Ricardo and Mafalda left town for the Azores. Now they dwell in a “little massive home” – NiT

For 4 years they’ve been residing in a home they constructed with their very own palms, in the course of the Azorean countryside. An almost totally sustainable residence that has greater than a roof and 4 partitions has turn out to be a lifestyle. However this isn’t one other chapter about love and the cabin. “Folks are inclined to idealize it,” warns Ricardo Pereira, one half of the couple.

“In fact we care about sustainability, however we now have been pressured to a big extent to dwell sustainably. We could not be linked to the grid, we could not have a septic tank. There have been many obstacles that pressured us to modify to an ecological path,” recollects the development of the home, which lasted over a 12 months, collectively together with his spouse Mafalda Fernandes.

Collectively they created “A Pequena Grande Casa”, a home inbuilt a 12 months and a half in a warehouse in São Miguel. It’s a roughly self-sufficient home. In different phrases, photo voltaic panels produce all of the power they want – and much more to energy an electrical automotive; rainwater is collected and filtered to be used within the residence; and the waste goes right into a composting system that converts every little thing into vitamins that feed right into a fertile natural backyard.

“My son says it is bananas in a pile,” jokes Ricardo. At present there are 4 of them and their kids, seven-year-old Joaquim and two-year-old Jeremias.

They reject the romantic concept of ​​an “off-the-grid” life. “Folks suppose we’re defending poverty, however we’re not. We dwell comfortably with the large advantages that our society offers us. Now we have dryer and washer. It is not precisely a life the place we will have our personal meals and that is all we eat. We do not dwell within the chilly.”

Each of them, aged 37, confronted the shock of a technology that fell right into a deep disaster in 2012. Nevertheless, they weren’t unemployed. By the way in which, that they had loads of work and initiatives, and for that cause too, the thought of ​​shifting to the Azores, to a supposedly freer rural surroundings, appeared interesting.

“It was the time of Passos Coelho’s rule, our technology was invited to to migrate. Lots of our associates have left the nation. The surroundings was harsh, there have been no alternate options. It was not a cushty state of affairs,” recollects Ricardo.

Later they realized that the guess was proper, however even within the pastures of São Miguel, initiatives continued to come back in streams. “I believe it is actually a persona factor,” notes Mafalda. “We’re at all times looking for extra issues to do.”

The couple left Lisbon for the Azores

She studied {hardware} design. He handled ending photographs after which the primary associations with handbook work with wooden and making frames appeared. Throughout a visit to the Azores, they fell in love with the panorama, and within the meantime they had been invited to work in an area agritourism.

They saved the thought and didn’t commit. Later, on a visit to Morocco, they lastly determined to begin balancing every little thing. They wished a “quieter place” the place they lived a “much less intense life”. “We got here to suppose ‘we’ll see the way it works’,” says Mafalda.

Sure it was. However the anticipated calm didn’t come so all of a sudden. They moved 5 occasions in three years, and every time they by no means felt actually comfy. The Azores local weather and particularly the development did not assist.

“The development will not be good and there’s excessive humidity within the Azores. You permit a drawer closed for 3 or 4 months, and whenever you open it, it is stuffed with mildew. Frequent musty odor, few home windows. And I at all times thought there should be a approach to dwell comfortably right here,” explains Ricardo.

They took a van with them, which they used for lengthy journeys, however which had turn out to be redundant within the Azores. They determined to promote it and with the cash they set off looking for a “nest”. They began with small homes, regarded for related initiatives overseas, consulted associates and invested in a plot of land in Fenais da Luz, a rural space a couple of minutes from Ponta Delgada.

Little or nothing may very well be accomplished on this space. The one answer was to create a home that may not violate the constraints. In order that they envisioned one in every of these small, eco-friendly properties. “House suited to our belongings and functionally suited to our household.”

For a 12 months and a half they lived in turbulent occasions. With a new child to take care of and a farm job each day, they booked nights and weekends to check their handbook labor abilities in a rented warehouse. And persistence.

“The largest problem was time administration. Cumulative parental fatigue for the primary time. The child did not sleep all night time. I ended up enjoying extra of a mom function and placing apart the design career. This additionally triggered some friction between the couple,” confesses Mafalda.

For Ricardo, there’s additionally a “romantic concept” of constructing his personal home collectively together with his spouse or associate. “When it is over, there is a actually robust bond, an incredible feeling. However it’s typically tough.”

They by no means thought-about giving up, however even thought-about leaving the home in half. The home was fully inbuilt a warehouse after which dismantled in half in order that it may very well be transported to the positioning the place it was reassembled.

Every block suits into the trailer, and since constructing will not be allowed on the plot, the home is cellular in each method, based mostly on a construction with wheels. Additionally it is a approach to escape the cravings of a moist local weather: the air hole separating the home from the bottom additionally helps to regulate humidity.

They had been by no means afraid of discovering the identical faults in it as within the earlier 5 homes. “We made the home on the premise of others that had been assembled in locations with way more excessive climates. If it really works elsewhere, it should work higher right here,” says Ricardo.

Along with the land, they spent about 50,000 euros. A price that advantages from the truth that they by no means pay for labour: they do every little thing with their very own palms.

It took a 12 months and a half to construct the home.

By the way in which, the home stays a “work in progress”. They lately modified their composting system to a vermicomposting system which makes use of the residue which is then transformed by the earthworms into nutritious materials which is distributed across the backyard making it fertile.

“There’s nonetheless a lot to do. We’re making our furnishings and we’ve not made the couch but. Then there’s at all times one thing to enhance.” explains Mafalda. However nonetheless on this unstoppable and insatiable spirit, the couple have already got one other job of their palms, which is now virtually prepared.

On the bottom, they discovered an previous wreck of 25 sq. meters, which they selected for a brand new enterprise. They’d two targets: to make use of it as area for Mafalda; as a room for infrequent visits from land; and as a testing floor for brand new strategies of sustainable building.

“We name it Ruína Menina as a result of it’s Mafalda’s area,” jokes Ricardo, who has been honing his carpentry abilities lately. For the brand new small home, they discovered a cloth, hemp cement, which, regardless of being “non-structural”, is “a wonderful thermal and acoustic insulator”.

For Ricardo, this capacity to construct his personal shelter is “essential.” “It was one thing earlier generations had that was misplaced. That feeling that you’ve the chance to construct your shelter, that your loved ones feels comfy within the place you constructed. Romanticism could be very current on this facet.

This lifestyle additionally serves one other function, which is to “give kids the instruments” to “be autonomous, inventive, essential and conscious of their environment.” “I believe that is sensible. That’s our objective,” concludes Mafalda.

As soon as the work is accomplished, the plans are shifting in direction of a peaceable life within the inexperienced of the Azores, not with out first fulfilling the promise that was ready earlier than the home was constructed: a four- to four-month journey by means of South America. “We wish our youngsters to expertise it too, to find new locations, different individuals.”

Click on on the gallery to see extra photographs of the Pereira household at A Pequena Grande Casa.

see the gallery


Transportation from residence.

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