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Spent 5 years fixing old house-barn by hand. It was worth it

When Enrico Gri discovered the wild Orco Valley during a ski mountaineering trip, he fell in love with the idea of moving from the city (nearby Turin) to the mountains. After buying an affordable, run-down stable he found online, he began turning the bramble-filled structure into something livable.

His partner Paola restores paintings and buildings for a living, and wanted to leave as much as possible of the old structure, so he worked with architects Studioata to design a wooden structure that would fit inside the old stable, like a “house within a house”, providing a second-floor bedroom and bathroom, as well as plenty of insulation.

Wanting to build as much as possible on his own, Enrico hired “Guiseppe” from the local, mostly abandoned, hamlet to help him recreate the dry-stack stone walls (creating stacking stone on stone, without the use of mortar). He spent the remainder of the five years it took him to finish the home building everything by hand: furniture (including a kitchen table that transforms into a guest bed), cabinets, and a new dugout cellar with dry-stack walls created to protect the rest of the home from humidity.

The first floor is a kitchen set within the original stone vault. Wanting to preserve the mangers as areas for eating, Enrico created a table and benches on one side of the room and a wall-to-wall countertop kitchen on the other. The old hayloft has been converted into a second-floor bedroom and bathroom with a new set of stairs connecting the two floors. Every detail has been attended to by Enrico and Paola, including preserving an old chestnut-wood door with wooden hinges and preserving the apertures of the old windows, using chestnut paneling to frame the windows from the inside, but simultaneously preserving the old stone look on the outside.