Italianate House, from the 90’s office to a family residence

casa-italianate-house-more-with-less-06The concept of the Italianate house, work of the Rentato D’ettorre Architects studio, was to translate an existing equipment from an office of the 1990s into a contemporary residence while at the same time honoring the historic charm of the building and being offered to the owners a comfortable home with bold design modifications.
This project presents a series of additions and alterations of the existing where 4 main components are framed: the Italianate terrace house for the family, the stables that become the guest rooms (and later for the grandparents), the new concrete garage with landscaped terrace along with the gardens and pool located in a conservation area of Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia.

The design of the Italianate house generates a sense of wonder both inside and outside, encouraging the young growing family to explore and enjoy the different spaces with multiple sensory experiences and emotions.

casa-italianate-house-more-with-less-26They are spaces of silence and contemplation, through a relaxing and repressed aesthetic that will serve the young family well into the 21st century.

The challenge of the Italianate house was to convert the 1860 building and the 90’s office, into a contemporary family house preserving the sense and feel of the place, its history and the cultural value of the original architecture.

The key objective of the underlying design of the project was to understand the meaning and feel of the place, its history and the cultural value of the original architecture.

casa-italianate-house-more-with-less-07 The project carefully considers and reinterprets in a contemporary language, the essential and historical character of the site to celebrate, maintain and revive its history.


casa-italianate-house-more-with-less-11The Italianate house maintains the new simple design elements, so that they avoid complications, which generates pure interior spaces.


casa-italianate-house-more-with-less-14The introduction of the impressive double-height brick vault roof designed for the rear wing restructured seemed an appropriate element for the Italian style of the house.

casa-italianate-house-more-with-less-21 This brings to modern design such elements of historical greatness that gave rise to the great architecture of the first civilizations, granting the notion “the arch never sleeps”.


It is a dialogue between the structure and the rich context of the site, characterized by its rustic charm, with the new work, which has a relationship between the warmth of the old materials and the simplicity of the modern.


And, finally, the result of the conversion presents the benefits of the measures taken to preserve and reinterpret history while accommodating modern life without sacrificing any of the two objectives.



Photography: Simone Bossi