Casa Modesta, located in Olhão, Portugal is a family house turned into an eco hotel.
Now more than ever, creating an authentic design that stands out with its character proves to be a challenge. The spread of information-and inspiration-online combined with immediate availability of products from all over the world often flattens the individuality of regional design. However, Casa Modesta has not fallen in this trap. It is a delicately structured story, a fairy tale in which you want to immerse yourself completely.
Everything began somewhere around 1940 with the owners’ grandparents. They lived a peaceful life in a typical Portuguese family house in the Algarve region. They probably would have never imagined than in not so distant future, their grandchildren would charm up a sustainable hotel in this rural surrounding. But don’t let the simplicity of this story mislead you - when embarking on this project, Carlos and Vania, the current owners of Casa Modesta, were facing a demanding task. Bringing to life the legacy of one’s ancestors requires extraordinary determination and incredible accuracy, which you can virtually feel in every corner and detail of this place.
Vania approached this project with utmost precision. Collaborating with her architectural practice and initiative PAr, she built the hotel using regionally-sourced materials in order to retain the spirit of the original 1940s family house. Divided into two whitewashed modernist volumes, Casa Modesta consists of 9 suites, each with its own private patio, complemented by communal areas to eat and lounge. Thanks to this solution, every guest can enjoy the breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape.
The care has also been taken to create an environmentally friendly development with the use of sustainable solutions like natural ventilation, shading and wastewater reuse as well as the deployment of the hotel’s garden as a greenhouse to grow fresh organic vegetables for the kitchen.
The furniture, objects and custom made cork lighting and brass fittings, by Albio Nascimento and Kathi Stertzig of The Home Project Design Studio, follow the minimal aesthetic and vernacular vibe of the exterior with modestly designed interiors, vaulted brick ceilings and traditional terracotta floor tiles.
But the true spirit of Casa Modesta lies not only in the architectural details. Its heart beats in the people who take daily care of this place with a welcoming smile. Thanks to them, you can truly feel and experience the tranquility, which is undoubtedly precious in the modern world we live in.
Modesta sounds almost like a modest, which is perhaps a very general but actually quite accurate word that describes the beauty of this project. Nevertheless the greatest power of this place lies in family ties and the desire to care for them. Because, let's be honest - not every family would be ready to conduct such a life time collaborative project.