The serene charm of Casa Soleto has been lovingly revived by Studio Andrew Trotter. It is the first personal project by creative duo Andrew Trotter and Marcelo Martínez. The timeless renovation of this classic palazzo has been transformed into a sanctuary where you can relax and have a most authentic experience.
Soleto is a special place. The small town is located in the heart of the Salento region in Puglia, Italy. Like a set from an old movie, it feels like time has stood still here. Where children still play in the streets, old men discuss nonsense with each other and women are constantly in their kitchens. Not surprisingly, the area is known for its great food, coffee and patisserie. Very unique due to its positioning in the middle of two seas, on the one hand the waters of Gallipoli and on the other, what they call the Maldives of Italy, where dramatic cliffs of the Adriatic Sea house. We take you to Casa Soleto, where celebrated designers kept this home's old-world flavour alive by making very thoughtful choices. The duo Andrew Trotter and Marcelo Martinez chose to carefully preserve the historic features while also renovating a few things. ‘Restoring an old house takes time, dedication and a range of skills that in this way allow for an authentic experience befitting life in the twenty-first century,’ we hear. Together with some local artisans, they managed to bring back to life one of the city's most historic houses.The charming four-bedroom house features high vaulted ceilings and is full of furniture, books, clothes and old photos of the family. Not lived in for more than 20 years, but to the designers it felt like it just needed a little love and then they could move right in. But they were wrong about that. Because of the pandemic, it took them more than seven months to buy the house and another five months to get to work. Once they started cleaning up the house, they realised that there were more problems than imagined. For instance, the ceiling of one of the bedrooms and the bathroom needed to be replaced and some of the walls were also carrying moisture, which is somewhere not abnormal with some parts that are as old as more than 400 years.
Recalling times of gentle domesticity
Through a romantic gate, you enter the house through a courtyard, which lends itself as the perfect place to have breakfast and dinner as there is no direct sun. From that courtyard, you find the living room and a fully equipped kitchen with everything you need to prepare a delicious meal. Behind the kitchen you discover what was once the old chapel, so the family didn't have to leave the house to pray, a cosy space, with a 4-metre bench. Which can also be changed into two single beds for extra guests. This room has its own toilet and outdoor shower. Connected to the living room, you discover the majestic dining room with powder room, the perfect place to relax and read a book. Outside, there is a garden with a spacious pool, ideal for soaking up the sun or cooling off during hot days. This more modern outdoor living space blends perfectly with the historic structure. One floor up, you will find a green room on the right side of the stairs, leading you to the bedroom overlooking the street and the church, with its own ensuite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe. On the other side is a master bedroom with a terrace overlooking the garden, and a large bathroom with an old cast-iron bathtub. To the left of the stairs, you enter another large bedroom, with its own small living room with a sofa that doubles as a single bed, perfect for a child. Behind this is a large tiled bathroom. The old-world flavour of this house has been kept alive by restoring the original floors, keeping the simple home-style kitchen and carefully polishing the 300-year-old wooden interior doors. A monastic quality invades the gracious abode with rooms that focus on soft simplicity rather than rigid minimalism. Arched doorways and majestic vaulted volumes have been redesigned with traditional lime plasters in warm tones. Ornate wall niches and decorative arcades contain illuminated works created especially for the house by artist friends of the designer duo, including unique ground paintings of old dirt found under the floorboards. Want to read more about this project of Studio Andrew Trotter? You can read about it in the October 2023 edition of Imagicasa Magazine.
Photography by Salva López
Text by Elke Aerts