Halfway between Madrid and Toledo lies a historical town named Illescas, an enclave with a marked cultural heritage. Among its streets, we can discover some architectural gems in the form of various convents and monasteries dating back to the 16th century, which treasure some of El Greco’s works. It is in this context that we were entrusted by the client with the restoration of an old farmhouse dating from the 17th century.
The property is located right in the centre of the village, on the old royal cattle track. As a result of an exhaustive archaeological research and documentation work, it was possible to identify each of the singular elements at an artistic level, as well as the drafting of a report which included the elements to be mimicked and replaced with respect to the original architectural element.
Luxury interior design for a country house transformed into a modern oasis en Illescas
Once the client’s briefing was absorbed, we proceeded to presenting the floor plan proposals for the different areas. The central courtyard, the architectural volume to be respected, became one of the key characters in the project, through which all the functional requirements were to pivot.
A project of an introvert nature, which turns its back to the street’s hustle and bustle and recovers the scheme of the central courtyard, through which the building ventilates and one can wander, becoming the central axis from which to define the proposal’s argument.
Living room fireplace sketch
The project’s main script takes place on the ground floor, where the dining room functions are unfolded, almost in a single space articulated at ninety degrees next to the kitchen, which is also presented in an open-plan manner.
The living room with the interior courtyard views is guarded by a large library unit, distinguished by a gas fireplace that breaks up the wall with a horizontal strip. To separate the living from the dining room, we employed a usual resource that avoids the annoying sensation of visualising the back of the sofa; this resource translates into a bookcase unit seventy centimetres high.
Greco House is undoubtedly one of the most unique renovation projects of a country house in Illescas. A complete refurbishment carried out by our team and with the most personal historical script executed to date. For us, it has been a real luxury of learning.
The generously sized dining room is adorned with a coffered ceiling through which indirect lighting is projected, giving warmth to the whole scene. A piece of furniture separating the dining room from the kitchen serves as a visual screen between the kitchen’s dining space and the main one, both benefiting from a second open passing fireplace placed at a height of seventy centimetres, idea for the diner’s enjoyment.
Hall elevation blueprint
The project houses two pieces that have finally adopted a singular protagonism within the design. These are the entrance hall and the library office. These elements have been constituted as spatial connection axis between ground and first floor, double spaces that are divided between them by means of a vertical axis that includes the third fireplace’s nucleus, while at the same time using this support for the staircase’s development as a whole.
These two spaces were to be dressed in a custom-made suit to be unfolded from the upper floor, adopting the form of a banister, down to the ground floor, triggering the staircase’s axis. This same dress, would result in a wrapping for the hall’s wall panelling. This randomness sense given by the rhythmic sequence of wooden panelling and glazed openings is conditioned to a large extent by the functionalities to be met at each point.
Thus, there are places where this skin becomes transparent, allowing light to pass through and favouring access through the enclosures, which in turn define the different rooms and prevent acoustic or privacy interferences. In other areas where the skin is completely opaque, a repertoire of accesses to cupboards, installation panels or even a service bathroom is concealed behind it, all with the utmost discretion and without interrupting the “continuous lining” idea.
The natural stone paving, chosen to cover the two singular spaces we have been discussing, reinforces the idea of differentiation between horizontality and verticality, especially exemplified in the main staircase’s front view. The chosen format is a metre by metre stonepiece, laid with special intent, marking the orthogonal line at the start of the staircase’s first riser.
Library elevation blueprint
The library is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding rooms in the house. It acquires a minimalist language to endow it a monastic character, taking the suspended walkway into special account, which allows us to access the library’s highest level. Railings and panelling follow the same language that has been narrated since the hall, thus adopting a coherent idea of the whole set.
The chimeney’s core is the described volumes’ vertical connection axis. It starts at its base with a horizontal strip, made of the same natural stone chosen for the flooring, and connects up to the level of a bench where you can sit down to rest while undertaking a consultation or conversation. Just one point above, the wood cladding reaches the level of the upper floor slab, helping to a better understanding of the different heights that coexist in the same space.
The support structure of the shelf itself, part of a small custom-made carpentry detail, made based on the encounter between two five-by-one centimeters wooden strips. These slats do not touch each other because there is a ten-by-ten metal tube core that gives them rigidity and allows the system to support the horizontal shelve set.
