Anderson Cooper says he was inspired to build a house in the Brazilian town of Trancoso just hours after visiting in 2013.
His partner Benjamin Maisani and friend Andy Cohen, who were along for the trip, thought he had lost his mind. But it just felt right.
“I put my bags down in the bungalow where we were staying, I walked out onto the porch overlooking the Quadrado, the town square, and I just watched for a couple of hours,” Cooper recalled in the newest issue of Architectural Digest. “In the late afternoon, the kids started playing soccer, the horsemen began to return from the fields, and the lights came on in the little fishermen’s cottages. It’s hard to explain the attraction, but I just sat there, spellbound.”
The well-travelled CNN anchor said Trancoso is like something he had never seen around the world – he described it as a “real place, not a Potemkin village for tourists.”
“Most people want homes on the beach, but you can find beautiful beaches all over the world. The Quadrado is what makes this place so singularly compelling. I had to be there,” he added.
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It’s why he and Maisani sought out designed and local real-estate expert, Wilbert Das, to secure a vacant lot – a long strip of land with a lush assortment of mango, cacao, jackfruit, banana and acai trees, the magazine describes.
The property was divided into four pavilions – a colonial-style cottage, two center guest bungalows and a two-story tree house near the pool. Per local custom, it was named Casa Anderson.
“I didn’t want the place to look fancier than the other buildings in town,” Cooper said. “I’m not a big beachgoer, as you can probably tell from my pale skin, so I really enjoy moving from spot to spot on my property.”
The main cottage boasts conjoined living and dining rooms, a kitchen and a veranda for alfresco meals, while one of the bungalows was built using pau a pique, or wattle and daub, technique – a process whereby clay is layered over a wood frame. The other is made of bricks.
As for the tree house, it's made of reclaimed timber planks and includes a master suite above and an outdoor living room and bar below.
“We weren’t obliged to build in a purely historical style, but we felt it was important to create something attuned to the local culture,” Das told the magazine.
Cooper admits that he doesn’t visit Casa Anderson as much as he would like because his job keeps him in New York City – except when he needs to cover events around the world – but he does keep a picture of the Quadrado in his office.
“I find (it) very meditative and calming. Just knowing that my house exists makes me happy,” he said.