"Villages are that, they are memories, they are life.
A life we would like to share with you."
History of the House
From the memory of the eldest, the house, along with that of the neighbour belonged to the family of the Santos, great-great-grandparents on my mother’s side.
The entrance hall was once a wine warehouse, where barrels brought from Galicia were stored on racks and sold in the province of Zamora. My family also sold large quantities of lump sugar and oil. I still remember the timber stands for the wine barrels, with its distinctive oak and wine perfumes.
The house was split between two branches of the family in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. An extension was then made to La Fontica on the left and rear, creating the existing kitchen and living space. The rear kitchen garden was also divided between brothers, as it remains to this day.
My mother, my uncles, my brother and I were all born in the house, hence our emotional attachment. The house is part of our lives. We initially wanted to name it “the house of Los Santos” but in the end we prefered La Fontica, in reference to the fountain that was in the square by the house.
Following the death of my grandparents, the house, which was already in poor condition, deteriorated further. My mother, who out of all the siblings was living in the village, did not let it deteriorate further, ordering the roof to be fixed every year. After many years she reached an agreement with her brothers and she became the owner of the house.
Following 10 years of abandonment, my brother and I chose to transform it into a Casa Rural (Rural House). Our idea from the beginning and with the help of my daughter who is an architect, was to renovate the house while preserving and saving as much of the original structure, being faithful to the details and original materials of the house. Local builders struggled to understand our concept to begin with, since it is common practice to gut everything inside an old house, only maintaining the exterior stone walls and building everything else new.
In the end, a builder from the village named Concasa took on the challenge alongside a local architect and artisans who were the ones to complete the project successfully.
All the original walls have been restored alongside the stone slab and oak plank floors. Original timber paneling and adobe render have been preserved in some of the rooms. The oak beams and sheathing have also been kept, although new high-tech insulation has been hidden behind, to keep the house warm in the cold winter months and cool in the hot summer months. The terracotta roof tiles have been salvaged from the existing house and other ruins in the area.
We wanted an image of contemporary architecture and decor in contrast to the materials and features of the original rustic construction, especially in the bathrooms and kitchens.
Life in the Village
Life in the village has a slow and calm rhythm, helping to recharge your batteries. The permanent residents have slowly dwindled through the years leaving in favour of cities, retirement homes, to study or work. In recent years, people with a connection to the village or simply those that have fallen in love with the area, have pushed to renovate old barns and houses to make them their homes, breathing new life into the village.
Most of us remember the village from a very young age, for the two classrooms in the school where children from all ages came together. It was play and freedom, work and chores. The children helped at home with the animals, bringing hay, digging for potatoes, collecting turnips, milking the cows, caring for lambs or going with the "buyada" (communal cattle farming). Although we were given responsibilities, we always had time to play.
As we grew older, those that had moved away would return for the summer months. We would still help out with communal work, going to sheer the long grass, separate the grain, spending most of our time outdoors with family, neighbours and friends.
To this day we share strong bonds and many anecdotes from these older times, especially as we get older and meet yet again on a bench in the square, around a drink in the bar or simply at the bell tower. Such fond memories of laughter, first loves, festivals in neighbouring villages and sleepless nights under the shooting stars.
Villages are that, they are memories, they are life. A life we would like to share with you.