From the very first moment, the young couple had clear what they wanted: it would be a beautiful single dwelling with an adjacent beauty salon. Ideally the lady wanted to work from home although separating her clientele from their family life. They also came to the office with a collection of photos of small palaces with ornate facades but also with luminous interiors with big glass doors. Their challenge was to combine both perceptions of a house in a single project; the protective exterior with an open interior.
The site was a rather small former orchard near one of Murcia’s monuments, Monteagudo. It was an Arab castle, which in 1951, a figure of Christ had been placed on top of. This symbolic figure of the Catholic Faith had now become a landmark for the area. The second interesting aspect of the site was the fact that single houses, which were homes of close relatives of hers, surrounded it.
After some weeks of dialoguing with the couple, it became apparent that the project would be something else than a response to their initial stylistic wish. One day, out of the blue, they commented on their habit of inviting their families and friends for lunch. It was a gathering that took place almost every month. Asking about the number of people attending these fiestas, the natural answer was that it could easily reach 70 people, like asking: Is that not the common thing? It was for them, and for that reason they had never felt the need of mentioning it before.
It was clear that this new factor had to be considered in the project from the beginning of the design process. In some way the house had to be able to extend a conventional dining table to accommodate 70 people sitting. After a number of proposals, also due to changes of urban regulations by the Town hall, the final design expresses a flexibility that allows for elasticity between family life and work, as well as between social life and privacy.
The access to the beauty salon is directly from the street. Being like an independent pavilion, it is connected to the house with an open patio that at the same time marks a limit. One enters the home taking three steps down that respond to the slight inclination of the land. The kitchen is to the left with a direct connection to the dining room. Initially designed for a family of four, the dining room is flexible and can open up its glass doors to the sides and the table be extended towards the garden as required. Thus, the whole wideness of the site is used during the summer but during the winter the table can change position and run the length of the house inside, as wished.
Entering the dwelling, the notion of privacy increases until one reaches the bedrooms far from the main entrance of the house. Between these two degrees of social relations is the living room, which again links to different terraces to be enjoyed depending on the sun and the breeze - to the east and west – as well as to provide access to the swimming pool and play areas.
In this way, the origin of the house lay in the big dining table accommodating the family banquets and, in the fact that it becomes the link between the dwelling and the garden. The house moulds its walls to life itself, adjusting itself to sudden changes. As we come into the house, the relationship with the garden becomes more intense and, at the same time, it gradually acquires a greater sense of privacy as well as breeze and views of Murcia’s valley and the Castle of Monteagudo.