Slow Down Time at This Zero-Energy Holiday Rental in Northern Spain
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Slow Down Time at This Zero-Energy Holiday Rental in Northern Spain

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By Kathryn McLamb
Laura Álvarez Architecture brilliantly reworks a stone ruin into a peaceful holiday retreat.

Located among lush, rolling hills in Valles Pasiegos, Spain, Villa Slow is a minimalist holiday home designed by Laura Álvarez Architecture. The property was once a stone ruin, and now it generates more energy than it uses.

Villa Slow is a modern interpretation of traditional barn houses commonly found in the Cantabrian mountains.

Villa Slow is a modern interpretation of traditional barn houses commonly found in the Cantabrian mountains.

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"Villa Slow is designed and built with extreme mindfulness and care for detail," says the Amsterdam–based firm. "The house is very respectful to the environment. Its design is based on the traditional typology of a Pasiego House (Cabana Pasiega), but with a contemporary twist."

A look at the former stone ruin. To create the home, Laura Álvarez Architecture repurposed the old stone and sourced additional materials from the local area.

A look at the former stone ruin. To create the home, Laura Álvarez Architecture repurposed the old stone and sourced additional materials from the local area.

The simple home's rough exterior stone walls and roof contrast beautifully with its minimalist interior. Two expansive panoramic windows in the living room frame the remote countryside.

The breezy common areas capture breathtaking views of the countryside.

The breezy common areas capture breathtaking views of the countryside.

Villa Slow houses two bedrooms that allow for various arrangements—the rental can be set up for couples, families, friends, etc. Each room also comes with its own bathroom.

The kitchen is equipped with high-end electronic appliances—including an oven, induction plate, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, and dryer.

The kitchen is equipped with high-end electronic appliances—including an oven, induction plate, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, and dryer.

Keeping sustainability in mind, the architects installed thick insulation, underfloor heating, and a heat pump to minimize heat loss throughout the home. High performance glass keeps the interior warm in the colder months, while large wooden shutters prevent heat gain in the summer and protect the house from the elements.

With generous height and vaulted ceilings, the two-bedroom home feels extremely spacious.

With generous height and vaulted ceilings, the two-bedroom home feels extremely spacious.

The home is located in a special natural area acclaimed for its spring water formation, and it sources its own tap water on-site.

Throughout the warmer months, the wooden shutters protect the property from heat gain.

Throughout the warmer months, the wooden shutters protect the property from heat gain.

"I grew up in the north of Spain not so far away from Villa Slow," says Laura Álvarez, founder of the firm. "This region of Spain has many of the things I always look for when I go on holidays: mountains, sea, natural parks, hiking, quietness, culture, and rich gastronomy."

The home's bright, minimalist interior contrasts nicely with its stone exterior.

The home's bright, minimalist interior contrasts nicely with its stone exterior.

The holiday rental can comfortably accommodate four to six people—or eight if four are children.

The holiday rental can comfortably accommodate four to six people—or eight if four are children.

The two bedrooms are located down the hallway from the common areas. Each room has its own fully equipped bathroom.

The two bedrooms are located down the hallway from the common areas. Each room has its own fully equipped bathroom.

A wooden picnic table is located off one end of the living room, creating a tranquil setting to enjoy alfresco dining while soaking up the sunshine.

A wooden picnic table is located off one end of the living room, creating a tranquil setting to enjoy alfresco dining while soaking up the sunshine.

Villa Slow starts at €225 per night, and can also be rented weekly. To learn more about this holiday rental, or to book your own stay, check out the Villa Slow website.

Related Reading: An Abandoned Stable in Spain Is Transformed Into a Sustainable Vacation Home For Rent, Live Large in These 10 Loft-Style Vacation Rentals

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Laura Álvarez Architecture / @lauraalvarezarchitecture 

Contractor: Soal Inversiones SL  

Wood works: Carpinteria Astillero 

Photography: David Montero