Traces of a humble story

T otes houses have traces of their history, even if it is a humble history, even if they have almost no history. Preserving these traces was one of the main objectives of the architects Catalina Salvà Matas and Hector Ortín Isern -from Salvà Ortín Arquitectes, a studio based in Barcelona and Llucmajor, Mallorca- when tackling the renovation of a simple Llucmajor house. , that the new owners -a young couple- found almost in ruins and that with this complete reform they began their project of family life.

The old house, from 1900, had nothing or almost nothing exceptional: the façade of the stone street with a few patches of sandstone, a door (garage door) with arch but still narrow and insufficient for current needs, an arch in the interior very common in this typology, the stone walls that also share with the neighbors, a courtyard at the back -in Llucmajor is the corral- and a very low upper floor that in the past must have served as a beating. However, it was decided to maintain all the elements that do not interfere with the desired operation of the house and thus preserve its essence.

There were – as there always are, as there should be – the determinants of what those who have to live in the house want. And, in this case, the fact that they wanted a unitary space for the ground floor – the place to cook, eat, relax and live in direct contact with the corral – and place three bedrooms and study upstairs, they were in principle not very compatible with the original type of building. It was solved by creating a corridor from the entrance of the street that runs parallel to the garage, now with the door and the extended space, which maintains the old interior arch and which houses on the other side some areas of ‘storage that were also needed. It is a wide corridor that leads to the large living-dining room-kitchen façade completely open to the courtyard and overlooking the interior of the block of houses where it is located.

A new courtyard that gives air and light

And the needs of the family were also resolved by raising the height of the floor, building a light staircase that leads directly from the great room to the bedrooms – the old access to the upper floor that was outside was removed – and creating above a small glazed central courtyard that, despite stealing a few meters inside the house, performs an essential function: it provides natural light to the rooms, dressing rooms and study area, as well as encouraging the ‘air.

The new house is now functional and comfortable, without having to give up its little history, which now coexists with contemporaneity. Thus, the polished concrete floor, the air conditioning pipe, the open kitchen and the island table that separates it from the living area form a unit with the stone of the dividing wall that now gives texture and reminiscences of the past to the space. to cook. Likewise, a dialogue is established between the present and the past in the proximity between this stone wall and the ceiling of the room, for which the architects Salvà Ortín chose to leave the slab exposed, simply painted. And it also happens in the corral, where the traces of the history of the house, stone and sandstone, dialogue with the white plaster and with a swimming pool built taking advantage of the double level of the open space. It is, due to its dark blue color, an echo of the old cisterns, but it appeals to contemporaneity with a glass front that also introduces the vision of the water inside the house.

From the simplicity, it is especially original, in the sense of maintaining the traces of the past, the main facade of the house. The old stone and the old sandstone create a curious and asymmetrical composition with the gray iron sheet of the door and the white plaster that make evident the interventions that Catalina Salvà and Hector Ortín made in this house of Llucmajor, which was like many other humble houses in the village and now has a new life.

A toilet with views, and the bedroom, to sleep

The architects Hector Ortín and Catalina Salvà say that it was the owners of the house who asked them to use the toilet, and not the bedroom, to enjoy the views. In the room, they said, they go to sleep. With almost the entire façade of the glass bathroom, but with a wide connection to the master bedroom, and from this to a small central courtyard on the upper floor, light and ventilation are obtained for the room, while continuity to a custom very common in the half-timbered houses of the village, in which many bedrooms are usually interiors.


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