My House in the Countryside. My Farmhouse in Uruguay

5 Key points to take into account when designing your house in the countryside.

You bought a farm in Uruguay and need to build a house? Or do you have a farmhouse and want to remodel it?

Whether it’s recycling the old farmhouse or building a brand new one, we’ll never get the chance of picking the best possible location, orientation and best views as when we are in the countryside. The countryside offers the chance to build without almost any restrictions.

This is the reason why we shouldn’t ever miss the opportunity to plan the project, enjoy the whole process of creation and end up with a dreamlike farmhouse.
It doesn’t matter if you already have a house since there are many aspects that can always be improved and transformed which will in the end, make a difference.

To those who are thinking in building a new farmhouse in Uruguay, here are my 5 tips:

  1. Don’t skimp in thermal insulation, you’ll pay later. I know it’s boring and it can’t be seen but… In Uruguay it’s common to see houses built with thin, plain, simple walls which later become expensive and hard solving problems. For example, houses end up with excessive heating expenses in order for us to be comfortable in them. Thermal insulation needs to be properly installed in the walls, ceilings and floors. Let’s face it, in the end; the cost of insulations is paid once whereas the daily heating expenses will certainly have a larger impact.
  2. Set eaves in strategic places.
    We’ve seen it in many old farmhouses and it’s no coincidence. These eaves strategically placed, create shadow inside the house and prevent direct sunlight.

  4. Generous heights. The sense of space created by high ceilings can hardly be matched with any other aspect of the house.

  6. Ventilation. Ventilation is very important. Cross ventilation is generally required. Inner courtyards are a great solution since they provide ventilation but avoid the strong, cold winds and also contribute with permanent natural light. In rooms with high ceilings a vent can be placed so as to release the trapped heat, especially in the summer.
  7. Generate energy. The countryside is usually related with the need of fuel to obtain electricity, hot water etc. This, plus the need of a vehicle to transport the fuel from the closest city or town to the farm makes us wonder: Why don’t we generate the energy with the different sources within the farm? This will give us certain independence and we’ll avoid several trips for fuel transportation. Therefore, I recommend a mixed system using both, wind power and solar energy plus several batteries which will help stabilizing the system. Of course, every house is different but this system works well in most cases.

Designing a farmhouse can be a very enjoyable experience. Imagining what it will look like, picking the materials, thinking about every one of the details…But first we have to think about including in our design and budget, these 5 key points I talked about. Including any of these elements after the house is built will be very expensive and in some cases even impossible.


About the author: Mariana Caldeyro

Mariana Caldeyro Biestro is cofounder and partner of Ohno Caldeyro Architects. She is also partner and CEO at Caldeyro Victorica Real Estate, a family firm she inherited from her father and which she now manages with her husband. She leads both firms located in Carrasco, Uruguay working with a young and creative team with one objective: to plan, manage and make possible any project and process in which architecture and real estate are involved. The constant search for excellence, attention to detail, passion for both technology and design are the things Mariana tries to convey to both firms. Nowadays Mariana lives in Parque Miramar, Uruguay with her daughter Francesca and husband Rodolfo.

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