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Couple’s modern home behaves like an old village by the river

Cristina Manene and Fernando Orte wanted a home to escape the city, but that would still provide reminders of village life. Outside Madrid they found raw land embraced by the Tagus River where they built a home to resemble a Spanish village complete with plazas and all local stone.

The home is created from small boxes in either glass or stone placed to avoid trees resulting in the nonlinear shape of a small town. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls on alternating spaces are nearly always left open to create a continuity between inside and outside. The completely open dining room connects one courtyard with an infinity pool that is finished to mimic the blue of the adjacent river.

The stone boxes provide an alternating pattern of shadow with the very light glass volumes. They are more sheltered from the elements, but their rooftops are flowering with local plants. Initially the couple had planted lavender and thyme, but the local seeds took over and now they realize they prefer their roof to resemble the adjacent mountainside.

The materials of the home are raw and further blur the line between indoor and outdoor: exposed concrete ceilings, interior walls of rough plaster and stone and gravel flooring that continues from the patio to the interior.

The home is powered by solar and provides some food: the couple have 5 hens and a seasonal garden. The lack of television and the omnipresence of nature ensures that “time moves differently here”. Manene explains they wanted a place that provided an unavoidable connection to nature for themselves and their three children.