Today Emre Şenoğlu is sharing with us his family’s vacation home in Urla on the Aegean coast of Turkey. The small stone cottage is roughly 8 m by 5 m and was designed by Emre’s father, architect Necdet Şenoğlu.
“The house I had in mind wasn’t an exact copy of the ‘village house’. It was something that belonged to this land, almost as if it was made out of the earth lying here.”
– Necdet Şenoğlu
We first came across this piece of land during a sightseeing trip. It was apparent that it once had gone through rich and abundant times. But it looked dull and abandoned now. The first thing we set out to do after buying the land was to take care of the trees. We took care of the walnut and olive trees, which cover most of the land. The tall poplar tree was like a beacon that stood out amongst all the trees.
This 13,000 square meter piece of land we bought soon became our weekend getaway place. We planned a small house in the year 1996, maintaining and preserving the nature of the land we wanted to build on. We gathered stones over the years. We looked out for genuine antique doors, fireplace stones, door handles. We started building the house once we had gathered enough. We tried to be present during the construction as much as we could.
The walls are made out of a two-layered construction of stone and bricks. This results in a 60 cm thick wall, thus helping regulate the heat inside the house. It allows the house to stay cool in summers, and preserves the heat inside during winters. The roof is carried by a simple wooden truss construction. This allows the space underneath to be used as a sleeping space. The front porch was designed as the main outdoor space, shaded with grape vines. The side terrace was shaped after the existing trees, proving a larger outdoor surface.
Nowadays, the cottage is more than just a getaway place. We try to keep it well maintained and spend time working in the field. There are approximately 600 olive trees, a 1,500 square meter vineyard and a variety of fruit trees. We produce our own olive oil, pressed at the local factory. And for the past 5 to 6 years, along with the help of other friends, we produce our own wine.
Another change is that we’ve started opening our house to others, in order to share this piece of land we greatly cherish. So far we’ve had plenty of guests; couples that come for honeymoons or just to relax, friends that want to escape from the urban life, families that want to have a calm weekend. We received great feedback, and it gives us more energy to work with this piece of land.
As time passes, we realize that we want to do more with our cottage. Surely in the future, we want to increase and refine our production. And perhaps we will achieve this by the help of our future guests. – Emre Şenoğlu
If you are planning a vacation in the Mediterranean, the Şenoğlu family’s cottage can be rented via Airbnb.
Photographs by Ümit Yeşildağ and Emre Şenoğlu.
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