“They created our villa and they will always be part of it. The effect of their work delights not only us and our guests, but also the local inhabitants for whom Palazzo Brentano was for years an important place in the local community and today it has regained its former splendor in its modern edition”.
MH – Warsaw
What was the client brief?
After spending over a year researching and weeks dealing with various agents, our clients were extremely disillusioned when they first contacted Fervidus White. What they wanted was a large, historic property on Lake Como which would primarily be a family home but also an investment with good rental, or resale, potential. Original features and character were essential as was easy access to the lake and nearby towns.
What is the history of the property?
Luckily one of the oldest villas on Lake Como was potentially for sale, if various sides of the family which owned it could come to an agreement. Working with extreme care and diplomacy we finally managed to negotiate the purchase on behalf of our clients. Records showed the villa dating back to 1570 and records even showed it had been used as a Tavrena. However, abandoned for years, it was in a very sorry state, although the original fireplaces, flooring and stairs were still intact, along with wood-panelled ceilings and a remarkable vaulted cantinas at basement level.
All the architectural, interior and furnishing, as well as garden design was undertaken by Fervidus White, including creating a media and games room in the Villa’s vaulted cantina. We paid particular attention to integrating original features seamlessly throughout. Some magnificent stone fireplaces were restored, several replicated using the originals as templates and we also designed modern kitchens to fit with traditional settings.
What challenges did we need to overcome?
The biggest challenge was redesigning a single villa into three individual homes, each with their own private entrance and outdoor space. At the same time, it was vital to stay true to the property’s heritage while restoring and modernising. And equally important to incorporate original features harmoniously in the new design. We also had to bring the entire property (700m²) in on a tight budget and work closely with the local commune to smooth some contentious planning issues.
What were the project timescales?
From finding the house to moving-in day took a total of 16 months: 12 months to complete the main villa; four months to design, restore and build the annex and outdoor pools, then landscape the grounds.