In Mexico’s Valle de Bravo, Los Durmientes by Bernardo Chavez Peon Arquitectura considers how a home can bring the feeling of a forest within.

Located in the ‘countryside of Mexico City‘, Los Durmientes is designed to feel like it’s always been there. Architect Bernardo Chavez Peon describes the home as a ‘hidden gem’, enveloped by dense vegetation and hills characteristic of the region. “It’s peaceful and secluded,” Bernardo says. “When you look around, all you see is this vast open space surrounded by trees and clouds putting on a show between the two hills right in front of the house.” Inspired by the symmetry of classical architecture, Los Durmientes brings together the architect’s reverence for local materials and custom details, guided by the site at every step and turn.

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The natural materials used in Los Durmientes, such as linen, stone and raw wood, were selected to impart the feeling of being in a forest.

Bernardo’s client requested the home be warm and embracing, whether alone or with guests, and for space to entertain inside and out. The home spans five bedrooms, a living room with a dining room and bar, a terrace with an exterior kitchen and grill, and an outdoor dining space and living area. “The layout of the house is inspired by classical architecture because it incorporates elements such as symmetry, axes, visual focal points, and vernacular features like wooden beam ceilings and stone masonry walls,” Bernardo says.

The view is a primary element within each space, while local, natural materials such as stone and wood are utilised throughout – inherently responding to the home’s context. Bernardo maintains it was essential to use locally sourced materials to ensure the home was in harmony with its surroundings and to minimise the carbon footprint and costs associated with transporting materials. “I believe that the world of design has shifted towards synthetic and overly-processed materials,” the architect reflects, adding, “They can never replicate the same textures, sensations, or scents as authentic natural materials”.

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Almost all of the furniture was custom-made for the home. One of the architect’s favourite details in the project is the monolithic stone table that divides the dining and living areas, which he describes as a ‘completely natural monolith’ in its rawest state, weighing 11 tons. “I appreciate it because when you’re in the forest, you often take the presence of stones for granted,” Bernardo says. “Seeing it out of its natural context makes you realise the majestic beauty of a simple rock.”

These natural details are integral to the experience of Los Durmientes and the sense of calm and connection woven into the home’s fabric. “By incorporating natural materials and textures such as linens, stone, and raw wood tones, being inside the house gives you the sensation of being in a forest,” the architect says. “It’s almost like just inhabiting the house counts as a form of ‘Shinrin-yoku,’ a Japanese term that I greatly admire, referring to a forest bath.”

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Los Durmientes is located in Mexico’s Valle de Bravo in a clearing surrounded by dense vegetation.

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