DESIGN + BUILD: ITALIAN VILLA RENOVATION – FROM THE CLIENT’S SEAT
Collaboration is at the heart of JLF Architects’ process – with the landscape, the clients, with regional and historical context and materials. Bringing these elements together we cooperate with our design-build partners at Big-D Signature and their team of craftsmen. But recently our passion for collaboration took us (much) farther afield than usual, to a 331-year-old villa in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Montalcino, Tuscany.
At JLF Architects, Design-Build is a philosophy that guarantees quality, communication and precision within one team. All of our projects begin with the client, are led by an architectural vision and implemented by a curated crew of artisans and laborers who are tried and true. One team; one project. It’s something we’ve practiced for four decades.
In the instance of Villa Palazzetta, we put ourselves in the seat of the client as JLF principal Paul Bertelli and Big D-Signature’s founder Jack Livingood teamed up with photographer Ed Riddell to put our philosophy to the test. The trio partnered on the shared dream of restoring the historic stone building into a luxurious modern vacation home. To do it they contracted Marco Pignattai of Studio Pignattai Rabagli Associati, an Italian architecture firm.
“Marco Pignattai’s philosophy and design paradigm were parallel to my own at JLF,” says Bertelli. “It is a mix of antique and contemporary. We work with the same concept of using old materials to create new spaces; philosophically we collaborated and investigated as colleagues.”
The result is a home with all its authentic historic charm, but with improvements that facilitate modern living—a fluid kitchen and dining room design, effortless access to outdoor spaces from the main living room, bedroom suites that feel as luxurious as a 5-star hotel, and all without an audacious expansion of square-footage.
Pignattai collaborated with Bertelli and the construction crew to implement a shared vision, including requests for custom-built furnishings, cabinetry, nightstands, and a dining room table, the finish of reclaimed wood and hand-troweled plaster on the walls, as well as a sophisticated HVAC system.
“It was as if the architect had hired our build group from the U.S. to construct the building,” continues Bertelli. “Because we chose a firm with a design-build approach, he was able to hire wonderful stone masons, wood-workers, plasterers, and builders. As the client, I made less than a dozen visits over the course of 18 months, but I was confident in the process nevertheless.”
Ultimately, investing in a partnership with a firm that practices a design-build philosophy ensured the project took less time, offset the overall cost, and resulted in the highest quality construction while including the personal touches that represent the owners’ dream house retreat.
“In the end, it stunned us to realize how all of the changes we made created the synergy that is rare and not easy to accomplish. The intangibles of the way the sun reflects off the water or the breezes blow through the olive groves and through the windows are wonderful experiential qualities of this place. The way the house relates to the site is not something you can design or make, it’s serendipitous. The building wouldn’t be the same without the place and the place wouldn’t be the same without the building. That was an extraordinary surprise that took a team of people to pull it off,” says Bertelli.
Experiencing the design-build process from the client’s perspective further solidifies JLF Architects dedication to their over 40-year-old philosophy. It’s a collaborative process that has proven to be successful since our firm began.
ABOUT JLF ARCHITECTS: Building timeless structures rooted in integrity and simple elegance, Jackson Hole, Park City, and Bozeman-based JLF Architects applies distinctive solutions and materials to create place-based houses marked by the influences of landscapes from the Rocky Mountains to the Eastern Seaboard. Their award-winning perspective is powered by inspired design and an exacting eye for placement, an ethos that stems from the unity of nature, beauty, balance, and imagination. JLF Architects has established a genuine alliance with Big-D Signature, built over 17 years of working together, to create a streamlined design-build process that benefits clients. Winners of Mountain Living magazine’s 2016 Home of the Year, the JLF Architects and Big-D Signature design-build team unites passionate architects with dedicated builders to enable the collective imagination of visionary artisans working with visionary clients. For more information visit www.JLFArchitects.com.