“What a stunning property – beautifully designed. The finish is luxurious, everything has been thought of to ensure a very special stay”.
What was the client brief?
We were tasked with finding the right property for clients who wanted a tranquil holiday home in Italy to provide them with a rental income. A traditional property was preferred and the location had to be peaceful with outstanding views but also close to historic towns, outdoor activities and an international airport to maximise its appeal as a holiday rental and create a great pension nest egg.
What is the history of the property?
The perfect property was almost 1000 years old, had been part of an historic convent and, perhaps most important of all, had open views over Lake Como. It was also minutes from a charming lakeside town and within walking distance of the beautiful Greenway del Lago di Como. And, although uninhabitable, with rotten floors, collapsed roofs and earth pouring in all over the place, it still had the original solid wood exterior doors and rare features like marble drainage pipes – later repurposed as a water spout in the property’s outdoor plunge pool.
Our brief was to create a high-value holiday rental and yet still retain the character of the property. To that end we restored original beams and used reclaimed building materials, traditional wooden doors and antique woodwork throughout the interior. We also utilised a beautiful vaulted ceiling to create a unique bathroom, and the whole property is decorated with a mix of organic paint colours, plasterwork and exposed, natural stone.
What challenges did we need to overcome?
This was a particularly labour-intensive project as the property has no vehicle access so everything from construction materials to furniture had to be carried in on foot. Another major challenge was getting the planning permission to convert an historic ecclesiastical property into a private home and extend the living area. The entire layout then had to be redesigned to maximise space and create a cohesive flow through the interior, as well as making the most of views and ensuring complete privacy. And as the property had no services we also had to connect to utilities and install a modern sewage system.
What were the project timescales?
This entire project took a total of two years to complete. Which might seem like a long time for a relatively small property, however, it included a wait of three months for complex planning permission and another six month wait for utilities. So in total, the actual restoration and reconstruction from start to finish actually only took 15 months.