Cover The living room has a softer touch courtesy of the sofas and armchairs, as well as the tencel and wool rug and custom-designed poufs that are upholstered in linen

Portuguese designer Cristina Jorge de Carvalho of Atelier CJC transforms a home with a delightful use of art, wallpaper and colourful furnishings in jewel tones

When Lisbon-based interior designer and architect Cristina Jorge de Carvalho was approached to design the interiors of a home in Cascais, Portugal, she immediately thought of how she could layer the space with an eclectic mix of contemporary objects and modern influences to create a sense of timelessness that has been her design signature for the past two decades. 

“I like to create harmony by playing with rich, contrasting textures and natural materials, and keeping to a very restricted and neutral colour palette,” says Jorge de Carvalho, who leads her award-winning namesake firm Atelier CJC. “The owners didn't want any major works done, so I thought of a few changes that could change the house completely.” 

These changes include brightening the walls and ceilings with fresh paint colours and wallcoverings and redoing the flooring of the house, while adding new design elements to give the rooms character. 

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Located within Quinta Patiño, Portugal’s most exclusive and illustrious condominium complex, the home was a “1980s house with very traditional Portuguese architecture”.

Sticking to that sense of classicism, Jorge de Carvalho used black and white marbled tiles to make an impactful visual statement at the entrance area. A 1993 glossy black Felt lounge chair from Italian furniture maker Cappellini as well as a vintage ‘90s chandelier designed by Jacopo Foggini are among the chic accents in the space. 

The living room exudes an inviting sense of calm. The designer stuck to a minimalist palette on the walls, allowing the rich materials and fabrics to shine.

She incorporated a mix of contemporary elements through custom-designed pieces, such as a soft brown sofa upholstered in velvet, marble side tables, and table lamps with polished steel structures. Consoles purchased from an antique store as well as deep purple vintage armchairs bring a soulful touch, whilst injecting vibrance in the space alongside the full-length curtains in mint green silk. 

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The impactful use of colour is further highlighted in the dining room; Jorge de Carvalho painted the ceiling black to make a bold statement. “I didn´t like the previous ceiling. The easiest way to change it was by painting it, and black was the obvious colour for me.” The ceiling formed the starting point for the decor. A marble table with polished stainless steel legs from the designer’s furnishings brand CJC Furniture Collection sits under a dazzling Murano glass chandelier from Parisian lighting atelier Veronese.

The team also produced custom dining chairs that feature black-and-white geometric prints. “I truly love the contrasting design and textures between the dining table and the chairs,” Jorge de Carvalho enthuses.

The kitchen is a visual extension of the colour and pattern play that continues throughout the rest of the abode. The checkered flooring in the kitchen is reflected in the tropical-themed monochromatic wallpaper from Cole & Son.

To “bring a sense of the garden into the house” and add colour into the space, the kitchen cabinetry is saturated with a pistachio green shade while the dining bench in the breakfast nook is upholstered in dark green leather. The creation of the nook by the bow window was a specific request from the client, which formed a space where “the family could share small meals”.  

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Bold personality continues to permeate the rest of the abode with colourful and textural wallpaper that lines the walls. The children’s bedroom suites are designed to invoke a sense of adventure with tropical-themed motifs of animals, while the guest bedroom and bathroom feature striking prints that are vividly lively and eye-catching. 

On the other hand, the master bedroom is a sanctuary of tranquility with a textured wall covering in neutral hues. The relaxed atmosphere is further amplified with pale pink curtains and cosy furnishings that soften the room. 

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“I aim to create timeless, elegant, and refined spaces that transcend current trends—for me, it’s essential that a project stands the test of time and maintains its elegance throughout the years,” says Jorge de Carvalho. “Trends come and go, so staying true to what we are and idealizing this ‘self’ in a space is a task even more difficult and satisfying than following a rule or a trend.” 

The project, which took a year and a half to complete, was a delightful surprise for the family as well. “They loved it! They didn´t expect the changes that could be made in the house. They loved the entire house, and for me, this is what matters,” adds the designer.