Exclusive Film | Casolare Scarani by Studio Andrew Trotter
In this exclusive film, Studio Andrew Trotter demonstrate their unparalleled knowledge of Puglia’s buildings and landscapes by converting a once-abandoned villa into an idyllic holiday home.
From the outset, Casolare Scarani embodies Studio Andrew Trotter’s signature style. In the past decade, the Barcelona-based, multi-disciplinary studio have unveiled an impressive number of projects in the Puglia region. So when founder Andrew Trotter first stumbled across the villa on one of his scouting trips, he was instantly sold on its size and charm and bookmarked it for a future project. “The house was beautiful and old, with great character, and not too big. We knew we’d found a gem; we just needed the right client,” he says. Not long after, he was approached by an Australian couple looking for a summer house in the Italian countryside – and the shoe fit right away.
Studio Andrew Trotter explore warm materiality in the villa’s kitchen, with rusty orange Zellige tiles, copper tapware and stone countertops.
“Puglia has such a charm because, even with all the tourism, the towns still feel like they did 20–30 years ago,” Andrew says. “They call it ‘the green house of Italy’ – rich in food and people.”
Puglia’s countryside is dotted with two types of residential buildings: lamias and masserias. Traditionally, the smaller of the two, lamias, were stone sheds where local landowners could store their equipment, while the larger of the two, masserias, were where the affluent landowners lived. Casolare Scarani is a blend of the two; it possesses the style of a masseria while being the size of a lamia, which is quite unusual for the region, making it all the more desirable.
Before it was abandoned in the 60s, the building operated as a school for girls, leaving quite a mark on the local community. For the past six decades, it has been left vacant, eagerly awaiting its next chapter.
While the villa’s dormant period meant it was in need of some serious making over, its original charm was still easily detectable – much to both the owners’ and Studio Andrew Trotter’s delight. “Once we began to strip back the paint, we realised how well it was made, and how beautiful the old stone was,” Andrew says.
The old stable has been converted into the dining room, with the kitchen to the side.
“It’s very easy to go too modern with a renovation, so we tried our best not to destroy the house’s history,” Andrew says. “We spent an entire day with the owners scraping off years of flaky paint, revealing the stone underneath,” Andrew recalls. A local artisan who makes his own lime plaster was enlisted to paint the internal walls and ceilings, while the studio sourced local stone that matched the old floors perfectly.
The original floor plan needed to be reconfigured, and rooms needed to be added to accommodate the new owners. Spaces like the donkey house and stable, once serving a purpose, were obsolete and so were turned into the laundry and dining space, respectively.
By peeling back only what was necessary, Studio Andrew Trotter have left the owners with an authentic piece of Puglia’s past – one that will serve them well into the future. “This house has been here for over 200 years and I hope that it will remain for another 200, if not many more years,” Andrew says.