Nestled among olive, almond and cork trees on the hills above Faro in Portugal, Casa Luum was conceived as a tranquil holiday retreat away from the commotion of the country’s popular tourist destinations. The four bedroom villa was designed by Lisbon-based Pedro Domingos Arquitectos in a minimalist aesthetic that embraces the vernacular language of the local architecture. The result is a modern house of pristine elegance and subdued refinement that feels right at home in the Portuguese countryside.
Located in the Algarve, a region of whitewashed villages, sandy coves and rocky cliffs, and home of the Ria Formosa nature reserve, the villa abides by the area’s topography that is characterized by small plots delimited by stone walls, water tanks and small constructions. Centered on a walled patio, the one-storey building unfolds as a collection of whitewashed, geometric volumes with only a small part rising to a second level in order to accommodate the living room.
A neutral palette of white walls and concrete floors defines both the exterior and interior design, and is the base for a minimalist aesthetic of modern sophistication. White-painted sliding shutters and a collection of slim, white outdoor furniture further enhance the prevailing sense of subdued refinement, while the use of natural stone for the patio pool, kitchen counters, sinks and benches anchors the house into the region’s landscape. Inside, natural wood finishes and traditional textiles add warmth in an otherwise austere environment.
The central patio functions as the house’s hub where guests can hang out day and night, accompanied by the relaxing sound of a fountain that flows into a square pool, a reference to the water tanks traditionally associated with local country houses. A spacious kitchen, conveniently located next door, makes it easy for guests to enjoy meals outdoors, while two additional patios wedged between the four bedrooms provide guests with more intimate outdoor spaces. The expansive rooftop terrace on the other hand is ideal for sunbathing, blessed as it is with unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape and direct access to the pool, courtesy of a staircase that literally dips into the water, while a herb garden in the back fills the air with fresh fragrances. Generously bathed in Mediterranean light and serenaded by the soothing element of water, Casa Luum is the definition of a modern sanctuary.