Facing 3 streets, the apartment has great sun exposure and nice views to the surrounding areas. However, its original condition showed a very spacious, but also poorly divided and unbalanced interior, with many partitions, resulting in a needlessly intricate and dark plan. Social and private areas arrangement did not make much sense either – It was felt from the first moment that the house would gain if its organization was completely reversed. Nevertheless, it was a solid construction with a generous ceiling height, and great potential for intervention.
As the main project guideline, a solution was sought that would simplify the inner organization, provide amplitude, spatial fluidity and the use of natural light. From the original finishes was seized the wooden floor, which is very beautiful and typical of the building’s construction era. Maintaining this strong constructive element is a memory of the pre-existence, and also serves to unify the different spaces, giving them spatial continuity. Most of the original windows and closets and some of the interior doors were similarly reused. The design of these elements, which have been repaired, was simplified, painted and fitted with new hardware. This option had 2 motifs, economic and ecological: On the one hand, it makes no sense to spend money on new construction elements if the existing ones are of good quality and hold up perfectly well to be refurbished. On the other, it is a matter of conscience and good practice to reuse things rather than just throw them out.
Upon work completion, the house presents a very clear distinction between social and private areas. A very fluid social area now fully occupies one side of the house. It has at its center the living room and, in its extremes, a dining room and an office. These functions are organized in a single rectangular space, very long and flexible, with furniture elements acting as room dividers. On the opposite side of the house a large kitchen was created, a result of the union of the old original kitchen with maid’s room and toilet. The kitchen includes a more technical area and a comfortable dining area, separated by a peninsula. The living room and kitchen open onto the foyer, providing a continuous and fluid space, almost in the manner of a loft.
The heart of the house includes a service core, consisting of a guest bathroom and another bathroom for children’s bedrooms. This core is surrounded by the room circulation, allowing the creation of alternative paths and circuits in the house, something that gives it a degree of complexity and joy. In the most remote area of the house is located the master suite, fitted with a bathroom with natural light.
In circulation areas the ceiling was lowered to solve the visual impact of the numerous existing beams and allow the passage of plumbing, water drains and sewers and other technical services, including recessed lighting. In these areas were included floor to ceiling pivoting doors and were created some additional cabinets and niches. The white color used on walls, ceiling and woodwork offers the house great luminosity and freshness in addition to the desired spatial continuity.
Architecture: Henrique Barros-Gomes
Photography: Henrique Barros-Gomes
Date of project: 2013
Date of completion: 2013
Built Area: 210m2