Serrana House, Brasília

Perched on a hilltop just east of the Brasília city centre sits a rustic 57sqm/613sqft family retreat heavily inspired by traditional Brazilian farmhouses and surrounded by lush greenery. Matheus Carvalho, the founder of Coplanar Arquitetura, redesigned the original 1990s layout, embracing natural light and airflow to create an open, welcoming space.

The owners of Serrana House were seeking a retreat where they could connect with nature, family and friends, which demanded an overhaul of their existing floor plan. The original layout was “dark and disconnected to the outside world”, says Carvalho. By incorporating a series of outdoor courtyards and rearranging zones, a better sense of flow has been achieved throughout.

An eye-catching shade of blue (precisely: Bleu de France similarly found in 7MCH in Paris) accents the gate, roofing structure, doors, and windows, complementing and framing the traditional front porch lined with white bricks. This has been deployed by Carvalho as a nostalgic reference to Brazilian countryside houses from the colonial period, which were commonly painted in neutral tones with splashes of vibrant colours.

The front porch is shaded by a semicircle hit-and-miss brick wall, where two hanging chairs and a curved bench form a serene spot perfect for unwinding.

The front porch

The spacious living room is accented with colonial-era wooden shades and a large window framing the picturesque landscape. A muted colour palette on the walls allows the natural décor and locally sourced furniture to take central stage. Beyond the living room, the floorplan has been thoughtfully reimagined by removing walls and merging the kitchen, living room, and front porch to create a social area encouraging interaction and shared experiences.

The living room interior

A small wooden sideboard sections off the compact kitchen, where handcrafted white and enamel blue tiles line the kitchen. The tiles, designed specifically for this project, are an ode to the original house as they were inspired by floral patterns found inside the house before the renovation.

The kitchen interior

Doors painted in the same striking shade of Bleu de France found throughout the house lead into two serene bedrooms, both equipped with freestanding furniture, allowing for more flexible arrangements if needed. The master bedroom opens up onto a small courtyard, shaded with a hit-and-miss brick wall identical to the one on the front porch, offering gentle privacy while still allowing light and air to flow freely.

Adjacent to the master bedroom, another Bleu de France painted door opens into a serene bathroom. Smooth concrete textures highlight the bespoke white and enamel blue ceramic tiles in the indoor shower, identical to the ones found in the kitchen. To allow for more ventilation and natural lighting, a large glass door was added to connect the outdoor shower area.

Carvalho emphasises the importance of learning from traditional house layouts, especially when considering more sustainable solutions.

“By mixing traditional design aspects with modern ones, we can learn from a time when houses could not depend on artificial systems for lighting, cooling and heating as it is done today.”

Matheus Carvalho

With the integration of classical elements into a contemporary open-plan design, this tiny house exudes a sense of homeliness and nostalgia, creating a warm and inviting space ideal for socialising and entertaining.

If you’re interested in more artfully designed tiny houses, check out the Urban Cabin in Italy, along with a stunning reformation done in the Blue Mountains Cabin.

Images by NeverTooSmall and Júlia Tótoli