Text by Paola Corini
Photographs by Luca De Santis
Sabugueiro, Arraiolos, Alentejo.
“Casa No Tempo has belonged to our family for many years. My grandfather wanted us to take care of it for the generations to come”.
It would seem that the grandfather knew he had an uncommon grandson on his hands, a master of the house like João, airline pilot and father of four, who could safeguard his vision and allow it to take flight.
Perhaps he didn’t imagine that João would add his own vision: to renovate the house to give it a more natural and contemporary touch, and then open it up to other families who were passing through so they could experience this rich and wild inheritance to the full, as if it were their own. All together with his wife Andreia, João’s alter ego and guide, an angel with her feet on the ground.
In the instructions on how to arrive at the farm/villa you’ll read: “Don’t put yourselves in the hands of a satnav, we all know that a satnav doesn’t always take you to a quiet place like this. Follow our directions instead.”
And then: “When you drive in our countryside you’ll go through lots of gates for livestock, make sure you always close them behind you, and, if you get lost, call Domingos.” And then: “We have good-natured horses and ponies for children, we can give you fishing rods and hooks if you want to try fishing in the two lakes on our land, above all for bass and carp, we have a rowing boat in the pond, Domingos will show you how to find it, you can take the four bicycles to get there. Let Maria José know what time to set the breakfast out in the kitchen every day, unless you want to do it yourself of course.”
They’re practically handing over the keys for a family space, a vast, free natural space that goes beyond the idea of private property. And you’ll get used to it. You’ll get used to the vastness and the silences, interrupted by the echo of Domingos calling his animals to feed.