Casa em Afife is an architect-designed holiday rental a short walk from the beautiful beach of Afife.
What is the story behind Casal Villas, what was your inspiration to create it?
I went to Porto when I was 18 and fell in love with the city and always wanted to return. In the summer of 2019, Stefan and I went on a road trip through Portugal and the country really touched him as well. He works as an architect and I am running a design agency, so we had this idea to find houses that weren’t “standard” but “special”.
First, we bought a house in Porto, which we also rent. But we wanted to have something in the countryside and ended up in the north of Portugal because it’s really green and fewer tourists. There are secret places to discover and amazingly beautiful natural spots. You can go to the beaches to swim and surf, you can go hiking - this is what we really like about it.
We found this property in 2021. It comprises twin houses, which can be rented together or separately. It was previously owned by two families, with each having half of it.
How would you describe the atmosphere and the interior design of Casal Villas?
The design was by a Portuguese architect, with this concept of having two “boxes” in a shell that move like a matchbox. What is really striking is that it’s a very simple and minimalistic form that’s placed in a way that you look down on the valley. It’s really beautiful because you enter via a long staircase to reach an archway that frames the countryside. We did a few renovations, such as painting, but our main focus was the interior design, which combines classic design furniture with locally produced Portuguese pieces.
When Stefan initially convinced me to see the house, I wasn’t sure, as I’m really a city person and it was in the countryside. Even though it’s not far from cafes, restaurants and beaches, I still wasn’t sure. But as soon as you drive along the road leading to the house and the landscape opens itself to you, it’s a kind of peaceful majesty. Inside, you have this breathtaking view and feel as though you are floating on this green hill above the valley, with this amazing view that appears like a picture.
It’s very quiet and all you can hear are the sounds of the animals. There are some sheep on the neighbouring hill wandering around — children always like sitting there watching them. When you arrive, the peace just captures you and I have never been so happy.
To you personally, what makes Casal Villas so special?
We are very attached to the house. It is a place that we use ourselves and that has our personal touches and perspective. You have freedom and it’s peaceful, light and airy. You feel like you are floating and whenever you look into the valley, you have this image of a dream Portuguese landscape framed by modern architecture.