The hustling and bustling urban atmosphere is, when compared to the entire stretch of time, a relatively new occurrence. Brazil became an urban country only during the second half of the 20th century, when the city population exceeded the rural inhabitants. This led to the countryside becoming the less popular option as an environment to set up home.
However, the rural landscape continues to play a key role due to farming. And lately, a lot of people seem to be flocking back to the countryside (even if only for the occasional getaway) in search of a quiet and serene atmosphere, and to get back in touch with nature.
Today on homify 360°, we discover a project with an amazing back story. Located in Alcácer do Sal in Portugal, this is a revamp by architectural professionals Atelier Data of an old rural barn transformed into a spectacular summer residence. This space which used to house horses now serves as a charming holiday retreat!
The main point of the new façade is the glass panels, indicating a modern presence (and also allowing for a healthy helping of natural lighting). The old tiles of the barn have also been replaced with new ceramic ones. In addition, surfaces were recovered and painted to add that 21st century look to this summer residence.
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This project actually involved the restoration of two existing buildings: an old house (seen in the background) and the horse stable. As an homage to the building’s previous existence, the architectural form and rural essences have been kept, as evidenced by the traditional volumes and roof structure.
What we are left with is a modern design that is simple, light and elegant, with a distinct echo of contemporary Portuguese architecture. New possibilities for a new era. But what lies await on the inside?
Let’s take a brief look at the previous ceiling – a traditional construction technique was the use of a scissor truss (repeated triangular wooden pieces to carry the roof). This is a distinct element that defines the house’s character, so it was decided to keep it.
Another roof feature worth taking note of is its spatial organisation and circulation structure due to the central hall/axis, allowing for a spacious amount of air inside the house.
Strong and definitely noticeable, the architects held on to this unique element when it was decided to usher this building into the 21st century.
From a noble old barn to a modern summer breakaway spot.
Splashing a pristine coat of white paint on the roof structure added brightness to the interior. Together with the spatial arrangement of the beams, this provides an effect that makes the interior seem more spacious and open.
Another element from the old barn that was kept was the dividing of the interior into five similar-sized areas. Today, these serve as two bathrooms, two bedroom suites, and an open-plan kitchen and living room in the middle.
When it came to choosing materials, two factors were prioritised: durability and cost-effectiveness, but without spoiling the essence of the barn and rural atmosphere.
The floor boasts a burnt cement (or dry shake) finishing, except in the kitchen, where we locate hydraulic tiles with geometric designs and vibrant colours. The white colour palette is definitely the dominant factor of the interior and, together with minimal textures and a clean line design, contributes to the simplicity and clean atmosphere that is perfect for a summer relaxation spot.
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Taking just a few steps back from the kitchen is where we find the living area. Here we glimpse a coffee table made from recycled wood, only a few feet away from a charming wood-burning fireplace to augment the rustic ambience of this summer house.
Bright blue scatter cushions are enhanced perfectly on the white canvas of the couch, conveying freshness and serenity.
Wood is also a major highlight of the interior. Notice the tanned wooden doors, with singular diagonal boards that can so often be found on stable doors.
Clean, white and bright, with whispers of aquatic splashes interrupting the neutral hues here and there. No overtly design styles or decor ensures a smooth flow through the house, adding to the visual tranquillity that is so noticeable in each room.
All of the walls have the same finishing of burnt cement. Even though we have no visual demonstration of the bathrooms, we are told that those walls consist of recycled materials from demolished buildings – a perfect solution for the budget-conscious!
We locate the master suite at the one end of the house, sporting a vibrant aesthetic style. Minimal furnishing mixed with maximum natural light makes for a clean and spacious resting environment, perfect for any afternoon nap.
The built-in bed is made of concrete, and has a bamboo canopy structure used for hanging light, translucent curtains, adding a romantic and charming style to the bedroom.
We’re told that this barn-turned-summer-home is only the first phase of a strategy to revive old rural buildings with new architectural techniques. After experiencing this fabulous renovation, it’s safe to say that we can’t wait to find more delightful restoration discoveries.