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Renovation with a surprise

A renovation project reveals a series of unexpected elements, including a fireplace

“For me, each renovation project is a captivating adventure”, comments architect Serena Cafulli, specialised in the renovation of buildings with a low environmental impact. “Renovating homes that have fallen into disuse enables stories of past lives to be re-discovered, relating to architectural elements that have remained hidden for centuries. My goal is to increase their value by re-interpreting them with a modern take”.

In this project in the province of Como, a portion of a home partially occupying a courtyard dating back to 1400 was full of surprises.

First of all, there was the magnificent flue, still in perfect working order and hidden from sight in the load-bearing wall. 

During the works, we discovered evidence of an old hood and an open firebox”, explains the architect. “We were therefore able to identify the exact position of the flue and restore it in its entirety. - Serena Cafulli, Architect

It turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to install a large two-sided MCZ fireplace, designed as a convivial and decorative element, yet still an effective heating instrument to support the underfloor system. 

Camino bifacciale MCZ

A vivid red shade was chosen for the plasterboard cladding, which perfectly matched the charcoal grey of the load-bearing wall, enhanced from a materialistic point of view by exposed rustic plaster. The red, echoed in various different elements of the décor, from the armchair to decorative objects, adds a lively touch that contrasts with the white of the other walls and jambs as well as with the natural tones of the original exposed wood and stones, salvaged from the wall behind the sofa, which features an unusual oblique line.

From one side the fireplace faces the living zone, a large living room that can be accessed directly from the entrance, whilst from the other, it faces the kitchen-dining room, featuring shades of white, red and charcoal grey.

Another element to be enhanced was discovered in the kitchen: a steel tie-rod that emerged following the demolition of the wall in the old corridor. Instead of removing it, the tie-rod became the reference point around which the kitchen furniture was designed and fitted.

The tuff bricks, discovered in the hallway and meticulously restored by removing the old plaster, represent a mystery that is yet to be solved.

“Tuff is a stone of volcanic origin, it’s not a material that we typically find in northern Italy, explains the architect. “Its presence here is rather surprising and it will definitely be interesting to do some more research”.

Architect Serena Cafulli’s approach, which focuses on the 360 degree re-cycling of objects and materials, can be seen in other small yet significant furnishing details. From the steel bins restored and transformed into log holders to the coffee table fashioned from a pallet, the intention is always to re-invent the materials and objects. In line with this philosophy, the upstairs has been entirely furnished with made-to-measure furniture with OSB panels.

OSB, a compressed chipboard used as a packaging material, can be used to decorate the interior in an original manner. I like it because it’s both economic and eco-sustainable, and warms up the ambient owing to its natural colours. - Serena Cafulli, Architect

Camino bifacciale MCZ

Camino bifacciale MCZ

Camino bifacciale MCZ

Camino bifacciale MCZ

Camino bifacciale MCZ

Camino bifacciale MCZ

Camino bifacciale MCZ

Camino bifacciale MCZ

  1. Entrance
  2. Living room
  3. Portals
  4. Two-sides fireplace
  5. Kitchen
  6. Kitchen island
  7. Tie-rod
  8. Single Room
  9. Master bedroom
  10. Double-face niche
  11. Master shower



The Syc-design reality was established in 2015 thanks to Serena Cafulli, who graduated from the Architecture Department at the Polytechnic University of Milan, with the intention of providing a valid alternative for the design of domestic spaces intended to enhance the typical features of a building.

The design approach is based on the use of ecological techniques and recycled materials that can bestow both value and personality upon the space in question.

By working with specialised technicians, surveyors and safety coordinators, she provides all-inclusive renovation services that comprise a large-scale study as well as the study of the smallest details, so that nothing is left to chance.


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