Houzz Tour: A 1913 Flat with Beautiful Period Features is Revived
See how an architect transformed a family apartment, balancing modern details with references to the past
Who lives here? Architect Mariapaola Mauri with her husband and daughter
Location Milan, Italy
Property An apartment built in 1913 in the Liberty style (an Italian version of Art Nouveau)
Size Two bedrooms and two bathrooms; 120 sq m
Renovation year 2019
Architect Mariapaola Mauri of A di Architettura
Cost €50,000 (around £44,020), including €5,600 (around £4,930) for new windows and €3,000 (around £2,640) to restore the internal doors (for example, the kitchen door was saved and transformed into an internal sliding door)
When architect Mariapaola Mauri outgrew her home and needed a bigger place with a second bedroom, her parents offered move to a smaller house and leave their apartment to her.
She refreshed the interior, but with great respect. “I gave the apartment a facelift to make it more in line with my taste and style,” she says. “I didn’t change the layout of the rooms, but I had to redo the bathrooms, because they were more than 20 years old, and I also wanted to make them more functional.”
“I didn’t change the doors; I kept the originals and just refreshed them,” Mariapaola says. “I only replaced the door to the utility room. As no light comes through there anyway, I preferred one without glass.”
The contrast strip that runs around the edge of the floor in the entrance dates back to the 1980s. “At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep it, but I just couldn’t think of an alternative I was happy with,” she says. “After considering various options, I decided to have it renewed with a matt finish. We cleaned all the grout lines, which were almost all black. I really like the result.”
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“I decided to polish the terrazzo floor tiles,” she adds. “These were laid unpolished more than 20 years ago, and I didn’t want to replace them.”
Table and chairs, second-hand.
The colour of the walls matches the colour of the cabinets under the window.
The alcove to the left was already there, while the white and walnut TV cabinet on wheels was designed by Mariapaola 20 years ago. Above the small yellow sofa is a 1970s lamp – the iconic Pistillo designed by Studio Tetrarch for Valenti Luce in 1969, later reissued as the SP Light.
All the windows on the street side were replaced. As the architect designed them herself, the shutters also had to be adapted. “With the joiner, we decided on the proportions, the moulding along the edges, the thickness, the width of the central panel, the glazing beads, hinges, and handles,” she says.
Blue upholstery fabric, Romo. Orbital coffee table by Cecilia Suarez and Julian Pastorino, Atipico.
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The prints shown on the left-hand side are by graphic illustrator Alessandro Gottargo, aka Shout. Of the radiator beneath the prints, Mariapaola says, “I chose to paint this black to make it stand out.”
“In general, I thought a lot about the colours and details in this apartment,” she continues. “I also searched for new light switches that were still in keeping with the overarching style of the house. Some still had the screws, which were typical of the 1960s, and so finding them wasn’t easy. I found some on eBay, notably the ones with four switches, and for the remainder I chose a basic range that had a vintage feel.”
Wallpaper, Cole & Son.
“The walnut bed was painted to reinforce the light-pink tone that was in the kitchen and that dominates so many elements of the apartment,” she says.
Wallpaper, Borås Tapeter.
Wallpaper, Pip Studio.
Tired of cleaning a glass shower box, she instead opted for a curtain.
“The tiles nod to the style of Piero Portaluppi, and their layout was inspired by the shop Olivetti in Venice,” she says. “Just like when I’m on a [renovation] site, I wanted to cover the walls in plasterboard from where the tiles finish, all the way up to the ceiling, to avoid that annoying step they usually create. It doesn’t look nice, and dust gathers there easily.”
Firenze hexagonal floor tiles, FAP Ceramiche. Set Gem wall tiles, Ceramica Sant’Agostino. Green 60 basins, Catalano. Milo taps, Cea Design. Portobello vanity unit, Maisons du Monde.
The bathroom is divided in the middle by a sliding door (open in this image). On the left is a metal cabinet that’s used to store cleaning products.
Which features do you like in this home renovation? Share your thoughts in the Comments.