Name: Sofía, Santiago and their children Nina and Apolo.
Location: Beccar — Buenos Aires, Argentina
Size: 1,680 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years, owned
Sofia and Santiago met while attending architecture school, where they started dating and later founded their own studio. While working with their first client, they couldn’t believe the amount of building materials that were left (and wasted!) after a conventional house is constructed. When they finally had the chance to build their own home, they found a narrow plot with a crumbling house and decided to use as much of the structure’s old materials as possible to create their dream design.
They wanted to build a sustainable house where every decision was carefully thought out. Old closet shelves became kitchen countertops, roof beams were turned into stairs. They also insulated the windows for thermal efficiency and installed a green roof that collects rainwater for reuse.
When it came to decorating their house, they achieved a collected look by mixing contemporary items with inherited pieces and a lot of furniture they designed themselves. Wood in nearly every room adds texture, warmth and beauty.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Our style is very homey and austere, with rustic finishes but in a modern, simple way. We like leaving materials in plain sight, so they can be touched and age gracefully with use.
Inspiration: When looking at the plot it reminded us of Amsterdam architecture, all those tall narrow houses built so close together. We also think a lot about sustainability and adaptability. Being sustainable is not just installing a green roof, but thinking about how this building can host future uses.
Favorite Element: We love wood in every form; we used it to add warmth to the concrete. We like its versatility, and enjoy experimenting with it to build anything.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge is always maximizing the resources we have while being thoughtful about how everything we do impacts our environment. Designing the house to fit the narrow plot was one of the biggest challenges we faced.
What Friends Say: Everyone is surprised of how warm a concrete house can be. Our neighbors had reservations because they thought we were doing an apartment building, but once they visited the finished house they loved it.
Biggest Embarrassment: We designed the flow of the house to be very integrated but it has its downside: sometimes when meeting clients downstairs you can hear the children playing in the main floor.
Proudest DIY: It’s a tie between the second floor windows and the kitchen cabinets, both built by Santiago.
Biggest Indulgence: DIYing the upstairs windows was a lot of work, so we ended up splurging on the huge custom-made windows for the main floor.
Best Advice: We always tell people to think about everything that they want to experiment in their home: how light hits the rooms, every activity that they will perform, smells, textures… Do they like sun coming in the bedroom in the morning? Or perhaps in the kitchen? Having the chance to create your own house is a privilege that you have to honor by making it true to your lifestyle and taste.
Dream Sources: We developed a love for artisanal woven textiles so we are craving to discover hidden workshops whenever we travel.
Sofa — Ikea
Accent Chairs — AB Estudio
Rug — Inherited from Santiago’s childhood bedroom
Miniature dining set — AB Estudio
Framed photography — Agustin Garcia Oliver
Tribal Masks — Gifts from friends and family
Table — DIY restored
Kitchen Island — DIYed by Santiago with reclaimed wood
Copper pots and pans — Gift from Sofía’s mother
Stools — AB Estudio
Painting — Made by a friend
Windows — DIYed by Santiago