A 13th century farmhouse initially built to house monks in Felgueiras, Portugal has been completely renovated by its owners to create a modern home.

The 660-square-metre Zebros Farmhouse has been in the same family since the 19th century and used for various purposes over the years from housing agricultural workers to becoming the current owner’s residence following a material refurbishment in the 90s.

Martins Architecture Office, which was engaged for the latest renovation, discovered that parts of the house were transformed into a succession of habitable areas without a structured typology. The site still defines itself with patterns of wine production and agriculture in general.

The architects proposed to preserve all elements of historical or symbolic value that identified the property as a traditional farm – be it in the carving of the stone or the assembly of wood. While the existing spaces were retained, some reorganisation was done to accommodate the needs of contemporary living.

New additions to support a modern lifestyle such as doors, flooring, ceiling and even a chimney have been subtly integrated into the existing structure. Techniques and materials in wood, local stone, iron and stucco were preferentially explored as design principles by the architects. The general ambience is one of minimalism – white dominates the palette with an occasional splash of colour.

The project was completed in February 2021.

Photography: NUDO