A 1930’s Italian Villa Gets a Makeover for Modern Living – Cortina Residence

The region of Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy is renowned for its mountains, and it’s where this 1930s renovation took place. The building was originally a villa, but over the years it was divided up into a series of spacious apartments.


This most recent renovation, which took place in 2017, saw the interior get a new lick of paint and then some. The renovation was handled by Studio Rinaldi.



The project, titled Cortina Residence, covers an area of 1,130-square-feet (105-square-meters) – generous for an apartment. The unit occupies the top floor of the listed villa. The renovation attempted to mix conservation of the old with the introduction of the new.



From the architects: “Focusing the attention on the preservation of the traditional materials and the strong connection with the surrounding natural landscape, the project aims to use the design furniture as a tool to enhance the new space of the apartment.”


Some partition walls were removed during the process – a corridor was removed to make way for a larger, brighter living area. Studio Rinaldi sought to find a balanced layout in the plan, creating space for three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a living room, kitchen and dining area.


Frameless sliding doors have been incorporated into the walls, helping to divide or open the rooms to one another as necessary. Furniture items, like the custom-built seating area, double up as storage, with discrete doors and pull outs. Steps were also taken to ensure the longevity of existing historical elements, like the wooden beams in the ceiling, which have been treated.


From the architect: “Mixing traditional materials and contemporary furniture, Cortina Residence expresses an accurate interior design approach focusing high attention on both the renovation of the interior spaces and the specific design details.”


For more homes check out Tess and JJ’s House, an example of modern living from South Yarra. Or, The Hut, a Vietnamese home that makes use of light and greenery to create an urban haven. See all small houses.

Photos © Thomas Pagani

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

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