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My friend Elizabeth suggested I read this book.  Elizabeth has written about design (among other things) for over twenty years, so when she tells me I should check out a book, a store, a designer, etc., I do it.

MASSERIA, with text by architect Diane Lewis and photographs by Mark Roskams, is a fantastic book.   Masserie are fortified farmhouses located in Puglia, the southeastern coast of Italy.

They range in size.  The materials are local, stone, concrete, iron, and brick.  Some were used as resting places for pilgrims traveling on Via Appia.

Now many have been renovated, some into boutique hotels.  The rest are working farms, passed down through the generations. Puglia is an area of Italy that doesn’t see many American tourists.  The majority are Italians and Europeans.

I haven’t made it down to Puglia yet (it’s on my list) but I really like the architecture.  It’s Stylish Simplicity.  Rustic and elegant, some of these farmhouses date back to the Middle Ages.

There was also a practical reason to read MASSERIA.  When I was in Anguilla over the Christmas holiday, I met with one of my clients’ builders.  He showed me a few of the houses he has built on the island.

In the Caribbean many houses have stone or tile floors because of the climate. Some areas of Puglia have a flat landscape like Anguilla. I see a lot of simliarites in the materials, although wood is used more in the Caribbean. The use of the color white, a lot of white on the walls, interior and exterior, makes sense in both places as the sun is very strong.

I’ve flagged several photos in this book.  I’m loving the stone floors, the iron bed posts, and the use of color.  It’s good to see how these unique spaces were allowed to keep their integrity while being modernized.

If everything goes to plan, the house in Anguilla will be done next year.  In the meantime, I’m putting together my library/inspiration board for the project.  MASSERIA will be one of the books I refer to again and again.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in design, Italy, and/or traveling to Puglia.

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