By the Beach in Portugal: Casa Costa Nova

In Costa Nova, a beachfront town in northern Portugal, the houses have flair. The front façades of the wood-framed pitched-roof structures along Avenida José Estevão feature colourful stripes and elaborate trim. The accents aren’t subtle variations of hues; they are bold bands and patterns of primary colours.




Espaco Objecto, a Portuguese architecture firm, has reimagined one of these houses, expanding a modest hunter-green checkerboard-tiled cottage to make it a contemporary family home.







The lot is narrow, with houses wedged into parcels that are long but very tight. The architects refurbished the original house, keeping the distinctive tile patterns but rendering the interiors more conducive to modern living. To expand, they pushed into the rear yard to create a full-block house, making it accessible from two parallel streets: on one side, through the existing house, and on the other, through a new structure that Espaço Objecto designed. They created a contemporary profile with a pitched roof that references the forms of the typical wooden “barn” style of Costa Nova, but its vertical wood slats give it a more modern look. The addition sits on top of a garage, creating parking for vehicles.






In between, they created a series of connective spaces that accommodate an open-air pool. The property is sloped, so between the two street-facing structures—the original checkerboard house and the new modern addition—the connective areas step up and down forming a series of terraces. In the centre, a vertical garden helps unify the different levels. Along the terrace and the swimming pool, a ceramic installation by the artist António Nobre references the colourful ceramics so distinctive to the area.

Photography by Ivo Tavares Studio.