Casa Santa Teresa is a quintessential vacation home by the blue Mediterranean Sea, which rolls and froths just a few meters away along the coast of Ajaccio in France. The echo of the 1950s house that once stood here is reimagined by Amelia Tavella Architectes as a modern 400 square metre bright white building. Proximity to nature, the beach, rocks, and the sea called for a seamless interaction between interior and exterior spaces. “I wanted beauty to flow, to be an invitation to the horizon, to the imagination” recalls the architect. Large pivoting doors were installed to let the views wash in, and lack of partitions let beauty flow without boundary.
The modern home is extracted from the city, moving away from the noise and chaos in favour of silence and natures beauty: “When I build, I don’t defeat. There is no betrayal. I proceed by inclusion. Nature invades my projects. She is neither an obstacle nor a hindrance, she is my host whom I celebrate. I adapt to the trees, to the light, to the relief. It’s my way of balancing a modern gesture, architecture, with the tradition of a cliff, a ravine. There is something ancestral with nature. I am moved by it, often.”
Interior and exterior spaces at the vacation home are balanced to promote a healthy and joyous flow of life. Rattan canopies and shutters sieve the strong sunlight to create areas of shaded comfort.
The home’s architecture is a stepped design so that large balconies on each level can stretch out in the sun’s rays, offering full connection with nature as the homeowners gaze out at the clear dancing ocean.
The outdoor pool is given most pride of place, right at the front of the site by the beach. One could imagine swimming in the ocean whilst still held within the comfort of home. If the majestic sea does call though, stone steps create a pathway down from the pool terrace, landing straight onto the sandy beach.
Rustic furniture surrounds the concrete sided swimming pool. Tropical plants flourish along the borders.
Outdoor chairs and tables make up al fresco eating areas down on the pool patio and up on the first floor balcony.
A bamboo shelter shades the outdoor dining table on the ground floor veranda, providing relief from the midday sun.
The shelter also serves an outdoor bar area.
Palm trees loll around the edges.
Stone pathways lead between outdoor living areas.
Plants and flowers reflect in the cool waters of the swimming pool.
Amelia Tavella explains “I have so much passion for creating, inventing from an already written history.”
“Each time, it’s a gamble: inscribe the building in the original space without shocking anything, moving or mistreating it. It’s an extension, not an amputation.”
The holiday home is embraced by warm skies. Breakfast on the first floor balcony looks like the perfect way to start the day.
Pivoting doors bring the outside world rushing into the first floor living room.
A neutral sofa and wooden lounge chairs keep the living room colour palette peaceful and easy, and complimentary to the wood framed doors that bring wow factor to the room.
Simple furniture and decor allows the breathtaking views of nature’s own beauty to be the ultimate focal point.
A rattan table lamp emits a welcoming glow even when nights are too warm to light a fire on the raised hearth.
The balcony area and the indoor living space work as one connected volume, with footfall moving easily through the wide open doorways.
Vivid sunsets burn an entrancing evening spectacle. “It is the quintessential vacation home, the one that haunts my memory of happy childhood evenings, when the night embraces the day and beauty is a celebration” says Amelia Tavella.
The unique table lamp provides a soft light akin to candlelight in the lounge, whilst pendants burn brighter in the dining nook behind it.
By day, crisp white walls carry natural daylight deep into the room.
Great archways mark room transitions without setting solid boundaries. Secretive alcoves lead the way to the upper rooms.
Cheerfully bright scatter cushions bring life to the dining room, and match with the colourful dining room pendant lights.
The banquette seat is composed of a white concrete L-shaped volume that extends directly out of the walls.
A dedicated home workspace is wedged inside of another archway.
Integrated shelving towers up the wall by the desk and wooden chair.
Wooden sun loungers stretch out on the upstairs balcony, outside of the master bedroom.
Concrete shelves are decorated with Mediterranean art and trinkets.
A sheer canopy drapes the bed.
A wicker chair rests just inside the balcony doors, tucked neatly by the pivoting frame.
Vistas of greenery peep in.
Striped shutters filter intense sunlight.
Steps connect the balcony with the pool patio below.
Rope railings zigzag the sea view.
Ground floor plan, complete with garden borders, swimming pool, extensive patio and outdoor bar area.
First floor plan, with matching outdoor and indoor dining banquettes. We can see from the plan that the interior dining banquette actually forms the concrete hearth for the living room fireplace.
Second floor plan, illustrating the master bedroom with a very generously sized ensuite bathroom and attached private balcony.
Third floor plan, showing a suite in the eaves.
Recommended Reading: Modern Mediterranean Style Interior Design