Stone and wood makes for a cosy combination when you're building your dream home. This retreat, designed by Brazilian architect David Guerra, takes inspiration from rustic Patagonian architecture for seamless integration into the construction's highland setting. The Mountain House is a beautiful example of architecture being open to nature while warm and comfortable inside.
Guerra has taken great care to create indoor communal spaces for the enjoyment of family and friends, relying on monolithic structural elements rather than walling to signify rather than physically delimit kitchen from living room and so on. With this design, public environments comfortably share a single space.
Once you wind your way up the roads to The Mountain House, the view from the street can, for some, be underwhelming. Unless you have an eye for the poetry of stone, that is. Sending strong signals of security, the house is clad at front with polished but heterogeneously shaped granite stones. Oxide hues amongst the granite grey offer subtle coloration and a tonal rhyme with the angled pitch if the roof behind.
The same polished and multi-hued granite is used for this towering fireplace and chimney that also acts as a crucial support structure. Otherwise, the mountain chalet effect is in full play, with polished wooden eaves left exposed to form a pitched ceiling.
The longer you spend in The Mountain House, the longer you realise how the architect has made subtle but powerful use of colour. We've talked already about the clever play of natural hues in the quarried stone used for the facade and chimney, and the rich wooden tones used elsewhere in the structure but look again and you see how the interior decoration and furnishing is carrying on a colourful conversation with these architectural elements.
From here we can see the incredible interior flow that The Mountain House possesses, with the living room flooded with light and the kitchen demarcated only by the totemic fireplace flue. We've explored elsewhere how a modern kitchen can speak to the future by harking back to the past, and here it's clear to see how rustication is the new sophistication.
The kitchen itself once again uses the rust and mahogany colours found in the house's wood and stone structure, but it's a no-nonsense space in the end for preparing family meals to be enjoyed at the long dining table.
This compact bathroom moves to the countryside for its inspiration, featuring pretty tile mosaicing on the walls, a floating sink and sink top area. Here some mountain meadow flowers add a splash of natural colour.
An example of one of the bedrooms tucked upstairs under the eaves, a woven rug and wooden furniture repeat the rustic motif used elsewhere in the house, but it's the view from the window that will take you breath away…
… the coup de grace. This view shows The Mountain Home resplendent in its mountain setting. the Patagonian style that the architect took as his inspiration is clearly evident from this position by the pool, a gravity defying feature that teeters on the edge of the steep drop-off to the forested valley below. Wickerwork blinds, shutters and structural panelling offer ventilation and filter the bright highland light, while the dramatic canted pitch of the central structure's roof speaks the language of indigenous South American domestic architecture with a fluency that's rare in contemporary house design.