The brief was to transform an ancient community oven, owned by the client’s family for decades, into a comfortable, single bedroom vacation house, with space to gather the family when needed.

The original construction was a small, single-story volume, with thick exposed granite walls and a gable roof. A walled area, including an almost ruined porch, complemented the property. The region has very cold winters and stifling summers. According to the brief, the intervention should also provide ease of use in both situations.

Located in a small, well-preserved village in the rural centre of Portugal, the house, as many others around it, was closed and unused for more than half a century. An austere and traditional exterior, materialized in rough granite, blends gently with the surrounding constructions, but contrasts with a clearly contemporary interior, delicately shaped into a cosy, warm and comfortable space, with a surprising luminosity.

A loft-like interior gathers kitchen, living, and eating areas into a single space at the entry level, while the intimate areas are harboured in a mezzanine. The main focal element of the intervention is the customized stair-bench-table-fireplace, that sets all the rules for the project.

Light input, carefully controlled through zenithal openings, produces dramatic effects on the bush-hammered stone and on the wooden elements that proliferate in the house, changing its ambience throughout the day.

Customized carpentries help to add a sense of quality to the space, while providing for multiple storage areas.
The walled patio includes a shed, a small garden, a few trees that will hopefully age with the house, and a pond.

Design Team:

HBG Architects: Henrique Barros-Gomes