Southern Europe is scattered with old stone cottages brimming with rustic romance. They're often astoundingly cheap and ridiculously cute, but present a few common issues.
The Spanish cottage we will explore today had some typical issues. It was badly deteriorated and under preservation orders, so the existing structure could not be changed. At the same time, the cottage was built in a time where homes were simply built for shelter, not as places to enjoy let alone embrace the surrounding nature. So it was just 65 square metres, dark and completely lacking a connection with the outdoor areas.
Spanish firm Dom Architects took on the project and managed to create a new cottage with a very natural extension and a little of the original spirit. Come with us to explore the beautiful results!
The stone cottage is nestled so comfortably within the garden that it's hard to believe the building has been newly reformed. The existing trees have been left untouched and their foliage encircles the property. At the same time, the soft, earthy colour scheme has been retained and even old, rustic wooden beams have been used in the landscaping. We love the stone mound protruding from the slope in the garden. It really adds a cute cosiness to the exterior. There's a good chance this stone mound was part of the original ruins.
The newly constructed outdoor terrace blends perfectly into the existing structure. It is made from wicker and iron, which are both materials with earthy gold, brown colours and natural textures that reflect the original stonework.
At the same time, the terrace covering has been built in two parts; one solid extension for complete shade, and the looser, wicker extension. The latter really softens the look of the exterior and helps it blend into the landscape. Note also how the paving has no fussy barriers to the garden.
The wide doors lead us directly from the terrace to the interior living space. There is no fussy entrance area, walls or items of furniture blocking the access or visual flow. The cottage will be used as a guesthouse, so it's primarily a recreational space and the interiors and exteriors are closely connected for lots of relaxation time. Finally, we love the warm lighting scheme here. It evokes the warm, candlelight ambience of times gone by. There are no strong overhead lights, but a series of lamps and wall lights that really highlight the textures of the stonework.
We assume that that original building had few interior walls left intact. In any case, the interior is composed of one main space that contains the small dining room, kitchen and living room. This is connected to the bedroom and the bathroom.
The decor is completely modern. The walls, furnishings and accessories are universally white and contemporary. At the same time, the space has a little Scandinavian rustic charm. This comes through in the wooden floorboards, furniture and the cool simplicity of the space.
In the bedroom, we have a liberal use of wood in the furnishings and walls. The use of wood has really allowed the designers to infuse the space with earthy warmth and retain a simple ambience. This simplicity was really important for maintaining the holiday-like feel of the guesthouse. It needed to feel instantly warm for guests without the addition of personal items.
We finish up our tour with a window view from the bedroom. We love how one single item of furniture has been custom built around the perimeter of the room. This one item acts as a cupboard, a headboard, bookshelves and finally, as a window seat. This is certainly a cute little cottage that will have your guests returning time and time again!
If you're interested in transformation projects, you'll love Before and After: the Barcelona Dairy.