Madrid-based practice Lucas y Hernández-Gil has restored a rural guesthouse in Villalba de los Barros, a small town located in the region known as Tierra de Barros, Spain. The new intervention conscientiously respects the original architecture of the 18th-century building. The project uses an authentic material palette to highlight the original features of the space, while simultaneously adapting it to meet the new requirements of contemporary living.
The two-storey house has a typical structure with three load-bearing wall bays and a vaulted ceiling at the ground floor level. The building opens onto the entrance square on one side and onto a small yard on the other. At this level, all the social areas can be found: hallway, living room, kitchen, dining room, and yard.
The original spaces have been recovered by the design team and in addition, new openings to the yard and between rooms were included to create a visual link and obtain more brightness into the spaces. In material terms, raw lime mortar has been used on walls while limewash has been used on vaults.
The original baked clay floor had been lost, however, Lucas y Hernández-Gil approached local potters who made new pieces by hand. Similar in texture and vibration to the old floor, only the diagonal and irregular layout of drawings (in specular reference of ceilings) makes possible the distinction of this floor as a contemporary one. This brick is also used at the yard to the edge of the small pool that has been built to cool hot summer days. The carpentry work also stands out, both for the careful restoration of richly decorated original elements and for the work regarding new doors, windows, friars and their fittings.
Bedrooms have been taken to the upper floor, an old sobrao which was used as a warehouse and to dry cure meat from slaughter. This floor has been almost entirely reorganized, but the aim was to keep the atmosphere and unique character of the house in terms of scale, finishes and furniture.
The rural guesthouse has 3/4 bedrooms and three bathrooms, hallway, living room, kitchen, dining room, yard, and cellar. It is equipped with modern facilities to ensure comfort. Special care has been taken both in the use of materials and air conditioning systems an in their sustainability, following the logic that the vernacular architecture itself represents.