Casa Arte is a beautiful villa rental for sunny holidays with friends and family located on two hectares of private land and minutes away from deserted beaches on the Algarve.
Sitting on the rooftop and looking out across the Ria as the sun goes down, we know there is nowhere else we would rather be.
How would you describe Number42 in a nutshell?
Number42 is a large townhouse with spacious living areas, a rooftop, a saltwater pool and six air-conditioned bedrooms, all of which have ensuite bathrooms. It has a unique ambiance and is furnished to a high standard. The house is located in an ideal position for accessing restaurants, cafes and shops and is just five minutes walk from Olhão's island ferry port.
What is the story behind Number42 and what was your inspiration to create it?
It was a friend’s report about a vibrant fishing town with unique architecture that first intrigued us about Olhão. In March 2015, we left London (where we work as an artist and a lawyer) for a weekend in Olhão and within 24 hours, we were convinced that it would be an important part of our lives going forward. It was a combination of the intense blue skies, the rooftop vistas of whitewashed cubist houses and access to a fabulous market. Three weeks later, we returned to begin our search for a property and by June 2015, we had purchased Number42.
The house was built in the early 19th century for a wealthy merchant and although large, it had seen better days. It had last been used as a fishermen’s nightclub but had been closed for over 30 years.
Stripping out the building took us many months. But with the invaluable help of Jacob Cok Bakker, a well-known Dutch architect, and our project manager, Jose, we put our creative stamp on the building. In mid-2018, the builders finally left and Number42 was born, still with some of its 19th-century style but reimagined to fit the needs of 21st-century living, including a rooftop pool!
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design?
While Number42 is situated in the heart of Olhão’s old town and surrounded by vibrant life, it nevertheless has a monastic feel. It is spacious, with light, limestone floors and high barrel ceilings, as well as lots of outdoor spaces where you can enjoy time together or alone.
When relaxing on the ground floor patio, there is a sense of being in a secret walled garden. But on the rooftop, there is a very different, more expansive feel as you look down on the town below. You can watch the storks roosting on the church and the birds flying on the thermals, as well as the fishing boats and island ferries gliding past on the Ria.
To you personally what is so special about Number42
We love the feeling of space in the house and the changes in light and shade that the day brings. Sitting on the rooftop and looking out across the Ria as the sun goes down (perhaps with a glass of wine in hand), we know there is nowhere else we would rather be.
The house appears to be a classic Olhao townhouse from the outside but the building is much larger than it appears from the street. On entering the house you are faced with a spectacular barrel-arched hallway and living area eventually leading to a ground-floor patio area. To the right is a large second sitting room with a flat-screen TV and there is also a large kitchen and dining area that adjoins the patio.
A secondary hall with a stone and glass floating stairway opens up to the roof level to allow light into the core of the house. A further set of stairs at the rear of the house is situated adjacent to a ground-floor barrel-arched bedroom. The ground floor itself is laid with an off-white Portuguese limestone known as moleanos with underfloor heating which is only necessary in the winter months. The front stairs lead to two large, very high-ceilinged master bedrooms laid with wooden floors and to a smaller double bedroom and a separate study. The rear stairs lead to two other first-floor double bedrooms. All bedrooms are en suite (one with a bath) and contain air conditioning and ceiling fans. Beds are either 160 cm or 180 cm and in the case of two of the bedrooms can also be set up as twins. The first floor also contains a large terrace with seating areas and external stairs leading to the flat roof. The rooftop contains a second kitchen equipped with hob, fridge, washing machine and microwave, a studio for yoga, art or exercise, an outside dining area, a deck area with seating and a sunbathing terrace with salt water pool (7 x 2.5 metres) containing an exercise jet. A further set of stairs lead to a viewing area known locally as a mirante, which is ideal for evening drinks at sunset and offers spectacular views out over the water to the islands and over the old town.
The property has a rooftop saltwater pool (7 x 2.5 metres), air conditioning in all bedrooms, in the dining area and the TV room. There is underfloor heating in all the areas with stone floors which comprises the entirety of the property save for bedrooms. Bedrooms have wooden floors and are heated by air conditioning systems. All bedrooms also have ceiling fans. In addition to the main kitchen, there is a fully equipped rooftop kitchen with a fridge, hob and microwave.
The local residents spend many hours just sitting and chatting over a coffee while watching the world go by. We would recommend doing the same as Olhão works its magic on you. As you stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, you’ll come across enchanting historic buildings. From Number42’s rooftop, you can admire the cubist architecture of the town, which is famous throughout Portugal and reminiscent of Marrakech’s medina.
The nearby fish market is always fascinating and well-stocked with fresh fish including unusual species. Out on the water, you can see the fishing boats coming and going. The nearby islands have outstanding beaches that you can enjoy all to yourself, not to mention cool cafes and restaurants where the locals congregate. A ferry ride to the islands is an event in itself.
Additionally, you can tour the local salt pans and olive oil farms or go walking and cycling along the Coastal Ecovia. We can organise cooking demonstrations and yoga classes at the house or put you in touch with guides for birdwatching tours. Aside from its beaches, the Algarve is also known for its golf courses and shopping.
Number42 sits in the middle of Olhão's historic centre amidst a maze of cobbled streets. Within 200 metres of the house, you’ll find a bakery, several cafes and restaurants, as well as the town’s renowned fish and fresh produce markets near the waterfront. Around 300 metres away are the ferry terminal and water taxis, which will transport you to unspoilt island beaches. Unless you want to explore the wider Algarve, you do not need a car.
Spring in the Algarve arrives early and it is lovely to see the blossom on the almond trees and many flowers `bloom, The weather is generally sunny but the temperature is still comfortable for walking.
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