Just above the guadarrama mountains North of Madrid, where Spain’s royal family once retreated for hunting weekends at the Riofrío Palace, lies the picturesque town of La Losa. “It’s pretty wild,” says designer Pablo López of the city, which is situated inside a forested state park, just an hour’s drive from the capital. Four years ago, he and Iñigo Aragón, his business and life partner, bought a town house from the early 20th century in the area. The couple wanted a relaxed weekend getaway from the city, a rural location, if you will. “It’s not too far away,” López continues. “The round trip is so easy that sometimes we come just for a day.”
It was another home away from home, a late 19th century country house in the Rioja wine region, that got this duo interested in interior design in the first place. (López previously worked in tourism; Aragón was a fashion designer and photographer.) The renovation of that place prompted them to open their famous studio based in Madrid, Josefina Housewhose residential projects now include a late 19th-century villa in Geneva, a country house in Valencia and four apartments in Madrid.
The La Losa property, like its predecessor, quickly became a laboratory for new ideas. But this time the atmosphere was different. “We wanted it to be comfortable, cozy and discreet, but at the same time not too rural,” explains López. Once part of a larger agricultural building, the terraced house attracted them with its simple and compact plan, almost on an urban scale in only 1,100 square feet. They kept its simple design, original roof beams and whitewashed exterior, but revised virtually everything else. The challenge was to make it look light but not overwhelming, a feat they accomplished by making strategic use of mirrors and built-in furniture, including shelves that often double as seating. Lattice panels inspired by the confessional screens of nearby convents introduce the sun into the rooms and at the same time establish the grid motif that is repeated throughout the house, from the narrow terracotta tiles (common in the gardens of the southern Spain) to the checkerboard pattern that brings a bit of postmodern dynamism to the window niches and bathroom counter.
At the same time that they were renovating this house, Aragón and López designed the well-named weekend collection of furniture, which they have installed throughout the space. Pine planks support opaline glass orbs in a series of simple table lamps, the same wood reappears in a glass-topped graphic sideboard. These geometric and minimalist elements blend nimbly with the couple’s vintage finds (1980s). track lightingto Vico Magistretti pendant from the 70s) and collections of textiles, ceramics and art. This is where the color comes in: a vibrant 1950s riff on Titian Le Concert Champêtre invigorates a bedroom; one turned obi headboard accelerates another; and Robert Ladou’s pastoral horse paintings capture the region’s equestrian roots.
“The first thing we noticed when we visited the town were the horses,” recalls Aragón, whose camps at La Losa now regularly include walks and hikes on their agenda. But for the most part his weekends are, like the house itself, very informal. Aragón says: “We take it easy.”