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In & Out

Tucked into a corner of the Veneto countryside, where rustic charm is still intact, a contemporary design cultivates the ongoing conversation with nature.

The Meolo River runs through the countryside outside Treviso. The land around its banks has long been home to farmhouses and ranches. Like the one inherited by Maurizio Guizzo, native to the area but with a life far from here, in Geneva. Time for a change. «Twenty-five years ago, I started a graphic design business but I had always told myself: at some point, I will let this go and do something new», he recalls today. Soon, he and his wife, Paola Gherardelli, took on the restoration of this piece of land bordered, like a small island, by water on all sides. 
Built in the 1970s, the house is in bad shape. The couple takes a radical approach: tear it down (not a listed structure) and rebuild. They involve a friend in the project, architect Silvio Stefani, owner of Metamorphosi104, who not only works in the area but is also a neighbor. «We had been interested in his work for some time, we like his approach - the warmth of his architecture, intelligent use of materials and natural colors». It took three years to complete the project. With Guizzo still in Geneva, his wife moved to the Veneto to look after and guide the creative process, in complete harmony with the architect. The key consideration was respect for the landscape - for this countryside that had remained untouched. The construction stayed true to the architectural traditions of the place: «We wanted to create a building that called to mind – in its size and proportions – an old Veneto country house. And, indeed, everyone who comes through the area thinks that is what it is», remarks Guizzo.
This spirit of authenticity is also what led Flexform to choose this house as the setting for some pieces from its furniture collection (which the homeowners loved). 
The home is made up of two rectangular structures arranged to form an L. The main, two-story building is the heart of the home. The single-story wing hosts the laundry room, guest accommodations, etc. and a garage with storage space. Reclaimed roof tiles were used on the pitched roof and, as in buildings of the period, there are no gutters; lime hemp plaster forms the “skin” of the home («we went with a natural material, costly, but we liked it», explain the homeowners). One 40-cm-thick coat manages moisture, heat and cold. All of the ceilings and some walls are made of reclaimed wood from the site; the walls of the kitchen and bathrooms are in concrete and were poured on site. 
The heart of the house is the double-height living area, where floor-to-ceiling windows – with painted metal frames to ensure the utmost in transparency – and pivot doors allow a seamless flow between indoors and outdoors. In summertime, life is lived outside and, when the days get colder, everything moves indoors around the dining table or in front of the fireplace, which is set into a wall clad in fire-blackened wood. By night, a metamorphosis takes place and the atmosphere becomes more intimate. From outside, it looks like a kind of magic lantern. The size of the four en-suite bedrooms is cozier but the connection with the surrounding landscape remains a core consideration. The homeowners haven’t made specific plans for their new life. They’re following their hearts: to host events, organize a season of jazz concerts. A world where culture and rural life go hand in hand: «Constantly poking around, our extremely inquisitive hens managed to “photo bomb” the photo shoot», reminisces Paola Gherardelli. «They’re unruly and noisy. But they are part of our new life», she confesses. Back to nature. With a smile.