Journal: 21 July 2017

Casa Modesta – a family affair.

Featured by Deezen and Wallpaper, Casa Modesta has garnered much attention in the global design press surrounding its sympathetic and sustainable renovation. We ensured we made a special trip to appreciate this unique space for ourselves.


I’d corresponded with Carlos before we arrived and was greeted by his welcoming father who quickly offered Stanley a delicious juicy homegrown fig.

The hotel is run by Carlos and was re-designed by his sister, Vânia, and her design practise PAr into what we see today. The building formally belonged to their grandfather and has been transformed into a hotel with nine private suites and shared living facilities.

This is truly a family affair.

The buildings date from the 1940’s. Many elements were retained from the original construction including – the flat roof terraces, external stairs, covered patio, wood oven and water cistern.

The old water tank was converted into a pool – my favourite detail.

The hotel comprises nine separate rooms with en-suite bathrooms, as well as a communal dining room and lounge.

We viewed the second block of rooms.

Semi-arched openings in the side walls create a corridor leading to the entrances with hammocks strung between the staircases. The external staircases provide access to the roof terrace overlooking the allotment and lagoon.

The bedrooms have terracotta-coloured floor tiles, white walls and units and each room has a window facing the lagoon. PAr sourced local materials including clay tiles, red limestone, cork and brass.

The bathrooms are separated from the bedrooms by white sliding doors, with brass kickboards that match the fittings. The tubs are submerged into the floor. Every detail has been so thoroughly considered and the quality and craftsmanship of the finishing is incredible.

Vânia said “as a principle, we pursue the reinterpretation of vernacular culture by contemporary logic, using traditional materials.”

“More than a simple technical and aesthetic upgrade, the project reinterpreted the pre-existing house from its family memories.”

At the end of the plot, the hotel has a series of solar panels and an allotment – with organically grown vegetables. Self sufficiency is clearly very important to the family.


The hotel embodies everything I love – intelligent and considered design and a shared appreciation of un-rushed moments.

Read more about Casa Modesta.

Words and photography by Fiona Burrage.


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