Like a moored boat, this incredible waterfront villa is immersed in the seascape. With its series of terraces that jut out over the water, the villa celebrates the elements, as well as its prime position facing one of the most extraordinary Sicilian landscapes – the village of Cefalù, planted on a hill, plunging into the sea.
The Mediterranean architecture, dating back to the 1960s, was used as inspiration as Milanese architect Vivîana Haddad went about creating her reinterpretation. “The house was completely ordinary but its location, on a rock by the sea, was magnificent,” says Haddad. “I achieved a real facelift.” She certainly did.
As in other projects with Haddad at the helm, contemporary elements blend with more traditional ones, united by a particular chromatic sensitivity. This is a holiday home that speaks to the surrounding nature, but which maintains a certain glamour thanks to the 1950s furnishings. Haddad began outside, transforming the narrow Moorish arches of the terrace into wide arches, revealing more of the breathtaking views.
The same concern for openness and simplicity applied inside, where she stylishly remodelled the space, getting rid of all the walls to make way for a huge dining room.
She also designed a sculptural Corten steel staircase, laid on a series of concrete platforms decorated with vintage ceramics. “I wanted to give a soul to this house, infusing it with the ‘dolce vita’ spirit that reigned on the Sicilian coast during the ’60s,” explains Haddad, who has since moved to live in Sicily herself, having felt the irresistible pull of the island.
Haddad continued that same theme with the old cement tiles adorning the floors of several rooms, the furniture sourced from the Sicilian flea markets – chairs by Carlo De Carli and the vintage buffer which, in days gone by, adorned the chic houses of the island.
She added: “I was also inspired by the Italian designer Gio Ponti, notably his mythic Hotel Parco dei Principi, where he played a lot with geometric shapes.” In fact, in this house, shapes can be found in the smallest details. Such as in the ‘diamond’ room, for which Haddad found two old stained-glass windows now acting as cupboard doors, the latter harmonising with the cushions, the sconce, and even the doorknob.
Meanwhile, on the terrace, Haddad created a guardrail with triangular shapes. And then there are those arches – windows to the ocean and beyond.
Photography by Helenio Barbetta, styling by Chiara Dal Canto