Traditional Basque housebarns – “baserri” (“caserío”, in Spanish) – are farmsteads that could sustain the multiple generations of family that lived in them. Beginning in the 12th and 13th centuries until the 1970s baserri allowed rural Basques to live off their own land with little need for commerce beyond a few basics (sugar, oil) that they didn’t produce themselves.
Five years ago Julen Iturain Mujika quit his job leaving behind the distractions of city and corporate life by moving into the baserri of his ancestors (“Sailpuru”). With the help of his father, a builder, he created an apartment on one floor of the old home (the space is now divided between cousins). Relying on recycled wood, secondhand appliances, and salvaged boxes for cabinets, they spent about 50 euros on their kitchen and about the same for a bedroom with a sawhorse table and box closet.
Despite the remote location, Julen and his partner Ibon don’t have to travel often: they work from home on their online startup (www.burulogy.com). They’ve also relaunched an extensive garden for vegetables and take advantage of the fruit and nut trees that bear staggered produce throughout the year.