Renovating a Roman apartment: historic meets modern

Maia Devereux Maia Devereux
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Any renovation plan is always at least partly dependent on three things: the original structure of the building, its history, and the place where the building to be renovated is located. Today, we're taking a look at a house in Rome's famous and historic Trastevere quarter whose renovation proceeded with a view to retaining as much as possible of its historic character, while also creating a modern and bright space.

The 85 square metre apartment, before renovation, had the classic interior structure of typical Italian houses of the seventies and eighties, with a single corridor leading from the entrance and linking all the various rooms, with each room placed in succession, separated by walls dividers and with a single window in each one. In the original structure, from the entrance the bathroom, bedroom, living room and dining room lay off the corridor, in that order, with the dining room directly connected with the kitchen and the balcony. As we will see, the renovation project carried out by the architects Giandomenico Florio, first redefined the interior layout; maintaining the position of the various rooms, but interpreting them in a modern way, with no more main corridor. The renovation, including remodelling and new furniture, cost approximately € 80,000.

The heart of the home

From this view of the kitchen we can immediately see the brightness of the house, thanks to the light-coloured furnishings and coatings used in the renovation. Kitchen and dining room have been opened out into each other, creating a light and airy space, and forging a new bond between the two rooms.  The kitchen and dining space has been transformed into the cornerstone of the entire apartment. 

Open plan

From this perspective, we can see the open space that characterises the entire apartment. The kitchen is very simple, with only three big pieces of furniture, a wooden countertop and the oven hood cleverly hidden in the wall. The extension of the countertop creates a breakfast bar or extra work space that can be used as needed. 

Into the dining room

Moving forward into the dining room the eye is immediately caught be a large and striking piece of art that runs from floor to ceiling. Behind this wall lies the hob, sink and countertop. This room, apart from the wall art, has been kept extremely simple, with a glass table and classic dining chairs. Throughout, the furniture is a clever mix of antique—a nod to the apartment's historic location—and contemporary. Beyond the library wall on the right, lies a small bathroom, that occupies some of the space previously taken up with the long entrance corridor. 

Do away with doors for extra light

Doing away with the dark, windowless entrance corridor has opened up the space to a flood of light. With the windows only on one side of the apartment, the choice was made to leave each room doorless, so that light flows from one room to the next, and also illuminates the entryway. To the right of the sofa we see the bedroom and and on the left lies the entryway.

Curved wall

The entryway is defined by the curved shape of the wall that now surrounds the bedroom. The restructuring has halved the size of this entryway in order to increase the square footage of the bedroom and the attached bathroom.

Small but bright

And finally, the bedroom! Here, despite the small space, a comfortable and bright room emerged after renovation. The toilet facilities lie behind the mirrored glass door while placing the sink in the bedroom itself meant no need for extra space to be dedicated to a large dividing wall.  

Terrace in bloom

Outside, the terrace now blooms with a profusion of flowers; to the right of this image is an outdoor table for al fresco dining. 

Got any tips on remodelling an old apartment while retaining its character? Let us know in the comments!
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