A Family’s Forsaken Stone Farmhouse in Spain Is Delicately Restored

A Family’s Forsaken Stone Farmhouse in Spain Is Delicately Restored

By Julia Brenner / Photos by Marcela Grassi
Returning to old stomping grounds, two siblings enlist Acabadomate to revive the 19th-century residence in Catalonia.

Tucked among the rolling hills of the Alt Urgell region of Catalonia, this 1894 farmhouse had remained in the same family for generations but tumbled into disrepair after the last living owner moved away. In 2017, the owner’s adult children decided to restore the abandoned property, which includes a main house, barn, and adjacent animal paddock—and reinvent the farm into a modern family retreat.

The farmhouse, originally built in 1894, is now a recognized cultural heritage site.

The siblings commissioned Barcelona-based architecture firm, Acabadomate, to rehabilitate the 2,100-square-foot structure. The team focused on restoring the main house and the surrounding exterior spaces while "maintaining a criterion of minimal intervention on the facade so as not to alter the rural nature of this old and simple farmhouse," says architect Valeria Merola.

The original stone facade of the farmhouse was left intact to preserve its rural character.  

Originally built as a multilevel, multipurpose structure, the interior of Can Castellnou featured compact living spaces on the ground floor, a top-floor loft for food storage, and a basement used for baking and wine storage.

The updated entrance to the farmhouse features a renovated staircase and guest bathroom. 

 Transitional zones were added between floors using concrete landings and a redrawn staircase  made of natural wood and iron. 

One of the primary alterations to the interior involved connecting all three floors, which were previously difficult to access, via a new staircase. To create a friendlier flow between floors, the team opened up the three levels and added transitional zones using concrete landings, noting that concrete was intentionally chosen as a signifier of spaces that have been "blurred by the passage of time." 

The basement of the farmhouse was traditionally used for breadmaking and wine storage. 

In order to connect the main floor to the basement, the architects used the small "existing hole" as their starting point, but created a new staircase with wider, wooden treads and modern, minimalist iron railing.

The top-floor loft was originally used to store food, but has been converted to bedrooms. 

The cramped rooms were opened up to create a feeling of spaciousness and enhance the passage of light. To expand the floor plan, Acabadomate removed the walls separating the living and dining room and kitchen, which resulted in one continuous space.

A newly added bedroom sits on the second floor of the farmhouse. 

The bedrooms feature stone walls and rustic timber ceilings that slope toward the floor.

New windows and skylights were added for natural light and ventilation, opening up the bedrooms to the surrounding mountain views. 

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New windows and skylights were added to remedy the exceedingly dark home. They also frame the surrounding landscape while improving natural light and ventilation throughout the residence. 

The spacious, central living area looks out on a bucolic landscape.

The original stone walls and wood ceiling beams were cleaned and restored to their natural finish.   

All new materials and fixtures were selected to work harmoniously with the structure’s historic character. 

Because the farmhouse is a registered heritage site, the architects strove to salvage and celebrate elements of the original structure as much as possible. Original stone walls and wooden ceiling beams were thoroughly cleaned to reveal the beauty of their natural finish, while fresh white paint and new oak flooring were added to brighten the interior and create an amicable, welcoming space.  

Alcoves and open shelving in the kitchen allow dishware and other accessories to be on display.

The architectural team worked with a local carpenter to design and craft the kitchen and bathroom furniture, using natural materials native to the region.

Triangular shelves make use of a corner in the open kitchen and dining space.

While the renovation included the addition of new bedrooms on the second floor, one original bedroom located directly off of the kitchen was kept structurally intact with only aesthetic updates added.

The team kept the wall separating the kitchen from the ground floor bedroom intact, which is true to the original farmhouse construction.

Rough-hewn finishes in the first-floor bedroom speak to the farmhouse character.

Though modern comforts were added, such as additional storage space and new kitchen and bathroom amenities, the team used new materials that "dialogue harmoniously with existing materials," notes Merola: oak and green board flooring, lime walls, and wood and iron stairs.

Modern bathrooms were installed using natural materials and simple fixtures.

Concept to completion, the two-year-long renovation and restoration project brings new life to an old farmhouse. Using a thoughtful approach that incorporated natural materials, tasteful updates, and smart space planning, Merola and the Acabadomate team have created a simple and beautiful family home that balances historical preservation and modern livability. 

A peaceful outdoor terrace, created with gravel and newly planted trees, overlooks the surrounding countryside.

Related Reading: 

Joan Lao, Adalina Coromines, and Africa Lao Turn an Old Spanish Farmhouse Into an Incredible Home 

A Divine Intervention Is Staged For This 16th-Century Spanish Church 

This Low-Impact Home Links a Family Closer to Each Other and the Spanish Landscape

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record:  Valeria Merola, ACABADOMATE / @acabadomate

Structural Engineer: Jorge Martin 

Collaborators: Jordi Pujol Preciado, quantity surveyor; Josep Porta Terres, installations and interior carpentry  

Builder: A.f.p.e. 

Manufacturers: exterior Carpentry: Carinbisa, lighting: La Variété, Zangra, furniture: Lufe

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