Imagine walking around Basque Country, strolling past a historic farmhouse. You might see the ruins of an old building with a collapsed roof, but one architectural firm saw tons of possibilities. Collectif Encore transformed this Labastide-Villefranche building into a sleek, modern home full of amazing features. The architects call this project Hourre House.
They kept the roof open in a dazzling, creative design concept. Above the dining room table and living room area, the open roof adds to a light and airy space full of industrial-inspired light fixtures. A safety net over the roof allows it to function as a hammock, play area or place to lay back and look at the stars.
Meanwhile, the former farmhouse’s large doors become sliding windows that disappear once open. Occupants can enjoy spectacular views of the sunset through this opening. Want those great views while you shower, too? Perhaps the most unique feature of the home is the outdoor bathroom. Walls on three sides provide this area with its own microclimate, perfect for outdoor bathing under the stars.
Inside the old stable, you can now find a large workspace and the old hayloft, now an open-air dining area with a long table. Surrounded by natural vegetation, the whole house enjoys gorgeous plants and flowers that fill the landscape with color.
During winter, the design captures and uses sunlight to heat the stone walls. An air/water pump keeps the ground heated, too. The house also includes an area known as the south shelter, a lovely covered terrace sheltered from the wind. The house uses no insulation for the walls, allowing it to breathe and stay naturally ventilated. This air circulation keeps the house cool even on the hottest days of summer.
This incredible renovated French farmhouse shows how innovative design can foster a lifestyle influenced by and in harmony with the natural world.
Images © Collectif Encore and Michel Bonvin