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A Surprising 1920s Home in the Suburbs

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
by Ricardo Moreno Arquitectos Modern
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From Portuguese architect Ricardo Moreno comes a striking creation that connects past and present with a stylish approach. Today on homify 360°, we journey to Estoril, Portugal, to see the residence that Ricardo Moreno designed for himself; but that is not the entire story behind this story. 

While also crafting a comfortable place to live, Moreno was faced with the additional difficulty of respecting an existing home from the golden 1920s, and keeping everything sustainable. 

Therefore, what started off as preserving the old and delicate architecture, transformed into the creation of a modern yet welcoming family home, with features that still echo the original house from 1923.

Let’s see this stylish creation that manages to bridge almost 100 years of architectural evolution in one single building.

Street view

Here we see the beautiful home from the street. This vantage point doesn't reveal much about the surprises that await inside and behind the wall.

The original home from 1923 was built from hand-made bricks and stone. As soon as Moreno started adding his touches, he coated the walls with lime-sand mortar, mixed with shredded cork in order to improve the house’s thermal factor. This also elevated the interior humidity up to a very comfortable level.

Enter a new era

From outside, the house remains more or less the same. But on the inside, a modern new approach greets us. 

Spaciously pale floors ensure an adequate socialising (or cooking) space, and a modern island (complete with oven, extractor fan, sink, and sufficient storage areas) is sure to enhance the preparation of any multi-course meal. 

A delightful marriage of warm brick and pale timber (on the ceiling) guards over the kitchen, which shares an open plan layout with the dining room and living space, located further up ahead.    

While we’re in the culinary corner, let’s review: The 6 Most Popular Kitchen Styles.

Ideal for a quick bite

When was the last time you had stacks and stacks of books and magazines accompanying you while enjoying a meal? A spontaneous little dining space has been set up behind the island, neatly tucked away in a wooden niche-like space. Here is where chattering and laughter can be shared while awaiting the next dish, or a flipping through a magazine while enjoying a steaming cup of coffee. 

The kitchen dining set is made up of different wooden pieces that delightfully mismatch, adding an eclectic touch to this modern space.  

But this is only meant for small, on-the-go meals, as the main dining area is located just a hop and a skip further on. Let’s continue…

Spacious and multi-functional

It is clear that a wooden volume redefines the house’s organisation. A set of stairs is carved into the volume, leading up to the private bedrooms, which are dominated by white palettes.  

This floor is where we find the kitchen, shared by the living room and dining area. The office is also on this floor, tucked away behind another corner. This is prime socialising space for the entire family, and for when guests drop by. 

Wood has been used in all of the main areas on the ground floor. Part of the renovation included the interior, but the house’s outside remains a delightful reminder of its 1923 glory, as well as the windows that look out onto the courtyard.

A bedroom for style

One of the bedrooms, dressed in a pale and serene colour palette. Akin to the structure below, wood is a welcome feature here, and works wonderfully in relation to the pale brick that carves out a neat little frame for the headboard.  

A handful of decor, collected from different styles, adorns this room, yet does nothing to diminish from the peaceful quality embedded here. 

Where a conventional renovation highlights the features of the existing house and adds a dash of modernity (for a fabulously new mix), Moreno chose to integrate the traditional shape of the house in his vision. He has used the house’s existing walls as a bridge to modernity, creating a prime modern living spot for himself.

Clean and pristine

The tranquil hues continue into the bathroom, where a clean collection of tile and concrete greets us. The slanted roof has taken away some of the bathroom’s space, but redeems itself by adding a touch of natural light to the room. 

Adequate shelf space, the necessary appliances, and some welcome additions in the form of wood and wicker make this bathroom into a memorable space.

A modern courtyard

Modern traces of the refurbishment can be seen everywhere, not the least of which is that exquisite swimming pool, adding a cool layer to the mostly neutral colour palette of the courtyard. 

A warm wooden finishing to select pieces adds a natural element and, along with the pergola covering the lounging area, introduces a striking linear design. These modern features incorporated with the historic structure ensure a wonderful patchwork of texture, materials and forms, delightfully echoing the history of the house, while, at the same time, turning over a new page. 

A decent amount of flora ensures that any time spent in this area (whether it be in the pool, in one of the loungers, or simply just walking from one corner to another) will be a tranquil experience.

Past meets present

From the start, it was decided to use natural ecological materials in the production process. This not only aided in the conservation of the existing house, but also introduced a program that underlines and enhances the poetic and historic side of the former structure, enabling a communication with this new modern intervention.

Moreno has managed to create a home with a contemporary and clean dimension, which functions beautifully in harmony with the historic shell that, today, provides the setting for this modern house. What he has shown us is not just the recovery of an old building, but also how restrictions that date back almost a century can be turned into great opportunities for a new and modern concept.

A fantastic house, and an architectural gem that manages to incorporate two unique timelines under one roof. What is your opinion of the house? 
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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