Villa Slow housebarn grows with 30m2 mini-version 🐌 (timelapse)

When Laura Alvarez and her partner Lewis Bailey got “stuck” for months during Covid confinement at their rural retreat, the housebarn ruin Villa Slow 🐌, they fell in love with rural life and decided to leave their lives and businesses in Amsterdam and move permanently to the mountains of Cantabria, Spain.

They soon grew accustomed to chopping wood, caring for animals (2 local adopted donkeys) and lots of outdoor activities (especially hiking and surfing). The pace of life here is not only much slower than their former urban existence, but they considerably less money. Laura estimates they spend about a third of what they used to and probably use their wallet only once every week or two.

Their new home had been a popular rental and they decided not to give that extra income during the summer months so they bought a second housebarn ruin in the valley and decided to build something as quickly as possible to relocate for the renters. Given their time and budget constraints, and the reduced needs of just two people, they decided to build a much smaller rendition of Villa Slow.

At just 30 meters (323 square feet), the “Little Sister of Villa Slow” was partially prefabricated in Lewis’ workshop (across the street from Villa Slow) to save time and labor. Because started later than they’d hoped (May instead of March), the couple ended moving into a tent during the summer months, but it was worth the wait.

They feel the new place is right-sized to their lifestyle and with more outdoor space, it takes advantage of the idyllic surroundings.

* Both houses are private property so please respect Laura and Lewis’ privacy if you are in the area.

On *faircompanies:


  1. Loved this couple and the aesthetic and minimalism of their home. And what a gorgeous setting. Maybe I missed it, but I wasn’t clear on what his background was. I know he spoke about the business of selling ‘record holders’ I think it was? But is he a builder or carpenter by trade? Because to be able to do what he was doing building that home was incredibly impressive. I also liked how honest they were about the lifestyle, that it wasn’t for everyone. That it’s hard work, you have to be self-reliant, as well as feel comfortable being alone a lot. Really enjoyed this one.

    • Here’s a bit of context:; Laura Álvarez restored the ancient stone housebarn (“casa pasiega,” a vernacular of Cantabria, Northern Spain) as a holiday home and rental. Then Covid hit, and the couple got trapped in their holiday house, but they liked it so much that they decided to pivot and move into Villa Slow as a permanent residence. Now the estate is slowly growing with other endeavors, explained in this video.

  2. I remember the original video. I love love love the design of the house. The symmetry, the materias and the landscape are just perfection.

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