About 15 years ago, Antonio Gutiérrez took a wrong turn and ended up in the mountains of Cantabria surrounded by cabins. Beginning in the 16th century these “housebarns” were built in the region’s high valleys to house livestock on the ground floor and people or hay on the floor above. Enamored with the lush greenery and mountain valleys and paths (reminding him almost exactly of a favorite childhood painting), Antonio, and his wife, purchased a rundown cabaña and spent the next few years turning it into their family retreat. The building’s only occupants when they bought it were a pony and a few cows and goats and a collapsing roof meant it was on the verge of slipping into ruin, like the homes next door. The couple wanted to restore the home to be as authentic as possible so they hired local artisan and builder, Jose Manuel, who also happened to be the son of the previous owner. He added a new roof, cleaned up the limestone rock walls and added new wood flooring between floors. The original building was actually two cabañas with a shared wall so they cut holes between the two and created one big family home large enough to house extended family and guests. The interior was furnished with castoffs they found in the streets of Madrid and donated by family and guests.


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