Casa Olhão is a design home in the heart of Olhão that feels like it’s your own space. It features a few modern luxuries and hasn’t been over-designed, ensuring it’s comfortable and can be enjoyed.
What is the story behind Casa no Centro? How did it all start?
It was more or less a coincidence. We had a real estate project in Germany, an old building in Cologne, that we had our hearts set on. But at some point, it just fell through. I always had it in my mind to do something in the south, although my partner was originally against the idea. We looked at a few places — Sardinia, Ibiza — but there was never any spark.
Then while we were in Namibia, we decided to have a look in Portugal (I’m Portuguese). In Portugal, I know the language and the formalities. But I also know that my father is always repairing properties and what it means in terms of work.
We toured Portugal for three weeks, starting in Porto, and visited family in the north, then came back via the Algarve, Troia and Comporta to Lisbon. Our hearts got stuck in the Algarve where there was an urban touch and life, even in the winter. We liked that there were bigger cities, places like Portimaõ, Faro and Olhão. And it’s not called the Algarve (“Gateway to the sun”) for nothing, with 320 days of sunshine a year.
We found what would become Casa Colina (our first property Portugal) by chance on Facebook and flew straight down to view it on the weekend. It is very difficult to buy in Portugal — it’s hard to find a property and the Portuguese are tough sellers. We wanted to buy the land around Casa Colina, so we would have independence forever, but there were difficulties with the negotiations.
The previous owners of Casa Colina were English, so the Portuguese touch was missing and we wanted to bring back that tradition. We liked the Santa Catarina tiles, which were already there — they were an eye-catcher for us. We felt that it had the potential to be renovated and modernised.
The Casa Colina experiment was really very pleasant and although we are based in Germany, we found very good craftsmen with whom we worked well. I thought that the townhouses were so cute and that if we (and the bank) could bear it, we should buy a second property.
That was when we started searching for what became Casa no Centro. Initially, it looked a bit small (it’s only 70 square metres). But when we viewed it in person, we realised the upstairs rooms have extremely high ceilings.
Our architect, Christina, did a really great job. We have exposed concrete on the floor with Santa Catarina tiles in between and that light wood that we love so much.
So far, everyone who has vacationed here has been delighted. It’s hard to imagine from the outside, with its small facade, small windows and small door that it has such volume inside. Everything is really big and open.
How would you describe the atmosphere in Casa no Centro?
Casa no Centro is a traditional Portuguese house — it’s cosy and with true Portuguese charm. We have tried to make it not just a holiday home for rent but "our" house that we rent out. I tried to bring in all the decorations a unique touch.
A guest recently said that she had never experienced such a perfect, minimalistic house with every comfort.