Outpost - Casa das Arribas
Outpost is a historic property with 6 apartments in a unique location, perched atop cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean just a 40 minutes’ drive from Lisbon.
When you sit in the living room reading a book and look up to see all the pine trees — it’s beautiful.
What is the story behind Casa Sintra, what was your inspiration to create it?
Casa Sintra was designed by my father-in-law, Frederico Valsassina, who is a well-known architect, together with my wife, who is also an architect and interior designer. Her parents own the adjacent property and we used to go there at weekends. Eventually, we decided to buy the plot next door and build a modern house, which is Casa Sintra. We used only a few materials and elevated it off the ground because of the humidity in the region.
For us, the main thing was that the house is close to Lisbon, so we could stay and commute to work if we needed or go to dinners and social events in the city. We have had the property for eight or nine years now and only rent it out a few times per year, as we want to be able to use it ourselves. It is also used to shoot commercials for a lot of international brands because it is so wide and open with unique light.
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design of Casa Sintra?
It features big spaces and is surrounded by pine trees. It’s very beautiful to be seated in the living room and look out towards the trees — there are around 400 on the property. At sunset, the sun filters through all of the pine trees and you get this very unique light in the house.
To you personally, what is so special about Casa Sintra?
How it is decorated and how it relates to the surrounding nature. When you are sitting in the living room reading a book, you look up to see all of the pine trees — it’s beautiful. You don’t see any other houses, so there is a lot of privacy. Even at night, you don’t see other lights, just the pine trees illuminated.
When you enter the house, you walk down a hall that connects to the main living room where there is a dining table that seats 10 and a huge sofa, plus a smart TV. On the right-hand side is a door that goes into the kitchen, which is very big and has a table that can seat 14 people. We like to do big breakfasts and brunches here when friends come to stay.
The kitchen has all of the appliances you need — a large fridge, toasters and a Nespresso machine (we always leave capsules for guests to use). There is also a laundry with a washing machine and a dryer — we are always updating and improving the furnishings and appliances in the home.
On the other side of the house from the entrance is a corridor that leads to the main bathroom and a cinema room with a projector, a big sofa and a desk. There are also four bedrooms here, one master bedroom which has a large window looking out across the pine trees, another double bedroom, one twin bedroom with 2 additional beds and a single bedroom with a baby crib.
Also on the property is a garage that’s clad in wood where we keep our vintage cars.
There are a lot of places for kids to play – we have a tennis court, a big trampoline and a grassy soccer field. We can also cater to most guests’ needs and are very flexible in terms of organising rental cars and extra cleaning during the stay or making restaurant reservations. While we have a minimum stay of three nights, check-in and check-out times are flexible.
There is central heating throughout the house and a sound system, as well as lots of English-language books for all ages. We also leave many of our belongings, such as tennis racquets and gym equipment that guests can use. We don’t have a pool (or want a pool) and this isn’t normally an issue as the beach is so close by.
The UNESCO-listed town of Sintra is where most of our guests want to go but I would also recommend Cascais and the local beaches. The area is known for surfing and there are four or five beaches that we like and always recommend to guests, with the closest being around three kilometres away. The mountains surrounding Sintra are also great for hiking and mountain biking and you can easily drive into Lisbon for the day.
Casa Sintra is around 15 minutes’ drive from Sintra, 25 minutes from Cascais and 40 minutes from Lisbon. Lisbon Airport is 45 minutes away. There are three or four very good restaurants in the neighbourhood serving everything from seafood to Portuguese cuisine and these are roughly three or four kilometres away. Also nearby is a local farmers market and less than one kilometre away is a small village with a supermarket and a fish market. Finding fresh produce and a good bottle of wine nearby is no problem.
The worst time to visit is between January and March when it is winter and raining. But there are some people who like it because the house is very comfortable and you can look out at the weather while being comfortable inside beside the fireplace. Most people choose to visit between April and October.
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