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Ping Pong House: An Architect’s Own Playful but Serene 19th-Century House in Rome

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Ping Pong House: An Architect’s Own Playful but Serene 19th-Century House in Rome

October 12, 2018

There’s something dreamlike about the spaces created by Studio Strato, the latest architecture firm to cross my screen, that feels completely of-the-moment. The studio, a collaboration between Italian architects Vincenzo Tattolo and Martino Fraschetti, started in 2007 and is based in Rome, and the architects’ creations feel both serene and unexpected, sophisticated and playful.

So much so that it was difficult to choose which of the firm’s projects to feature as their debut on Remodelista. But Martino’s own nineteenth-century house, in Rome, remodeled by Studio Strato, seems a good place to start.

Here, Martino and Vincenzo turned their professional practice towards a deeply personal space: an Umbertino-style building in the “thrilling and multiethnic neighborhood of Esquilino,” remodeled from a haphazard office into an airy and artful “Ping Pong House” for Martino and his girlfriend, Livia. The finished space has cloud-colored plaster walls, fittings that don’t take themselves too seriously (see: the ping pong table that doubles as a dining table), the odd remnant from the couple’s own families, and filtered Roman light.

Join us for a walk through.

Photography by Serena Eller, courtesy of Mondador and Studio Strato.

the living room of the couple&#8\2\17;s &#8\2\20;ping pong house.&# 9
Above: The living room of the couple’s “Ping Pong House.”

The Umbertino-style house was built at the end of the 19th century, Vincenzo says, but in the time since had been converted into an office space. “The house was an office with many small rooms. It was necessary to demolish a few walls to transform it into a house with bigger spaces,” he says.

Now, the bright interiors are painted mostly in Little Greene’s Slaked Lime. The living room is at once sumptuous and bare-boned, sophisticated (with gypsum statuary models, originally intended for Italian cemeteries, “bought in Pietrasanta, in Versilia,” in one corner) and laid-back (as in the folding canvas and wood Tripolina chairs that once belonged to Livia’s grandmother). (For a modern version, see the Tripolina 1855 chair by Telami.)

The standing lamp with a metal base and exposed cord is the Flos Toio Lamp by Achille Castiglione and the rug is the linen and wool Arkad Retro Graphic from Kasthall.

(N.B.: We’re noting classical statues in interiors; see Trend Alert: Classical Statues in Interiors, 9 Favorites.)

light reflects beautifully on the pitched ceilings. 10
Above: Light reflects beautifully on the pitched ceilings.
a doorway in a bookshelf leads to the dining room. 11
Above: A doorway in a bookshelf leads to the dining room.

Elsewhere, the team was able to demolish the more recently built office walls that chopped up the space. But not here, Vincenzo explains: “Not being able to demolish the wall between the living room and the dining room, the Strato team decided to make it a big passing-through bookcase, which divides the spaces without closing them.”

into the pared back dining room. the sculptural black like is a &#8\2\20;vi 12
Above: Into the pared-back dining room. The sculptural black like is a “vintage fifties Stilnovo floor lamp,” the architects say.
&#8\2\20;the homeowner is very passionate about ping pong,&#8\2\2\1; vi 13
Above: “The homeowner is very passionate about ping pong,” Vincenzo says of his partner, Martino. “Studio Strato designed the big table as the core of the house. It can perfectly host dinners, parties, and ping pong matches as well.”
the ping pong table can seamlessly transition to a dining table with plenty of  14
Above: The ping pong table can seamlessly transition to a dining table with plenty of quirk.
the table, set with finds &#8\2\20;from a roman store&#8\2\2\1; and a w 15
Above: The table, set with finds “from a Roman store” and a wooden fruit basket by Piet Hein Eek. The blue tile is hand-painted, a design by Italian artist Davide Monaldi.
the passage into the kitchen, where architectural glass forms the top half of t 16
Above: The passage into the kitchen, where architectural glass forms the top half of the dividing wall.
studio strato created the bright and casual kitchen from scratch. 17
Above: Studio Strato created the bright and casual kitchen from scratch.

“Being an office, there was no kitchen,” Vincenzo explains. The architects painted the lower half of the wall an almost indiscernible pale grey, built custom ad-hoc open shelves, and sourced the sink and range from Ikea. The effect is a space that feels accessible and a little deconstructed.

a small marble top table (once &#8\2\20;martino&#8\2\17;s nanny&#8\ 18
Above: A small marble-top table (once “Martino’s nanny’s”) serves as a place for breakfast.
hooks hold kitchen ephemera. 19
Above: Hooks hold kitchen ephemera.
the architects positioned the ikea sink beneath the window, overlooking the rom 20
Above: The architects positioned the Ikea sink beneath the window, overlooking the Roman street. (A similar model, available in the US, is the Havsen Apron-Front Double-Bowl Sink.)
hooks beneath a shelf provide storage for tea cups. 21
Above: Hooks beneath a shelf provide storage for tea cups.
a short stairway past the kitchen leads to a &#8\2\20;multifunctional room, 22
Above: A short stairway past the kitchen leads to a “multifunctional room, used as a studio, guest room, and laundry room,” painted in Little Greene’s Light Gold.
in the high ceilinged master bedroom, a pink wool rug from kasthall (and a matc 23
Above: In the high-ceilinged master bedroom, a pink wool rug from Kasthall (and a matching candy-striped cushion in the window seat) sets a playful tone.
twin bedside sconces are fitted with unexpected painted lampshades by lisa cort 24
Above: Twin bedside sconces are fitted with unexpected painted lampshades by Lisa Corti. (Another trend on the horizon: see The Return of the Artfully Patterned Lampshade.)

The small paintings are another family heirloom—they “were in Martino’s father’s office, from the 19th-century Roman School,” Vincenzo says.

We’ll be keeping a tab open to Studio Strato to see what’s next from the duo. In the meantime, tour three more artful spaces in Italy:

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