Streamlined, rectilinear shapes and lots of glass add up to sophisticated style in Residência Laranjeiras (Orange Trees House). Located on the coast, just south of Rio de Janeiro, it is the summer home of an entrepreneur from São Paulo and his family. Spacious, open and uncluttered, the home’s design shines the spotlight on its privileged location on one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Brazil. With its palm tree-studded ocean view and glossy, modern furnishings, the ambience evokes a discreet, relaxed version of old Hollywood Hills glamour right down to the infinity swimming pool and expansive windows.
The 950-square-metre house, which was designed and decorated by architect Fernanda Marques, was finished in 2009. The main structural material is weather-resistant steel, chosen for its technical qualities as well as the freedom of design it allowed. It was then cloaked in wood to blend it in with its surroundings. The warm, natural colour and texture of the wood link the house with the lush rainforest that surrounds it – Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, home to several endangered species, is a designated World Biosphere Reserve. The wood softens what could otherwise be the rather hard edges of the home’s ultra-contemporary style.
This juxtaposition of the sleekly modern and the subtly rustic is a successful marriage – a perfect case of opposites attracting. The mix is carried through in decor and finishings throughout the house. Shiny lacquered and mirrored surfaces and steel rub shoulders with straw and reclaimed wood. Some of the lighting fixtures were designed with special finishes such as weathered steel. A crystal-studded fishing net chandelier by designer Ingo Maurer that hangs over the dining room table stands out.
The bathrooms also have a modern aesthetic. A mirrored wall backs a suspended, seamless sink and counter made of wood. Navona Bruto travertine marble, which was used for floors and in the bathrooms, is smooth and cool but at the same time natural and textural, creating a bridge between the high gloss and the rustic. Elsewhere, works of art by Claudia Jaguaribe and Beatriz Milhazes were purchased specifically for this home. In the bedrooms, brightly coloured linens were used to add a tropical feeling.
Everything was chosen to reinforce a contemporary visual effect while maintaining the air of a beach house. All materials had to be strong enough to stand up to the corrosive ocean air, and furniture had to be low enough not to interfere with the sea view visible throughout the house thanks to vast expanses of glass wall.
The house has an open-plan living and dining room integrated with a large covered terrace, a master suite, maid’s room and home theatre – which can be used as a guest room – on the ground floor and two bedroom suites on the first floor. The main objective was to take advantage of the spectacular view.
The connection between indoors and out in this extraordinary beachfront location is fundamental. From the low-profile main entrance covered with wooden trellis, one can see straight through the house to the palm trees and the beach beyond. The living room is a double-height, steel- and glass-enclosed box, which with an adjacent garden area blurs the lines between the home’s interior and exterior. The master suite on the ground floor, with its panoramic view of the sea, opens directly to the outside. An exterior staircase gives direct access from upstairs bedrooms to the outdoor pool area and the beach – the natural hub of activity for the residents of this truly magnificent holiday home.