An inward-looking cellular house transformed into a modern open home

The renovation of this existing rural house, located in Vale Telheiro, in the countryside just outside of the southern Portuguese city of Loulé, was begun in early 2016 and completed in 2017. The region is characterized by rolling hills and valleys, with intermittent views of the sea. The design expands the area of the existing small bungalow, a typical countryside cottage originally constructed in the 60s, which has undergone several minor interventions, but of little architectural value. The new alteration by Vasco Lopes Arquitectos incorporates the existing covered porch as part of the new interior area. The floor area has been increased from 105 m2 to 150 m2.

The main eastward view towards the garden and a small valley beyond, have been framed by the new glass-enclosed porch. The original house which comprised two bedrooms, one three-piece bathroom, kitchen, living area with a double height ceiling, and a surrounding porch, was felt to be too small and enclosed by the clients. The designers recognized immediately the need to expand the interior floor area by opening up the existing exterior walls and using the porch as part of the new floor plan. Both bedrooms now each have a three-piece ensuite bathroom. A powder room has also been added to serve guests.

The new design has transformed an inward looking cellular house into a modern open concept home, interlacing interior and exterior spaces. The kitchen and living areas were combined, as was the porch, to create a visual continuity of these interior spaces which were then opened up towards the excellent exterior views. In effect, the exterior walls were “shifted” out, in order to bring in more natural light, as well as to create a sense of open space within the house itself; in contrast with the original house whose small celular spaces were dark and inward looking. A stylobate was created to perch the house onto an elevated plane in relation to the garden. This top plane acts as a common space, effectively connecting the interior with the patio and pool deck by extending the floor treatment from interior directing through to the exterior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design and info © Vasco Lopes Arquitectos

Images © Luís Henrique Da Cruz

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