The kitchen is located in one of the most privileged areas of the proposal as a whole. In the house’s south-facing wing and connected to the patio through a large window, a script of generous dimensions has been developed; clearly oriented to leisure and family enjoyment. This same space is raised in two clearly defined areas. On the one hand, touching the porcelain-covered fireplace cabinet, we see a round table, resolved with a central brass leg.
Next to it is a piece of furniture ninety centimeters high, which will collect the office functions, including small appliances for breakfast, as well as a suspended glass cabinet, where the small dishes associated with this functionality will be stored. Next, and serving as a dividing element of the total elevation, two tall cabinets have been proposed, which house, in an integrated way, two beautiful bottle racks, making the overall vision more sophisticated.
The large dimensions of this unique piece have allowed us to propose an orderly distribution. Through the design of a large central island, the high bar for having a wine with friends is resolved on one side and the cooking-handling and storage area on the other. Just behind it, the kitchen unit continues, and gives way to a large work surface, as a sink and dishwasher area. To the complete left, there are two tall modules, which house the fully integrated fridge and freezer. Following in the footsteps of office furniture, this kitchen area is also resolved by proposing a series of suspended cabinets, made of glazed material that increases the storage capacity of the space.
The materials proposed for this country house in Illescas are based on a sophisticated combination. On the one hand, a porcelain tile of large dimensions that seeks to imitate Carrara marble with oversized graphics, and on the other hand, furniture made of gloss lacquer in a dark grey colour, with a slight greenish touch.
The choice of flooring is a brave one, as we have opted for the continuity of the same wooden parquet that we have been using in the rest of the rooms.
As far as lighting is concerned, we have also opted for the use of the foseado as a theatrical element, which gives us that point of magic projected by the indirect light. Indirect lighting is also provided by the LED strips in the wall units, which allow us to work comfortably on the worktop surfaces.
The lighting is not only technical, but also decorative, using the sophisticated complement provided by the suspended decorative lamps in which the attractive golden tones predominate.
The central patio, which strictly respects its original composition, is the light pit feeding every room that overlooks at it. In it, a small pool is placed as a cistern, which reminds us of the ancient Roman impluvium; pool that acts as a fountain, thanks to which all the surrounding rooms are able to perceive the relaxing acoustics of moving water. This same hydraulic element houses, in its horizontal volume, a generous planter that will allow us to grow a series of climbing plants. This kind, thanks to their rapid climbing rate through the dividing wall, over the years will generate a lush vertical garden.
The window framing detail helps us give a royal touch to the entire façade, enriching the patio’s visual composition; a strip that extends to the garage’s volume side access.
In the courtyard of this country house in Illescas there is a small pool in the form of a cistern. This element is reminiscent of the ancient Roman impluvium. This pool, which also acts as a fountain, connects with the rest of the surrounding rooms, which are able to perceive the relaxing acoustics of moving water. Likewise, this same hydraulic element houses, in its horizontal volumetry, a generous planter that will allow us to grow a series of climbing plants. Plants that will generate a lush vertical garden.
The detail of the framing of the windows also serves to give a touch of regal style to the façade as a whole. It also enriches the visual composition of the interior courtyard. A strip that extends to the side access to the garage volume.
The suite is one of the key pieces in the development of this floor, which is why it accounts for a good percentage of the house’s square meters. It is planned in a tripartite distribution, accessing it through the dressing room, where just upon entering, we find a central island layout accompanied by a bench. The cabinets’ layout design is divided between open and closed spaces, the latter being made of varnished oak wood and a mirror, whilst the open ones in doors with aluminum frames and reflective glass.
This type of enclosure provides us with an interesting visual game, in which the indirect interior lighting projects a dim light on bags and shoes, dramatizing the visuals of the whole. The mirror covering in the background unfolds the fugal game, magnifying the suite’s central space perspective.
In parallel and just to the left, as we enter the room, we find the main bathroom, which mimics its distribution approach with its neighbor right next door, since it is also designed with a central island to surround. Inside are two sinks, arranged facing each other with two mirrors held by metallic structures with a light and sophisticated image. There is a contrast between the materials used in this space.
On the one hand we have the countertops and the shower covering, chosen in porcelain imitating black marble with light betas, and on the other, the covering of the furniture fronts, which are proposed in lacquered wood with a comb finish. Using the same resource as in the dressing room, we have a recessed ceiling as a decorative resource that provides us with indirect light that gently bathes the space.