on the upper floor.

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The internal arrangement of the farmhouse turns around the distinctive two-storyhigh space that extends from the entrance hall, where the stairs leading to the upper floor are located, to the living room with its wooden saddleback roof, chestnut beams and joists and terracotta tiles. This space is characterized by the presence of a large number of windows, facing south, east and west, and is filled with natural light that enters the room throughout the day, providing an illumination that is constantly changing and casting patterns of shade on all sides of the space from the series of windows.

The materials utilized are natural and salvaged: the floor is of terracotta tiles laid on mortar without glue, with listels used in the common spaces and tiles of traditional shape in the bedrooms and bathrooms. All the paintwork is in neutral tones that, in combination with the open wooden beams and tiled ceiling, recall the colors of the ground and the rocks in the surrounding area. Only in the kitchen, located in one of the annexes to the main block, have the beams and tiles been painted a pale color to bestow a greater sense of height on the space.

The stairs and the doors of the guest bedrooms have been made out of an iron framework and wood salvaged from the old beams that formed the roof of the farmhouses, removed when the renovation commenced and subsequently reworked. From the staircase a gangway made of metal grating leads to the prospect onto the living room, offering an interesting and unusual viewpoint.

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The farmhouse devoted to art workshops

The farmhouse to the north is devoted to the art workshops of the clients and has a small apartment for the caretaker on the upper floor. For this farmhouse it was decided to respect the original appearance of the building and leave the central block on two levels plastered and the lower annexes in stone: an astute architectural device to lighten the impact of its volume.

Characterized by a terracotta floor and ceilings clad in plasterboard, the farmhouse is distinguished by the visible stonework of the walls in the entrance rooms and workshops. Both these workspaces have large windows that allow the extraordinary beauty of the surroundings to be enjoyed in full.

The external space

The designers have also paid attention to the external spaces of the houses, which have been laid out with great respect for the terrain and maintaining the natural features of the landscape. New olive trees have now been planted on the grounds of the property in addition to the ones that were already present. Two existing annexes, renovated while preserving the stonework, are used for the storage of plants and tools.

Solar panels have been installed in a portion of the grounds that is fairly wellconcealed but has a good exposure to the sun, permitting the residential complex to produce sufficient electricity to power the heat pumps of the system of
radiant heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer for both of the
farmhouses.

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