Studio Arthur Casas designed and built MP Quinta da Baronesa as a weekend retreat for a young couple and their family. The brief for the project was to create a space that let in as much natural light as possible while at the same time offer unobstructed views of the nearby golf course. The couple already had a family home but wanted a weekend retreat for their two children and themselves. Located on the outskirts of Sao Paolo, Brazil the completed home offers large expanses of windows that look out and over the golf course, while at the same time snuggling into the hillside so that almost none of the large building is visible from the street. A long and narrow entry on the top floor of the home is all that can be seen as the grassy hill extends onto the lower levels becoming the roof.
The site is such that the approach to the home is level and belies the sudden drop off that hides the lower levels. The home is unassuming and blends with the trees that dot the land, only those that live in or visit MP Quinta da Baronesa are aware of the actual size of the home as it spills down the slope offering uninterrupted views of the valley and golf course below.
Even up close the home keeps its secret. The long driveway comes to an end at the front of the home, which appears no wider, then the driveway itself. A brick wall to the left is barely noticeable with its grass-covered roof and nothing suggests the multi level lifestyle below.
It is only when you are poolside and looking back towards the house that you get the full magnitude of the building. The tall and narrow entry is a central corridor that connects the lower levels and with its large uninterrupted expanse of glass it also offers a complete view of the tree that is planted in front of it. The walls of that face out to the pool cleverly open garage door style, pivoting on a point near the top and creating an outdoor canopy when opened.
The choice of tumbled bricks, weathered wood boards on the façade and decking around the pool create a sense of warmth that blends beautifully with the large expanses of grass and tree dotted landscape. The views from both inside the home and poolside are pretty spectacular, but for an even better look at the country side you can always climb the ladder to the roof.
Of course a weekend retreat is all about relaxing, so and what better place to to this then on the outdoor lounger by day and the indoor sofa by night. They are only a couple of feet away from each other and when the window wall is opened up the connection is seamless.
The connection is so seamless that the outdoor lounge appears to be part of the indoor seating arrangement with the poolside lounges the only ones not part of the indoor arrangement. The views to the pasture beyond the deck is as inviting as the pool and the sun that spills in through the opened wall casts a warm and peaceful glow that is just perfect for a weekend retreat.
Just behind the living room is the large kitchen with island. A huge stainless steel fridge and freezer stand side by side for the ultimate in cold storage and the suspended stove hood continues the gleam of the stainless steel against the white backdrop of the cabinets. 4 simple pendant bulbs hang in a row over the white topped bar and 4 white bar stools continue the tone on tone with the only interruption being on the inside of the bar overhang. Here the same wood used on the floor runs up the back of the island.
Even the floor within the kitchen footprint is white. Aside from the huge fridge and freezer, this kitchen boasts two sinks – one next to the dishwasher which is beside the fridge, and one on the island next to the gas cook top. An oven is mounted into the wall at the far side of the kitchen and above the oven is the microwave. The kitchen has tonnes of storage and excellent cross breezes that come from the opened up wall. The tumbled brick on the façade of the home is a rustic foil to the uber contemporary and clean lined white cabinets.
On the other side of the central corridor is the media room overlooking the pool. This space is as relaxing as the living room and also makes use of a window that opens up into a canopy for the outdoors. Here a deep and cozy couch has a front row seat to the flat screen TV mounted on the wall and, if there is nothing to watch, a quick dip in the pool is just a few feet away.
Above the media room and also overlooking the pool is the Master Suite. As with the kitchen the scheme is a tone on tone white with the only colours coming from beyond the window. A long hall leads to the ensuite and a bank of wardrobes. The ensuite is exposed to the bedroom via a window on the interior wall. This allows light from the outside to travel into the bedroom, through the window and into the ensuite. In the ensuite the shower features two rain shower heads mounted on the ceiling.
The expanse of the home is a well kept secret from the street, and the architects did a superb job of working with the natural slope of the hillside to create a home that is inviting, full of light and exposed to some rather awesome views. The choice to wrap the home in tumbled brick and weathered boards and then to continue the landscape up and over the roof created a home that blends into the site for a seamless transition. The added design feature of windows that run both sides of the entry level, allowing the sky to continue through the home when viewed from either side was a moment of creative genius.
Even at night, the careful placement of all the windows adds so much to the overall effect of the home, both from the inside and from the backyard. With no close neighbours privacy is not an issue and the home owners can continue to enjoy the views right up to the point of sleep.
Studio Arthur Casas