• Family traits

    Lisbon, Portugal


24 / 07 / 2016
After 20 years living in Belgium, Luísa returned to Portugal with her 10 years old twins. She realized that this house was “the one” as soon as she stepped in. It is a house inside a building, it has generous areas, a wide staircase and a view of the river that enchanted her, and that reminded her of her childhood and adolescence spent in front of the sea, in Granja. It seemed the perfect place to readapt to Portugal, and it was. A place of peace and happiness, and of encounters. The house was always open, which is a tradition in Porto but also in her family. Family and friends were often invited to parties. And it was also there where her teenage son and daughter gathered their friends.

The three interconnecting drawing, living and dining rooms, with a balcony over the traditional 28 tram, are wide but cosy. The scullery and kitchen (with pantry and laundry), are generous too, and it is around the kitchen table that friend’s reunions often happen. There are four bedrooms: two for the children, one for guests and Luísa’s, with a bright bathroom it was once the parlour of the widow who lived there before. Another bathroom used to be the old ironing room. She made some refurbishments when she moved, but she tried to maintain the character of the Pombaline house.

She made other smaller interventions more recently: the children’s playroom was converted into a dressing room, and the children’s bedrooms (who are now adults) were redecorated to receive friends. She no longer has curtains as she did when she first moved. And she changed the palette: the house is now less pink and red, but more blue and grey, on a soft base. In the decorative pieces it is the blue colour what also stands out: she has a lot of china (Chinese, Portuguese, and from all around), which she inherited or was offered by friends. In Belgium she used to go to auctions, and visit antique shops. But the furniture was mostly inherited: it came from the house in Granja, her Grandmother’s house in Porto, the farm in the Douro. Her mother, who was English, had great sensitivity. She inherited not only her good taste but the ease in handling objects and colours. In addition to the family history that marks her home, Luísa likes the stories she was told by different people who previously lived there, as the one about the last baby (they would have been five born there) who was born on the kitchen table. She has been collecting memories and making the portrait of this house she calls home.
Interior Design: Luísa Cálem
Area: 330 sq. meters
Produção / Production: Ana Lapão

Photos: Carlos Cezanne
Text: Joana Ramalho 

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