Stay: Blue Atelie

Trancoso, Brazil
08.29.2011 | by: Meghan

A few weeks ago, Mariana McConnell from Boutique Homes got in touch about some of their rental properties and volunteered to tell designtripper about the Blue Atelier in Trancoso–“a quiet, defiantly primitive fishing village on a stunningly beautiful stretch of Brazil’s Discovery Coast, a place that has defied the passing of time by staying true to itself.” From Mariana:

Blue Atelie is a small beach cabana modeled on traditional fisherman’s huts of Bahia. The exterior walls have been painted a soft blue that mirrors the bright colors found in shops and houses along the Quadrado, the main square in Transcoso. Karin Farrah, creator of Blue Atelie, worked as a florist in Sao Paulo and her love of nature is evident in the indoor-outdoor aesthetic of the cabana. Clapboard shutters on the windows and doors open up to a leafy garden and private pool and allow balmy breezes to float through the interior. Blue Atelie is located within steps of the beach, but you might find it hard to tear yourself away from the natural beauty right outside your door.

The interior of Blue Atelie is a mix of the rustic and the artistic, with decorative elements like an antique mirror and dressmaker’s dummy adding a touch of vintage elegance. Farrah’s artistic passion even extends to functional aspects of the decor. Instead of using traditional netting on the canopy bed to keep away mosquitoes, Farrah opted to use locally made lace, as she finds netting to be “suffocating.” In true Transcoso fashion, many of the objects in the cabana were not purchased but instead bartered for or picked up along Farrah’s travels. The entire atmosphere of Blue Atelie is light and airy and easy, with no separation between the vivid natural beauty of the area and the laid-back lifestyle of Bahia.

When I say Blue Atelie is small, I mean it. The one-bedroom, one-bath cottage only accommodates two people at the most. However, despite a small footprint, the cabana has a fully equipped kitchen and living area furnished in Farrah’s distinct boho-chic style. There’s also Wi-Fi for those who cannot be without their iPhones. Blue Atelie is a wonderful choice for honeymooners or couples who are interested in seeing a side of Brazil that remains invisible to most tourists, but a last note for those who favor tranquility in their vacation rentals: make sure not to come between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when all of Transcoso becomes the site of a massive celebration.


Stay: UXUA

Trancoso, Brazil
01.26.2011 | by: Meghan

After traveling to Trancoso on vacation, the creative director of Diesel, Wilbert Das, fell completely in love with the small fishing village. A few return trips later, he decided to buy a place–an old house facing the town’s Quadrado (historic square overlooking the sea), which had been restored to an Indian-style pousada with a beautiful but overgrown garden hidden behind the house.

Wilbert was in the middle of remodeling it as a second home/design studio when he had the idea of restoring some of the nearby houses as a community like “a hotel that’s not a hotel.”  Enter Uxua: nine individual, seriously stunning homes, all built or restored by local artisans, plus a social lounge, bar and library. Luxurious, yes, but in a rustic, traditional way.

Fallen tree trunks are carved out to form sinks, baths and showers; roof tiles are restored from old farmhouses; and local ceramics cover floors and act as décor. When Wilbert was renovating the spaces, he wanted to honor the color, exuberance and spirit of the centuries-old village. He used local craftsman, recycled and repurposed materials, and even designed many of the pieces himself (including the beautiful chandeliers made from dried indigenous berries).

“Some of our decorative elements were made by Pataxó Indians who live on a reservation just up the coast from Trancoso. One of these Indians loved the old trees and variety of plants in the garden of the property and described the place to me with the Pataxó word for ‘marvelous,’ which I borrowed and translated as UXUA, giving the hotel its name,” says Wilbert. “I’m a very rational Dutch guy but for me the Quadrado has some magic power that I have only encountered here, it completely relaxes me and takes away all the stress the minute I step foot on it.”

[All photos by Fernando Lombardi unless noted otherwise.]