Build a summer house in sunny Spain

Build a summer house in sunny Spain

With land prices in Spain still pretty low, you might be considering doing a self-build by the sea... Let this contemporary villa near Valencia by Ramón Esteve architects spur you into action

By Coco Piras
This two-floor villa is simple and modern

The villa was built around an internal courtyard to the rear, while the front of the house is designed to be open, so indoor and outdoor merge seamlessly. Ramón Esteve used local stone to clad walls and FSC wood. The property has a rainwater collection system for watering the garden

'The house is located in an elevated residential area, which is dominated by the hillside that leads down to the sea,' explains architect Ramón Esteve. 'This view marked the direction that the walls would follow, in an abstract manner, defining the project,' 

The house is built as a compact volume of differing heights, in a style determined by the main walls. Esteve says the layout was designed very clearly according to the direction set by the walls, while two talls columns of wood, which are the chimney towers, act as a counterpoint to the horizontal lines which define the architecture of this modern two-storey villa near Valencia.
The rear of the property has an inner courtyard, which is clad in wood, and glass walls, which again reinforce the feeling that inside and outside are as one.  
The stone walls have cut-outs so you can see through to the next area
Floor to ceiling folding glass doors have been used
Looking into the house at dusk
Outdoor furniture by Gandía Blasco
The house has different levels
Pale local stone contrasts against smooth rich FSC wood
The staircase to the first floor is clad in FSC iroko wood
The inner courtyard is clad in wood

The structural walls of the house are concrete, and the walls that protrude from the front, forming different areas for lounging and eating, are clad in a pale local stone to soften the look of the house and make it blend in with the countryside.

Esteve says he likes to use local materials where possible to minimise transport costs and reduce a project's carbon footprint. He also likes to use FSC timbers, steel and glass in projects. 
'I prefer materials that are natural in origin, and I do consider environmental issues carefully,' says the architect, who designs only one or two private homes a year. The bulk of his time is spent designing public buildings and also furniture and lighting for brands including Joquer, Vibia and Vondom.


A downstairs bedroom is adjacent to an covered outdoor relaxation area
The bathroom has a Corian basin and bath
Windows have been kept narrow to allow in light but to reduce heat build-up
Wooden floors have been laid in most areas
The kitchen is white, in keeping with the pale colour scheme of the interior decoration
The rear of the house

The porches are orientated to avoid the sun in the midday when the sun rays are strongest, and to let the sunset in into the house.

The villa has a basement where the owners park their car, while the other half of the space is used as a rainwater deposit, collecting rain water to irrigate the garden and for cleaning.  
The swimming pool is filled with sea water that receives an electrolysis treatment to keep it clean. This does away with the need for chlorine, and it also makes the water less drying on your skin.  
The plants in the garden and in the courtyard areas are Mediterranean species such as olive trees, rosemary, and oleander. The grass around the pool is also a local variety that doesn't need much in the way of watering. 
With LED lighting throughout, all in all this is a low energy house to run and an inspiration to anyone thinking about summer, sunny days and Spain.