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Casas Na Areia exterior and pool - CasasNaAreia, in Alentejo, Portugal
— João: “It’s the tranquility around CasasNaAreia, the scenery and peace. When people are there and walk on the sandy floors, they’re not able to walk as fast as on normal ground, so it winds them down.”
Interview By:

— Please tell us a little about the history of the area of Comporta, Portugal.

João: “The land sits inside the natural reserve of Sado River in Comporta, which is a protected area. You can recover what exists here, but you can’t build anything new. The property is surrounded by rice paddies and sand dunes and looks out onto the Sado estuary famous for its stunning sunsets, salt pans, flamingos and flocks of dolphins.

The land used to belong to fishermen and rice farmers. The houses were built with straw and wood back then, and the floors were compacted earth. There wasn’t any concrete.

People used to live here all year round. They would even have their fires on the floor without any chimneys.”
— Casas Na Areia exterior and pool

— How did the project start?

João: “I had been looking for two or three years for a place to be a weekend house, and when I was shown this place, I knew this was it. We didn’t want anything fancy, just a summer house to be comfortable in where we can go to the beach and have friends over.

The project was finished in about a year and a half, and we were very surprised because in 2010, the CasasNaAreia was chosen to represent Portugal at the Venice Biennale and many architecture magazines wanted to write articles about the house. That’s when we decided that it wasn’t just going to be a weekend house, but that we would rent it out to holiday guests.

Our very first customer was a Belgian architect. I am a pilot, so I changed my flight schedule, picked him up personally and flew him to Lisbon. It was such a great surprise. One of the most rewarding things about the project is becoming friends with many of the guests. We’ve met some really wonderful people.”

— What makes CasasNaAreia so special for your holiday guests?

João: “It’s the tranquility around CasasNaAreia, the scenery and peace. When people are there and walk on the sandy floors, they’re not able to walk as fast as on normal ground, so it winds them down. And being around the natural buildings, it tends to connect you with nature. I think that’s the secret.

You’re also close to the sea and river, so there are a lot of natural elements that help you relax. And the area is a sanctuary for birds. There are a lot of storks and other nice birds flying around. It’s a special place.

There are a lot of things to do in the area, but some guests prefer to just sit back and relax, enjoying the location. In fact, a few have enjoyed the location so much they have purchased land nearby and are now building their own houses in Comporta.”

— How would you describe the architecture and interior design?

João: “CasasNaAreia basically has to do with an interpretation of how people used to live, and bringing back that history. Foreigners are always amazed with the houses, but a local guy wouldn’t be too impressed. He might think there are nice elements, but it doesn’t have the same impact.

We stuck with minimalistic architecture to maintain the historical aspect. We used all local materials in restoring the houses, so they’re quite small because historically they used whole pieces of smaller pieces of wood that was available at that time.”
— Lounge area

— Please tell us a bit about the facilities at the holiday home.

João: “There are four houses with a living room and a dining area at CasasNaAreia. Houses one and two have a room with a bathroom, and house three has two rooms and two bathrooms. The communal house with the living area and small kitchen has a carpet of fine sand, which when heated at night ticks all boxes.

We provide bicycles guests can take to the beach, and pretty much any amenity for a beach house, including bamboo flip flops. We also have a lap pool guests can use or lounge around.”
— View from bed
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