Southern Europe is scattered with countless old stone cottages left abandoned along with an ancient way of life. They are often blessed with stunning rural surroundings and by western European standards, they are incredibly cheap. But, although they are made from stone, many are in dire need of repair. They also have few windows and the interiors are almost always too dark for modern tastes. After all, these homes were built by people who usually worked outside all day in sweltering conditions. Renovating such homes is further complicated because there are usually strict regulations on how to renovate the exterior.
Today we will travel to Portugal where we will explore one such stone cottage. It was built as a rural retreat for the caretaker of Quinta da Boavista and replaces an existing agricultural construction. The architects Samf have completely reconfigured the interior and given it a stunning modern feel. It's a rural home with a striking modern feel. Let's go on a photo tour for all the details.
Red ceramic roof tiles are extremely common in this part of the world and they give this little home a sense of history. It's always important to consider how your home works in the larger surroundings and this kind of roof was the obvious choice. The white walls are another common choice. Our first hints of something different come from the bright blue shutter on the right and the modern terrace on the left.
The most striking aspect of this terrace is the suspended roof. It shift this home into the modern world and totally opens up the flow of light and air into the home. This is particularly important here because this is the vantage point for views of the Duro River. Note how the designers have resisted the temptation to build up the outdoor entertaining area. All we have is a broad stone wall and a simple wooden bench.
The interior has a striking combination of modern and retro elements. Geometric green tiles harken to the past and a roughened wooden dining table accentuates the effect. The peaked roof creates a lovely soaring internal ceiling space. This sense of elevation is further emphasized by the use of a big, simple paper light shade. Of course, we can't neglect to mention the deep blue wooden trim on the windows. It definitely adds energy to the room.
The essential feature in any rural retreat is simplicity. These are places to unwind and enjoy the simple things in life. So although the architects have jazzed up the interior with a fresh burst of modern colour, they have kept things fairly simple. This, of course, draws attention to the play of contrast within the colour scheme. Note how the simple line of the chimney pipe from the wood combustion stove is a decorative element in itself.
The cottage was originally designed with lots of small rooms and this made the home feel like a bit of a maze. It also drastically affected the amount of light entering much of the home. The architects addressed this issue by separating the home into two distinct living areas. The social area is the one we see here and the private area is hidden behind the blue feature wall.
Before we go, have a look at the use of white marble kitchen. We love how the splashback, countertop, and walls have been combined to create seamless unit.
The Portuguese countryside can get hot, so every room has the benefit of cool floor tiles. This, together with the uniform white walls and striking blue trim gives the home a breezy, holiday-like feel. It also adds a lot of energy to the formerly dark and dank interior. This is definitely a home built for those who love rural retreats with a difference.
We have a lot of rustic retreats to explore here at homify, have a look at The wonder of modern rustic style in 9 photos.