This Revived 19th-Century Home Keeps Its Character Even With a Minimalist Interior

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By Matthew Keeshin / Published by Dwell
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A renovation brings this abode into the present.

There comes a time when a home needs to be renovated. After 120 years, this Portuguese building required a little more than just a fresh coat of paint. Tiago do Vale Architects revived the 19th-century dwelling by retaining original details like wooden window frames, the traditional eave, and ceilings while updating the entire structure with a minimalist's touch. 

The facade was refurbished to its former glory and improved with aluminum windows and better shading. It was important to the firm to maintain the character of the neighborhood in Braga, Portugal. The vernacular style influenced the city throughout the years by Roman, Medieval, and European architecture.

The ground floor is dedicated to a home office. The firm resisted condensing each floor into small rooms and integrated a vertical program. The workspace leads up to the second level that includes the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The firm refined the interior by prioritizing natural light as it changes throughout the day and built a slender staircase that gets more concealed towards the third floor, where the bedroom is located. 

The firm used white materials throughout the renovation. The walls, ceilings, and woodwork are painted white. Portuguese Estremoz marble is featured on the ground floor. 

The firm used white materials throughout the renovation. The walls, ceilings, and woodwork are painted white. Portuguese Estremoz marble is featured on the ground floor. 



The narrow staircase captures light coming in from both the front and back sides of the home. 

The narrow staircase captures light coming in from both the front and back sides of the home. 



Natural materials are contrasted with white surfaces. 

Natural materials are contrasted with white surfaces. 



The majority of storage units are concealed by single materials. The closet on the top floor is covered in wood. 

The majority of storage units are concealed by single materials. The closet on the top floor is covered in wood. 


The bedroom on the top floor features exposed beams and minimal furnishings. 

The bedroom on the top floor features exposed beams and minimal furnishings. 


The restored exterior of a renovated home in Braga, Portugal. 

The restored exterior of a renovated home in Braga, Portugal.