In the Portuguese city of Guarda, the Sao Francisco House immediately turns heads with its pink facade and landscaped garden. As modern heritage homes go, it’s an instant charmer. And that charm is only amplified by the intriguing mix of minimalist sensibility and architectural tradition which lies behind its stone fronted doors. Let’s take a closer look.
Back to the Future: Modern Heritage Homes
The Sao Francisco House lies at the heart of the city, surrounded by an architecturally diverse collection of buildings. A visual sweep of the area results in a whistle stop tour of the past; a real life timeline of the successive city growth stages, right before your very eyes.
The home was originally built in the early 20th century but had fallen into disrepair when Filipe Pina Architecture (FPA) came to the project in 2016. Parts of the exterior had lost its shine and architectural splendor. Meanwhile inside, an already gloomy interior had amassed into a series of messy, obsolete and isolated rooms.
“The clients wanted a pragmatic solution to the project, [and were] ‘willing to renew and rehabilitate the house with minimum demolition and in the most economical way’ – FPA
Minimalism Meets Tradition
Keen to preserve the home’s architectural heritage, FPA decided to keep as much of the original features as they could.
In the kitchen, a beautiful decorative tile floor and antique door have been integrated into the studio’s signature minimalist style. White walls and ceilings help to bring light into the once boxed-in space, elevating this simple kitchen to another level of design luxury.
Meanwhile, in the living quarters, original rustic beams and an old fireplace adds depth to the open, neutral-hued spaces. The overall feel is warm and welcoming – a sharp contrast to the abrupt starkness of typical minimalist spaces.
Out in the hallway, this sliding door feature is an especially clever interpretation of the old meets new philosophy. While not original, the decorative blue and white panels are a hark back to the intricate details of traditional Portuguese design. A reference that can be hidden by a wall of unadorned white when the minimalist inside strikes.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Part and parcel of the minimalist aesthetic is an ostensible lack of material ‘stuff’. However, the realists among us know that this is sometimes hard to translate into reality. Luckily for the occupants of the Sao Francisco House, the FPA team came up with an elegant solution.
Floor to ceiling storage, and even a bathroom, have been hidden into the walls of the bedroom. This allows for practicality without compromising on the commitment to sleek minimalism.
Overall, the Sao Franciso House is a lesson in defying expectations. From the outside, historic heritage reigns supreme. Yet inside, contrary to its classic shell, guests are met with a minimalist aesthetic – all wood floors and neutral walls – which works to make the indoor spaces feel light, bright and decidedly modern.
Nevertheless, journey a little further into the heart of the home and, once again, expectations are upended. This time, minimalist anticipation is met with touches of tradition; an original decorative tile here for instance, and an antique wood door there. All in all, in the manner of all great modern heritage homes, the Sao Francisco House stands testament to the recurring allure of mixing the old with the new.