A Renovated Apartment in an 18th-Century Sicilian Building Pays Homage to the Sea
View Photos

A Renovated Apartment in an 18th-Century Sicilian Building Pays Homage to the Sea

Add to
Like
Share
By Michele Koh Morollo
The aqua blues and gray-greens in this renovated Palermo apartment echo the colors of the sea.

LYGA architecture and design studio was founded by Lycia and Gaia Trapani, two Sicilian sisters with a strong preference for Mediterranean aesthetics. The studio often works with historical architecture and restored materials to create stunning, colorful, contemporary homes.

Dried flowers in colorful pots adorn the shelves.

Dried flowers in colorful pots adorn the shelves.

Get the Renovations Newsletter

Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design.

See a sample

LYGA designed all the lamps in brass and iron, and had them custom made in a Sicilian factory. 

LYGA designed all the lamps in brass and iron, and had them custom made in a Sicilian factory. 

This 2,691-square-foot apartment, which the sisters named Casa a Nord-Est (house in the north east), is located within an 18th-century building. The home was previously owned by a seaman who docked his boats at Palermo’s La Cala port, which is located in front of the building. 

Wooden and marble cutting boards by Kaat Collection.

Wooden and marble cutting boards by Kaat Collection.

The apartment is now owned by an Italian entrepreneur couple with two young children. They wanted a home overlooking the sea in the center of Palermo, and they were thrilled when they found this historic property. 

In the kitchen the designers paired ancient Sicilian decorated tiles with a refreshed, modern layout. 

In the kitchen the designers paired ancient Sicilian decorated tiles with a refreshed, modern layout. 

LYGA reconstructed this living space with vaulting that is wider than the existing vaulting and plaster wall frames in a gray-green color.

LYGA reconstructed this living space with vaulting that is wider than the existing vaulting and plaster wall frames in a gray-green color.

The couple purchased the ground floor of the building and part of the second floor. They set aside a section of the ground floor to create  a vacation rental apartment with interiors that were also designed by LYGA. 

The home's oak parquet flooring strikes contrast with traditional Sicilian patterned tiles. 

The home's oak parquet flooring strikes contrast with traditional Sicilian patterned tiles. 

For their own dwelling, the couple asked LYGA to preserve the architectural and decorative features of the existing house while adding contemporary details, an articulate and scenographic staircase, and a large pool in the bedroom that looks out to the sea. 

Shop the Look
Rejuvenation Cleary Indoor/Outdoor Rug
Rejuvenation Cleary Indoor/Outdoor Rug
Made with 100% recycled-polyester yarn, this vibrant and colorful rug makes a beautiful addition to any space.
West Elm Mobile Chandelier – Large
West Elm Mobile Chandelier – Large
With its contemporary shape and adjustable arms, West Elm's Mobile Chandelier adds intrigue to any space. Pair it with clear, oversized bulbs for a modern look in the dining room or above a kitchen island.
Large sections of this wall are painted bright blue and gray-green, but the architects were careful not to allow the bold colors to overwhelm the space. 

Large sections of this wall are painted bright blue and gray-green, but the architects were careful not to allow the bold colors to overwhelm the space. 

Oak parquetry adorns the floors of the living area and bedrooms. 

Oak parquetry adorns the floors of the living area and bedrooms. 

"The house was formerly connected to the sea through an underground passage that was called il passagio delle amanti – passage of lovers. Though this underground passage was later walled up, a small section of it is still attached to the home, and we turned this space into a wine cellar," says Lycia. 

The children's bedroom with bunk beds.

The children's bedroom with bunk beds.

All the lighting is custom made and dimmable.

All the lighting is custom made and dimmable.

LYGA restored all the floors and walls. They used an intense blue-green paint for the low arched threshold in the main living area to create chromatic richness and a romantic mood. 

The bathrooms are finished with cementitious resin and Wet System wallpaper. 

The bathrooms are finished with cementitious resin and Wet System wallpaper. 


This bathroom features tadelakt cement and Wet System Wall & Deco wallpaper. 

This bathroom features tadelakt cement and Wet System Wall & Deco wallpaper. 

"The gray-green used on walls and fixtures creates an effect of great impact, but is at the same time delicate and in tune with the ancient architecture of the house. In the bedrooms we painted the ceilings to create 'hats' of color inspired by the sea. From within, the apartment looks like an inverted horizon that corresponds to the skyline of the sea framed by the balconies," says Gaia.

A contemporary iron and wood staircase leads up to a small loft where the owners can relax and listen to music.  

A contemporary iron and wood staircase leads up to a small loft where the owners can relax and listen to music.  

Project Credits:

Architecture, interior and lighting design: LYGA Studio / @lygastudio

Builder: Gio Group

Structural and civil engineering: Francesco Trapani