Juxtapositions are at play inside this architect-renovated townhouse in the Alentejo town of Alcáder do Sal, where raw plaster and timber-beamed ceilings envelop clean lines and rough textures.
Creative couple Catarina de Almeida Brito and Richard John Seymour renovated the three-bedroom Portuguese property, which was built in the early 20th century and was most recently a baker’s home before their top-to-toe renovation.
De Almeida Brito and Seymour trained as architects before launching careers in journalism and as a BAFTA-winning filmmaker. The project bears the hallmark of their discerning eye and brings together their eclectic skills.
‘My partner and I have been going to Alcácer do Sal for about ten years now and have always been charmed by its historic centre and its sleepy narrow cobblestone streets,’ explains de Almeida Brito about the town, which sits on the banks of the Sado river estuary, surrounded by expansive rice fields and a nature reserve. During one such trip, the couple stumbled upon the 124 sq m townhouse a stone’s throw from the riverfront esplanade and town centre. They spent 12 months transforming it into a contemporary home – now listed with Fantastic Frank Lisbon for €400,000.
‘We decided to honour the history of the house for rural living and emptied the interior to bring out the raw qualities of the space: its roof structure, its thick exterior walls, its windows,’ says the couple.
The large, open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area sit beneath the high vaulted ceilings on the upper level, while three bedrooms and the family bathroom are on the ground floor. A simple material palette, in tune with the house’s rural setting, is used throughout, including aged oak floors, pink-washed walls, white epoxy and white azulejos with pink mortar.
Objects, such as giant red olive oil tins, wicker-coated glass bottles and old bank notes found during the strip-out have also found subtle ways to influence the new interiors, and intriguing details can be found in every nook.
‘We made a feature out of all the doors, shutters and cabinets, using vertical wooden planks that give unity to the space and further complement the rural style,’ they add, nodding particularly to the restored front door. ‘Its small windows can open through the hexagonal steel mesh, to ventilate and let the outside atmosphere penetrate the house – [it’s] a truly charming ‘village living’ detail!’
Tour its serene spaces in the gallery above.