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Restoring a family home...

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The little red 'etxea' (Basque for house)  is a traditional stone situated in my family's ancestral village on the border between the Basque provinces of Gipuzkoa and Navarra, Spain. The house has been in the possession of the Irurzun family since c.1460, when it passed onto the hands of my ancestor, Serafin de Yrurzun, following his marriage to Josefina Yeravide, to whom the house belonged. The house was occupied by my family until the 1970s, after which it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. In 2019, my father and I, both direct descendants of Serafin and Josefina, purchased 100% share of the property with the ambition to restore the house, gardens and surrounding forests to their former glory. I am very interested in pursuing media work related to the renovation of the house.

The house

Dendalegia is a multi-period house consisting of at least three distinct phases (c.1300-c.1900).Its core preserves an old medieval tower, which
once defended the border-town of Arribe. By 1460, it was in use as a farmhouse, when parts of the tower were transformed to make way for
its new domestic purpose. The name, 'Dendalegia', suggests that it may have once served as the local counting house for tax. One of the old grain-
measuring tables is still to be seen in the house. Most of the current structure dates to the period 1700-1900, when the house was expanded to accomodate its new role at the centre of the farming life of the village. In its current form, the house consists of four floors: the 'cuadra', the bottom floor where the animals were once kept; a second floor, used to accomodate seasonal farm workers; a third, which was the Irurzun family's private residence; and an attic which was used to store and dry grain.


The vision

One of my ambitions is to collaborate with a television production company to develop a TV show based in the restoration of my ancestral home and showcasing DIY, restoration and historical design.


The little red Basque house is an increasingly rare example of a traditional Basque farmhouse which is untouched by modern renovation and insensitive refurbishment. The aim of my project is to bring the house back into use, preserving its original structural features and making use of its existing collections of antique furniture, while staying true to the aesthetic and design ethos of the European Arts and Crafts movement.


The history and Design ethos

Through the discovery and presentation of. my family's history, I aspire to inspire you all to make the move and have a passion project like this. The dream to move to mainland Europe and restore a dilapidated property is still possible, and I would like to show you all  “how it’s done:"

The little red house, while sizeable, is not a chateau, and its form and restoration ethos will be attainable for everyone. Using a "can do" approach and DIY expertise in several areas, I strive to bring this property alive for all of you to watch.

The design philosophy is simple: step in onto the renovations that my family undertook in the 19th century and work and build from there. I aim to preserve the original fabric of the house, but building up onto their stylistic aspirations and finish the projects that my great grandparents were not able to achieve. Within this design, I want to use my historical knowledge to retrofit this property and bring a sense of whimsy and theatricality as I do with every project.

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