Before and After From farmhouse to a stylish holiday villa
In 2019, Massimo project-managed the extremely successful renovation of Villa Charme in Sicily. It was transformed from a rustic farmhouse with pool and simple country furnishings into an eye-catching, modern villa with contemporary style, an infinity pool and landscaped garden. Not surprisingly, bookings for Villa Charme have soared since completion of the project and reviews are extremely positive. For the villa owner, not only does he have a beautiful home in Sicily but a wise investment for the future.
We asked Massimo more about it:
What was the main reason for renovating Villa Charme?
The villa needed to be updated so that the owner could have a more modern holiday home and a viable rental property. For any holiday villa to rent well, location is key of course and Villa Charme is in a wonderful location. It is private and picturesque with mountain views, proximity to the beach and Cefalu. I have observed a steady increase in booking figures and rental income for well-located, contemporary villas in Sicily over the last 10 years, compared to dwindling bookings to traditional farmhouses. I knew therefore that a well-managed renovation of Villa Charme would be a wise move for the villa owner who was keen to improve his rental figures.
What was your vision for Villa Charme?
I wanted to give it a ‘wow factor’ while making the space both practical and comfortable. Before the renovation, Villa Charme was more of a charming, rustic farmhouse with traditional dark wooden furniture, ladders and ceiling fans. It was poorly lit. I wanted to create a light-filled, open interior with large windows and comfortable, modern furnishings. A contemporary kitchen and lighting was key, as well as facilities like air conditioning and a new infinity swimming pool. We wanted to retain the beautiful vine-covered terrace and create an additional terrace to make the most of the mountain views. We also wanted three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms.
Did you change the layout?
If you look at the floorplans, you will see that we completely changed the layout. We knocked through walls, created a staircase and added floor to ceiling windows.
Was anything left of the original structure?
Absolutely. We wanted to preserve the character of the farmhouse but update it which meant painting beams white and retaining some exposed stone walls.
How long did the renovation take? 8 months.
When did you start it and when was the first booking in the renovated villa? We started in October 2018 and we completed it in June 2019. The first booking was on 25th June 2019 so we finished it just on time!
How did you choose the furnishings? Where did you get your ideas?
The interior design was done by me. I had a vision for the project and it was not too complicated. All my ideas came from my experience renting villas in Sicily and because I really understand the tastes of my guests.
What was the most difficult part of the project?
The difficult part was the final details which always take longer than anticipated.
What was the renovation budget and did you manage to stay within budget?
Our budget was €250.000 and yes we did stay in budget. The owner was really surprised that we managed not to go over, he was not expecting that!
Could the owner have done this renovation project without your help?
I suspect not because he is not a local! I would not say that is impossible but when you are in a different country you need local knowledge and a trustworthy, capable project manager who looks after your property. It helps that I own and rent villas nearby so have good experience and contacts. Many years ago I helped the owner of Villa Charme to source the original farmhouse. We have a good working relationship.
What difference has the renovation made to the owner’s rental income?
It has made an enormous difference to his rental income. The rentals of Villa Charme used to generate approximately €20,000 per season. In 2019, despite the season starting at the end of June, the rentals generated a total of €32,000. We already have bookings for 2020 and we are on track for €45,000 in rental income for the year.
What are the figures from an investment point of view?
The return on investment is 8%. The value of the villa with the renovation is €500,000 and the owner is projected to make €45,000 per season.
BEFORE: The pool – a traditional blue painted pool with terracotta tiles and wooden lounger chairs
AFTER: the pool has been transformed with modern decking, new loungers, pool tiles and infinity edge.
BEFORE: The kitchen was a small traditional country kitchen
AFTER the kitchen is unrecognisable! Open planned, modern and functional.
BEFORE: The dining part of the kitchen
AFTER: an open planned dining area by the kitchen with views of the mountains.
BEFORE: The bedroom was poorly lit with dark wooden ceilings and simple furnishings
AFTER: The bedrooms look luxurious and comfortable with modern lighting
For more information please contact our Home Improvement team