When it comes to seeking refuge from daily life, having space to breathe and a connection to nature are two key parameters. So, when architect Ricardo Azevedo received the brief for a suburban bungalow, the first thing that came to mind was to expand its footprint and let in the sea view, both of which were absent from the original dwelling.
“Creating a microcosm of emotions and beauty as a refuge from everyday life was the intention,” says Azevedo of this three-storey bungalow in the coastal rural plain of Lavra in Portugal. “Initially, the client was looking for interior redecoration, meaning modest improvements on the layout and a small expansion. It culminated in a much larger expansion that involved technical installations … basically a complete redo to relate the interior and exterior, something that had been absent in the pre-existing structure.”
Originally an unassuming dwelling with limited vistas, the house has been substantially enlarged and opened up with the clever use of expansive glass and wood panels to let nature in and cater to the couple, their two kids, and pets.
It now features a spacious living and dining room, outdoor living pavilion, a garden with a pool, three bedrooms, a garage, and a glassenveloped wine cellar that shines like a jewel box, hence its name, the Jewellery House. Interior design was handled by AAR DECO, while Master Natura handling the landscape architecture.
“Wood was chosen for its warm tone and relationship with nature, while glass was used to expand the space to the outside,” Azevedo says. “The most unique feature of the house is the openness of the interior and the way in which it assimilates the outside spaces.”
This is most evident in the living area, which spills out onto the pool area and garden to foster a seamless transition between the two. Expansive glazing and minimalist high-end windows by panoramah! were paramount to achieving this integration.
Every part of the home enjoys stunning natural views, as the architect explains: “The site and landscape played a significant role in shaping the final outcome.”
The outdoor living pavilion, for example, is a glazed extension of the main house that offers the best of indoor-outdoor living yearround. The bedrooms are curated to capture garden views, while the upper-floor bedroom extends even further to allow the stunning sea view in. The garage, meanwhile, is tucked in a recessed lower level to ensure it does not hinder the beauty of the surrounding garden, and the wine cellar “creates a world of its own, both on the inside and on the outside”, he adds.
To fully utilise the outdoor space available, a new volume has been added on the roof level to allow for extra storage space. To harmonise the existing roof with the new constructions, Azevedo employed black zinc to create a contrast between the dark roofs and the lighter base level. This is intended to flatten the overall proportions of the house and make it more connected to the ground, he adds.
Inside, sculptures by Paulo Neves, and custom-made furniture by Intemporal, are woven throughout for a tasteful, sophisticated vibe, with lighting fixtures by Alfilux adding extra pizzazz. The custommade kitchen is by Ayeme, which is a harmonious blend of form and function that provides the family with a stage to entertain with panache.
What started out as a humble touch-up has resulted in an idyllic, yet inviting sanctuary, that blurs the boundaries between inside and outside, art and nature. “Different moods and atmospheres blend together in this home to achieve diversity and meaning,” Azevedo concludes.
Photography by Ivo Tavares