Oh, what a complex task is to renovate a home! It is so difficult to decide what is good enough to keep and what needs to go.
Sometimes, the only solution is to demolish everything.
You know, like Estúdio BRA did in an old house in Pinheiros district of São Paulo, and managed to transform it from a dark house into a very bright and functional home even though it is built on a narrow plot, measuring 4x24m.
The house, now belonging to a third generation of the same family – a young couple and their dog, was overly compartmentalised space with low light and low ceilings and like that didn’t meet the expectations of the new owners. It needed to be adapted to their contemporary and sustainable lifestyle.
The architects decided to demolish everything and keep only the structural brick walls. They divided the house into three levels: ground floor, 1st floor and terrace with garden on the rooftop.
The ground floor is an open space, designed to perfectly fit the long but narrow plot. It consists of kitchen, living room and a staircase.
In front of the house, a small garden with native plant species was designed, to create a perfect and private welcome to a new home. The entrance to a ground floor is through a pivoting door and a sliding frame that leads to a kitchen, the other end of the ground floor also ends with a big glass sliding door – this allows the extension of the social areas into the outdoor space. And as you probably already know, an outdoor space should be an extension of the interior.
The upper part of the house with a simple concrete facade is slightly cantilevered over the ground level making it seem like it’s hovering over the ground floor.
Entering the ground floor there’s a kitchen on one wall and a free space that is mostly used as a corridor that leads to the living area. In this small kitchen space, only 3.60 x 5.15 meters big, architects managed to divide the use of the space with simple gestures, like changing the floor covering – the kitchen part is designed with patterned floor tiles, and the ‘corridor’ with a hardwood floor that matches the wooden kitchen cabinets.
And take a look at this contrast on the ceiling! The clean suspended ceiling above the kitchen area and bare ceiling on the other side. In the centre of this space is a marble island that is matching the white subway tiles used as a kitchen backsplash, but also matching the opposite white brick wall. And the dining table right next to it making it the perfect place for small gatherings.
The living room is where the new structure is emphasized: cylindrical metal pillars, metal beams, panel slabs, massive brick wall, but also the metal sheet shelf designed by the Architects. It is a simple and cosy space full of light with the same hardwood from the kitchen ‘corridor’ on the floor.
The living room opens up to a garden, with an adult Jabuticabeira tree – the Brazilian grapetree in the centre, which makes a perfect shade during the hot months and also produces fruits for residents.
At the edge of the garden is a barbecue area and a powder room. To match the area with the indoor kitchen, architects used the same wooden cabinets, and floor tiles – but this time as a backsplash for barbecue area. The slab above these areas is the green roof in which the smaller fruit trees are growing.
The staircase is made of two separate materials – polished concrete on the side of the kitchen and folded sheet metal on the living room part. The staircase leads to the first floor that is divided between two suites – perfect size bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms.
This metal staircase extends to the rooftop, which is accessed from the automated hatch.
The rooftop is divided into several zones: a wooden deck in a central area, small lawn oriented to the street side of the plot and a vegetable garden oriented to the main garden of the house.
There is also a small technical volume with the laundry, this way architects didn’t take away valuable space in the rest of the house. The important part is that the installations are hidden under the wooden deck. This enabled a lawn and vegetable garden to be on the same level as the wooden deck.
This house is the perfect example of everything we love in architecture and interior design – how to mix and match materials and colours and overall use of space and make it beautiful and functional at the same time.
Studio: Estúdio BRA Arquitetura
Lead architects: André Di Gregorio, Rodrigo Maçonilio
Team: Beatriz Rocha, Lorran Siqueira, Júlia Bruckmann, Alanna Scarcelli
Location: Pinheiros, São Paulo, SP – Brazil
Area 110 m²
Photographer: © Maíra Acayaba