Stepping into—digitally or, we imagine, physically—the country home of Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, the duo behind Milan-based architect and design firm Palomba Serafini Associati, is like entering into a dream sequence of a Federico Fellini film. Its whitewashed stone walls, neutral color scheme, and grotto-like atmosphere both soothe and excite, inspiring romance in much the same way that the Italian director does with his fantastical films.
Which is why it’s hard to believe that the building, located near Lecce, Puglia, was once a soot-blackened oil mill, built in the 17th century. As soon as the couple saw the house, which at that point had been abandoned for 30 years, their imaginations were sparked, and they immediately set about to remodel it.
The process ended up being minimal, as they wanted to keep the integrity of the building more or less in tact. One of the biggest tasks, however, was opening up the fortress-like structure to more light, which they accomplished by adding skylights and knocking down the entire back end of the building. Despite that challenge, the project was completed in just five months.
Take a look around the gorgeous residence, and you’ll be itching to book a getaway to the southern coast of Italy as soon as possible.