Built for a mother and her daughter, this dwelling features local materials and craftsmanship.
High in the Orobie Alps of Northern Italy, nearly a mile above sea level, sat a home in ruins. It was perched on the edge of a mountain with thick woods at its back, but it faced a clear panorama of a valley that swept up to distant peaks. A mother, who works as a French teacher, thought that the ruins could be rebuilt for her and her five-year-old daughter, as long as the surroundings weren’t shut out by ambitious construction. Architect Alfredo Vanotti took up the challenge and meticulously studied the land to inform his sketches. Finally, after months of noting the movement of the sun and the materials in the area—and the ways to blend them with modern conveniences—Vanotti produced a draft that became the new property. He used what he could from the ruins, gathered resources from the woods, and called upon a local craftsman to help build necessities from scratch. In the end, the finished house is a rebirth of the past: it confidently displays traditional sensibilities while updating the day-to-day details.
Architect Alfredo Vanotti sourced the home's stone exterior from the woods behind the property. “I believe that mountain architecture is an emblematic example of sustainable architecture,” he says.
Reinforced concrete stands behind the stone facade to provide insulation. Vanotti wanted to focus this project on the simple materials of concrete, natural larch, iron, and wood.
“The inside is, for the most part, concentrated on the local craftsmanship, because I believe it is very important,” Vanotti says. “It represents our history.” Artisan Vanotti Mauro built many parts of the building, including its most prominent feature: the larch wood accents. A custom fireplace warms the living room.
The ground floor is comprised of a living room, kitchen, and bathroom that are all detailed with larch wood. In the kitchen, a retro Bompani refrigerator and freezer blend in with the minimal aesthetic.
A pair of matching Idea lights by Vesoi over a dining room table and chairs, both locally-made.
The stairs are made of iron, which was coated with white paint from San Marco.
As per the owner's request, the second floor’s open landing receives ample sunlight. The space is used as a study and the home's two bedrooms are situated to the right, their doors just outside the frame.
Views of the Orobie Alps can be seen from the home’s windows, which also feature larch frames. A lampadina light by Flos sits on the nightstand.
The positioning of the home’s roof allowed for a double-height, north-facing wall with four matching windows and an accompanying skylight. “The house refers to rural houses: a sloping roof, completely coated by stone and with no eaves,” Vanotti says.