An industrialist couple from Belgium, enchanted by the sunshine, the weather and the Mediterranean sea, purchased and refurbished an old complex of Dammusi on the island of Pantelleria.
The married couple had spent their holidays on the Sicilian island for years and had made a lot of friends in the area. As soon as their children had grown up and joined the company, they made the big leap. In other words to make Pantelleria their second home and spend most of the year on this island.
Maximum respect for their surroundings
So, with the help of a friend, a famous Sicilian architect, they bought a small nucleus of abandoned Dammusi and brought them back to life. Their idea wasn’t simply to live there, but to have room to accommodate their many friends, two children and five grandchildren there both in summer or during the holidays.
The refurbishment was a lengthy and complex process, painstakingly attentive to respecting the surroundings.
The load-bearing structures were restored first and foremost. Lava stone walls, skilfully dry laid, which form the volumes of the Dammusi. Then the terraces were restored, arranged across several levels, and turned into the same number of open-air rooms, which can be enjoyed throughout the year on the island. Lastly, the work focused on the interiors.
A careful refurbishment process
The architect wanted to preserve and value the large apertures and the existing porticoes, to flood the rooms with light and allow the inhabitants to admire the sea and the Mediterranean maquis from every room. Large pergolas made with local canes cast a cool shadow over the living area and open-air lunch space.
The floors were picked in a concrete-coloured resin alternating with the old hexagonal baked terracotta tiles which were recovered during the restoration. The walls, with vaulted ceilings, were strictly left in white plaster, in the purest local tradition. Last but not least, the furniture comprises a collection of contemporary design pieces, in order to create a pleasant contrast with the stone architecture and the surrounding wilderness.
At the heart of the Dammuso lies a large stainless steel kitchen
As passionate aficionados of Mediterranean traditions and weather, the couple simply had no choice but to be “converted” to Mediterranean cuisine as well. So much so that they have both become genuine chefs. Theirs is a simple, island cuisine, based on fish and vegetables from the garden, but which they enjoy preparing in the best way possible.
This is why they specifically asked the architect for a professional, large and super-accessorised kitchen.
A kitchen in which they could spend a lot of time (in the best Italian tradition) preparing meals in a sociable ambiance. Cooking for themselves, but more often than not for their many island friends who liven up the evenings and for their children and grandchildren who populate the house during the holidays.
The Ego kitchen by Abimis is divided up into functional areas
For the owners, the “large Italian kitchen” had to be the heart of the Dammuso: even in the physical sense… For this reason, the designer suggested they fit an Ego kitchen by Abimis made entirely in stainless steel that has been orbitally polished by hand.
The Ego model, with its rounded silhouettes, was particularly suitable for the interior architecture and the cross vaults.
To create a larger, ergonomically designed and functional work area, the architect designed a bespoke kitchen, dividing it up into three functional areas.
On one wall, covered with glazed majolica tiles, is the cooking area: a stainless steel block with a hob recessed into the top, a concealed hood and a double oven.
In the middle of the room, a large stainless steel island, equipped with storage compartments. The opposite wall houses the two service areas. On the right, the washing area with sinks and a generous two dishwasher (one of which professional). On the left, four doors inset within the white wall conceal professional refrigerators.
To demonstrate how much the owners love to organise lunches and dinners with plenty of guests as well as to cook for themselves…
Ideally bringing together the three kitchen blocks is the original barrel ceiling painted purple, the same colour as the tiles.
A stainless steel storage unit with glass shelves, made to measure by Abimis, is housed in a recess in the wall, while an unusual wall-mounted glass rack, also custom-made, shows off like an abstract painting beside the sinks. In an old cellar adjacent to the kitchen, with an arched stone ceiling, the pantry plays host to a series of exposed glass vases containing all sorts of pasta, sauces, pulses, almonds, capers, spices and other local produce.
The house now mirrors the needs of the two Belgian spouses 100%, along with their love of Italian good food and sociability. Or rather, “90%”, as the home owner explains.
“The last step will be to order an outdoor kitchen from Abimis, so we can cook outdoors among our guests”, he continues… “Only then will our Dammuso truly be perfect!”