Everyone likes Rome’s Trastevere area at least a little. It’s a Bohemian district that both captivates and seduces with its old world charm and warm, enticing colors. And wandering around here, in what’s one of the most beautiful districts of Rome, is a very special experience. Especially if you’re Italian, since it’s a chance to feel unlike all the other tourists and be part of something in which you can feel truly at home. So, where could you stay and experience Trastevere for a weekend without all the touristy stuff?
A few months ago, Casa Totem opened its doors. An apartment redesigned by the team from STUDIOTAMAT, it has quickly become a travel destination in itself. A pied-à-terre, this 700-square-foot (65 m2) apartment with a simple aesthetic was designed to sleep up to four people, with its small rooms perfectly designed to fit together.
Casa Totem gets its name from the sculptural yet functional structure that distinguishes the apartment. The dwelling itself comprises an entrance, two bedrooms, a kitchenette, and a living area, all furnished with flexible, transformable elements. Simple in form but complex in content, the apartment is designed for people in the city for a short stay. The style is therefore dynamic, leaving all the bells and whistles behind at the front door.
The challenge was to create a contemporary design with continuity with the past, to balance the historical peculiarities of the apartment with elements of contemporary architecture in an interplay of contrasts that make it possible to create heterogeneous and distinctive settings, explains Matteo Soddu, cofounder of STUDIOTAMAT.
Alternating cool and warm colors reflect the character of the neighborhood, a place that’s always been abuzz with history-making crafts workshops that mainly produce tailor-made products, ranging from furniture to lighting. The designers’ choice of wall finish was intriguing, with the 1970s wallpaper stripped back to reveal layers of the original colors and paints through time. In the middle of the apartment, marking the beginning and end of the layout, the totem structure rises from the floor to the ceiling, creating a sort of backdrop that conceals one of the bedrooms and the passage to the bathroom, illuminated from a full-height window and furnished with a small, custom-designed kitchenette to the rear. As well as dividing the living room from the bedroom, the structure incorporates different functions on each of its sides, including closets, shelves, and lighting. It also opens to reveal an impressive black lacquered wooden surface, intended to double as a seat for the dining table and for use through the day.
So, it looks like a perfect weekend in Rome can be done, with Casa Totem in a part of the city that’s well off the tourist trails. Genuine and hidden away on the first floor of a building, it’s a place where it’s hard to not feel at home.
Photography by Serena Eller Vainicher, courtesy of STUDIOTAMAT