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10 Tips to buy and renovate a Country House in Italy

Country houses were built some time ago, with different purposes than today. Here are 10 tips for renovating a house in the countryside.

The country house is a perfect place to rest and to reconnect with nature. In the countryside the rhythms slow down, one relaxes. However, in order for a house in the country to be a place to actually rest, it must have all the necessary comforts.

Country houses were built a long time ago, with very different purposes than today. Here are 10 tips for renovating a country house:

1. Don't distort the place

Country houses were designed decades, or centuries ago, to carry out various agricultural activities. Depending on the place where they were built, they will have a different architecture: a Tuscan farmhouse is not the same as a trullo, or a Lombard courtyard. In many of these buildings we find several rooms that are not intended to be inhabited such as a granary, a mill, or even an oil mill. It is important to renovate the building by converting its rooms to a new use, rearranging their internal layout, without distorting the original structures and spaces.

2. Choose materials of natural origin

Look at the materials that are already there. To integrate new ones, or to make changes, prefer those of natural origin such as terracotta, marble chips, rustic tiles, or parquet or laminate. For the walls you could choose the traditional lime-based whitewash.

3. Prefer warm colors

To obtain a welcoming rural environment, prefer warm colors, in shades of orange and brown. Also consider the potential of greenery. Painting the walls in white will allow decorations and details to stand out.

4. Don't be afraid to dare

The country house is a particular place, which one does not usually experience. For this reason it is very nice that the atmosphere of this place is different from that of the house where one usually lives.

Focus on natural colors, but don't be afraid to dare. You could combine a color like cream with dark blue or red, with stucco and wall decorations.

5. Wood is the protagonist

In a country house, wood plays a key role. It can be used for coatings, and more. The exposed wooden beams are beautiful and suggestive.

Wood is also the perfect material for the furniture of a country house, ideal if combined with exposed brick.

However, avoid the "alpine hut" effect, do not overload the environment with heavy and not very functional wooden furniture. You could opt for wooden accessories with essential and light lines.

Obviously, the wood must be treated in such a way as to resist the humid climate that often characterizes country houses.

6. Choose your priorities

Generally, country houses are not habited continuously. Heating an inhabited house for short periods can be very expensive and impractical.

One must decide to make the house eco-sustainable, it is of utmost importance to calculate the reno costs in function of your presence in the house with the budget you are willing to spent on it, making a compromise between costs and time of presence in the property.

7. Invest in the renovation of the systems

If you bought a house in the countryside, the renovation of the systems will probably be one of the most complex challenges you will have to face. Country houses have outdated systems, often impossible to recover. However, the initial expense will prove to be a long-term investment. You could make the plants more efficient from an energy point of view, integrating them with new systems, such as photovoltaic panels. Another idea to keep the reno costs down, is to have the electric circuit externally installed, avoiding to touch the (stone) walls.

8. (Indirect) Illumination of the interiors

Country houses have very thick walls and small windows. Once these were measures necessary for the thermal insulation of the building. It follows that very often country houses are dark. If enlarging the windows is impossible, keep the walls and ceilings in light colors, use mirrors, indirect light sources and prefer light-colored curtains, or no curtains at all!

9. Make the most of your outdoor space

It's nice to enjoy the closeness to nature that the countryside offers.

For this, make the most of the outdoor space of the house by creating a veranda, or a relaxation area in the greenery.

You could set up a Terracotta Vase area, build an oven or a barbecue area, if you have enough space you could even think about putting a Wellness area, adding a seasonal Jacuzzi or, if budget permits, even building a swimming pool.

10. Take advantage of the tax incentives available for 2023

To renovate a house in the countryside, you can take advantage of various tax incentives, depending on the type of intervention you intend to undertake.

In this quest, a geometra will be the person to find out what incentives could be asked for.

Written by Eveline Dejonckhheee for ConsultED, May 1st 2023

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