A modest Alentejo cottage gets a chic new identity

It is offered for sale with all the furnishings, chosen by the architect-owners

Based in Lisbon, the multihyphenate couple Catarina de Almeida Brito and Richard John Seymour trained as architects before embarking on careers in publishing and filmmaking, respectively. Yet their passion for rescuing neglected properties keeps luring them back to the ancient market town of Alcáder do Sal, near Comporta, where they are currently marketing their second architectural development.

Casa do Mercado is named for the farmers who once used the property when in town to sell their produce at the town’s municipal market, just around the corner. The couple took possession of the two-storey white stucco cottage – typical for the Alentejo region – after years of disuse, when the original floor tiles had come up, and the walls had cracked to the ceiling. They reinforced the structure to allow for an open-plan layout on the ground floor, with better flow between larger living spaces.

In their minimalist style, they refurbished the spaces with raw pink-beige plaster walls, built-in shelving, French oak floors and a coat of white paint, bringing in Portuguese marble for sterile surfaces, wooden windows and locally manufactured French doors leading out to the rear garden. The kitchen is fitted with new appliances; a splashback of hand-made tiles from Spain maintains the rustic charm.

The couple is currently selling the home privately for €525,000.

Included in the sale price for the Portuguese property are one-off handmade furnishings in keeping with the monochrome palette, like a bespoke oak coffee table by Lisbon-based French carpenter Paul Boucher and a raffia table lamp made by an artisan in the Algarve.

Photography: Richard John Seymour

‘We see our practice as refurnishing houses that are part of an existing urban environment – in this case the historic centre of Alcácer do Sal,’ says de Almeida Brito. ‘We design spaces as homes that we would love to live in ourselves and that are part of an existing community, and therefore it made sense to treat the furniture as an intrinsic part of the project.’

In the dining area is a handmade micro-cement dining table from Barcelona, bulrush and wood dining chairs from Valencia and a jute rug designed by Vincent Van Duysen.

The Japanese-inspired bed in the master ensuite was designed in Denmark. The ensuite has access to a revamped terrace through locally made French doors.

Photography: Richard John Seymour
Photography: Richard John Seymour

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