Friday, March 29, 2013

A Tiny Resort Apartment

I don't know why this wasn't one of my first thoughts in posting about small spaces.  I suppose it was because this was a semi tropical location with a killer view.  This is an absolutely tiny space.  It was probably a silly use of space in some ways, the enclosed space at the back of the apartment was 1/3 hallway.  There is my prejudice against hallways cropping up again.  The kitchen was tiny and had an eating area in it.  I would likely just omit the eating area and make it all prep space.  The bath was off the kitchen with a sliding stained glass door, and was quite spacious. 
The apartment was in Taormina Sicily.  It was located on a cliff edge and God help them if they have an earthquake of any size..
 Above the town was(or is) a smaller hilltop village, a fortress really.  As you can see, this was only about 12 feet wide(the metric version of course) and was all glass until you got to the kitchen wall.
There was a terrace on one long side and at the front, that went out to the edge of the cliff with low walls,  It was perhaps 18 feet wide and 25 feet long beyond the front of the apartment.

The front at night.  The two center panels are sliding doors. 
 Personally I like French doors better
The low wall with all the potted plants that are everywhere in Sicilian town homes. There are usually a lot of succulents and cactus plants in infinite variety.  Doing greenhouse like additions, sun rooms, conservatory rooms are quite common in Italy, especially when the apartment is on the small side. 

This was the more logical place to have an eating place.  Also, the bed was very large.  We were there in the late winter(an admittedly warm winter in Sicily) and with the curtains drawn, it was perfectly comfortable without putting the heat on.

The kitchen was sooo small, but it did function.
It was completely impractical for long term, but without the table and chairs, it would have been perfectly useful. I think that with the terrace, and with the elimination of the hall and strange kitchen layout, this would be a perfectly acceptable retirement home.
The bath was to the left and back around the blue tile corner. Pictures below...

You can see the width of the kitchen and bath.  They were behind the wall at the head of the bed.  The hall at the right would have added a lot of square footage to the kitchen and bath.  Notice the heat and air-conditioner above left.

The bath from the kitchen.  The only real kitchen storage was on the right in the cabinet...
Lots of wasted space.  Notice the wonderful swing out round window on the left.  It was painted bright, primary blue and was made of cast iron.

Well, what can I say...the shower.  I love the blue, but so hard to keep the water stains and soap off them.

I also did not think to take a good picture of the view from the terrace, but it was virtually identical to this one.  In the distance is Messina, and just out of view to the right is Reggio Di Calabria.(the mainland of Italy)  The apartment is actually to the left and below from this photo location.

Unfortunately the terrace did not have a view of Mount Etna, but I could not leave this out of the post.  See the little puff of smoke?
The settee was also impractical and ended up as a luggage rack at best.  It is, however, fairly traditional.
I will post a plan of the apartment as soon as I have a minute.
If I remember correctly, there was a trellis like overhang at the front of the apartment that would shade the glass in the hot weather, when vines are trained over it.  A Wisteria, Trumpet Vine, Akebia, Virginia Creeper, Grapes, Clematis(One of the big plants like Montana or Sweet Autumn) or annuals like Scarlet Runner Bean vines or Morning Glory. 
Looking out from the bedroom.

Here is a part of the view to the north.
We went to Taormina in the spring of 2008.  It was part of a trip around Sicily, including Palermo, Cefalu, Taormina and Siracusa.  This apartment was on a cliff and on the third floor of a guest house.  The entire third floor was just a tiny 12x12 space, as much as 1/3 of which was taken up with the top of a staircase and hall.  The rest of the floor was really just a roof terrace.  They added on a metal framed conservatory with sliding doors everywhere.  Then they added a solid roof, flat except for a slight tilt for water runoff.  In snowy climates, it would be necessary to do a more extreme angle or a conventional roof.   This could easily house a sleeping loft and/or storage.  Of course in a summer house you need little storage except a place to hang your bathing suits and a single set of regular clothes and a bunch of sandals, sneakers, T shirts and shorts. 
They placed the private bath and the kitchen in the actual masonry part of the apartment, and added the rest in front, extending toward the walled edge of the terrace.  The entire conservatory houses the bedroom area and a dining area.  If they had been a little less generous with the bed size, this could have also had a couch and a couple of chairs in addition to the little dining table and chairs they had in the corner.  Of course, most of the year one would be dining on the terrace in the bright blue wrought iron dining set.  They also make beautiful ceramic table tops for indoors or out, locally, in Caltagirone as well as in Deruta in Umbria. Vibrant blue edges with swags or bunches of olives,lemons, grapes or oranges on a white ground.  Marble is also common for dining tables, often including a "Baluster" or "vase" base and even Roman style chairs in marble.  The floor better be well braced for that though.  You can go to a counter top manufacturer in the US and have a table top cut from granite.and placed on an iron frame made locally by a welder.
The entire conservatory had heavy drapes hanging on rings from rods, covering the glass. 
The side wall of the apartment was the masonry wall of the neighboring house.   

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