Spanish Architects Convert Abandoned Barn into Dream Home 1

Stable conversion Extremadura

When Carlos Alonso and his sister Camino (partners at Madrid architecture firm Ábaton) were looking for a country home for their extended family, they stumbled upon an abandoned stable in rural Extremadura, Spain and recognized it as a special place. High on a hill and far from city water or an electrical grid, the crumbling cow shed was far from the conventional image of luxury estate, but Carlos and Camino could envision a transformation. Their vision became a stunning reality, and example of what can be done with a pile of old stones and a little imagination. (In the photograph you cannot appreciate the babbling of the brook that runs through the house, nor the music of the cowbells on the hillside.)



Wild Spain with Michael Portillo – BBC Documentary 1

lammergeier quebrantahuesos

This 48-minute BBC documentary on Spanish wildlife is presented by an unlikely commentator. Michael Portillo, son of an exiled Spaniard and Scottish mother, was a Conservative government advisor who became a Thatcherite MP and cabinet minister. He left politics in 2005 to devote himself to media projects. David Attenborough he ain’t though he does a journeyman’s job of introducing some of the most interesting wildlife of his father’s home country, including the Spanish lynx, the most endangered feline species in the world with only 120-140 examples remaining. He also includes the giant lammergeier vulture that the Spanish call “quebrantahuesos,” “bone breaker,” which drops bones from a height so as to crack them and get to the marrow. Portillo’s best comment: “Picking over the bones of carrion takes me back to the House of Commons.” More…