When friends of mine returned from a trip to southern Portugal last month, they told me all about their secret find:
Casa Modesta, a rural guest house on the Ria Formosa Nature Park in the Algarve. Before owner Carlos Fernandes and his sister, Vânia Brito Fernandes, inherited the house from their grandparents, it was a small 1940s house typical of the region. Vânia, who is an architect and a partner at PAr, a women-run design firm in Lisbon, renovated the house into a modernist white stucco retreat. Carlos named it after their mother, Modesta Maria, and worked with Albio Nascimento and Kathi Stertzig of The Home Project to design the interiors of the nine guest rooms. Contact Casa Modesta for booking information.
Alex Reyto for the Perfect Hideaway, unless otherwise noted, all courtesy of Casa Modesta. Above: The long house has nine guest rooms, each with its own private patio. Above: Architect Vânia Brito Fernandes worked with her partners Joana Carmo Simões and Susana Dos Santos Rodrigues of PAr to conceive of the two divided modernist properties: one with guest rooms and the other for communal spaces. Above: The communal kitchen is used for cook-ins, culinary classes, and workshops. Above: The architects built a kitchen island from Canadian Douglas fir from Lacecal Habitar. The countertops are made from a local stone called Brecha Algarvia and are fitted with Smeg ceramic cooktops. The pendant range hood is the Ikea Läckerbit. Above: Glass bottles are encased in colorful crochet, Casa Modesta offers workshops on the technique, which is based on the local nautical tradition of crocheting fishing wire around glass. Above: The kitchen has a traditional woodstove. The dark cork pendant light is by The Home Project. Above: The dining room table and shelves are made from Canadian Douglas fir from Lacecal Habitar. Above: The brass swing arm sconces are designed by PAr. Above: In the communal living room, furniture by PAr is inspired by the architect and owner’s grandfather, Joaquim Modesto de Brito, and traditional Portuguese craftsmanship. Above: The hotelier’s counter and front-of-house area. Above: A view of the brick path connecting the two white buildings. Above: Traditional terracotta pots abound. Above: A view of one of the bedrooms with a Canadian Douglas fir panel headboard and cork side table (inspired by old fisherman’s benches) by PAr. Above: The bedroom lights, sconces, and pendants are made of cork and brass by The Home Project. The brass door handles are from Portuguese brand Bruma. Above: The shower is clad in handmade matte white porcelain tiles. The brass shower fixtures are from Bruma; shown here is the Elite Brass Shower Head. Above: A view into the bedroom from the bath, privacy is afforded via a pocket door designed by the architects. Above: The faucets, as before, are from Bruma. The brass pendant light is by The Home Project; they make a similar style in copper, off the shelf. Above: The guest bedrooms have headboards made of cork. Above: Traditional woven caps in the entryway are on offer for guests. Above: Casa Modesta’s terracotta wine cave. Above: A compact spa room. Above: The pool surround is made of terracotta tile. Above: Portuguese Arcalo Gonçalo Chairs and Arcalo Plain Table in white with a cork seat and top. Above: A view across the building’s rooftop. In the distance: the individual private patios of the upstairs bedrooms. Above: The property sits on acres of almond and olive trees near the Ria Formosa Nature Park in the Algarve region. Casa Modesta is located at Quatrim Do Sul, 8700-128 Olhão, Algarve, in Portugal.
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