Homestead under the Oaks


Project: Homestead under the Oaks
Location: Slovenian Coast
Client: Private
Year: 2018
Area: 120 sqm
Authors: BAAM architects
Typology: Single-family dwelling
Photo/Viz: Blaž Jamšek, BAAM arhitekti


In a secluded area of the Slovenian coast, a 150-year-old homestead stood. Time had left its mark with thick plaster of various colors, overgrown vegetation surrounded it, and renovations had left the floor plan dysfunctional. How to transform an old and small homestead into a modern home? How to express its history and at the same time make it modern? How to emphasize cultural heritage in a modern way? Upon inspection, we recognized the orientation, proportions of the house, construction with local stone and wood as quality elements. The plot had well-positioned vegetation, protecting it from the bora wind, oaks providing shade, and a view over the olive grove to the sea.

The house and its surroundings needed a cleansing and catharsis of time. Firstly, we completely cleaned the facades, plaster, floors, walls, overgrown vegetation, and unnecessary additions. Previously connected by a ladder, we linked the floors with functional stairs, and we added a glass annex to the too-small area, which completely submits to the existing house and landscape architecture. A thin pergola, soon to be overgrown with vines, further dematerializes the annex. The vine provides shade in the summer and drops its leaves in winter, allowing for natural passive heating. Recycled brick - a remnant of demolished walls - fills the damaged parts of the walls and creates a boundary between the house and grass around it. All joints between the stones were renewed. A leveled terrain and stone paths made from local stone create a base for the house, while a retaining wall marks the boundary between the slope and the plain.

The floor plan of the house is divided into a living ground floor and a sleeping upstairs. The kitchen with a large island and table dominates the ground floor, as the family enjoys good cuisine the most. It is connected by a two-sided fireplace to a small living room in the glass annex, and on the back side, we enter the service parts through stone arched passages. Via the stairs, indicated by a couple of steps and integrated into kitchen cabinets, we climb to the sleeping area. The main bedroom at the head of the house uses an old round window in the ridge for ventilation and natural cooling. All interior equipment clearly demonstrates the intertwining of new and old, respecting the existing. The furniture is simple and not prominent, it just functionally responds to the needs of users.

We hope that such a cleansed and unobtrusive renovation lasts for the next 150 years.