Cover A beautiful blue painting by Portuguese artist Inez Teixeira adds drama to the dining room

Designed by Maison Amarande, this cosy home in Lisbon, Portugal, features an ample use of light wood and a simple colour palette

“I always start by observing the exterior environment before initiating the design process,” says French designer Laurence Beysecker, co-founder of Portugal-based multidisciplinary design studio Maison Amarande. “(When I first saw this property), I immediately thought it had great potential for a pool with the garden at the back. It also had a great view of the charming Amoreiras Garden with a lovely white chapel on the other side.”

Nestled amidst idyllic surroundings, this 19th-century building in Lisbon, Portugal, boasts traditional Portuguese architectural elements such as large stone window frames, decorative metalwork balconies, and a beautifully carved wooden entry door. Serving as an abode for a family of three, the design team sought to inject a modern aura into the historical house. 

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“The clients wanted a large open-plan living space and were also looking for convenient direct access to the garden and the pool,” says Beysecker. “Specifically, the brief was to design an elegant and comfortable family house in a contemporary style with a warm and natural feel, especially around the central staircase.” 

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The staircase, which connects the four-storey apartment together, is a modern, sculptural statement that’s a visual highlight. “Lisbon-based architect Pedro Carrilho was in charge of the architecture, but we collaborated with him in a smooth dialogue to design the minimalist stairs,” shares the French designer. “We worked a lot on the details with the front and side gaps between materials for a visually light effect. Initially, we had planned to put a handrail, but in the end, we loved the pureness so much that we decided not to.”

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A large and vibrant silk tapestry livens up the stair area. “We had a tall wall that needed dressing up,  and so we collaborated with the talented designer duo Xander and Leon from XandlAmsterdam to create a huge tapestry made of dyed Khady silk fabric,” enthuses Beysecker. “We love the result!” 

Art is one of the key elements that the designer stresses importance on as it “defines the soul of a home”, and the bold textile art adds a burst of colour into the serene home that features neutral hues. “I was inspired by the white colour of the chapel and the beige grey tones of the viaduct pillars facing the house,” says the designer, on the colour palette of the home. “Additionally, my client is from Belgium and she loves neutral mineral colours. I suggested creating dynamic harmony by adding a few touches of accent colours.”

The open-plan living room, for example, exudes a calm and elegant atmosphere with its white walls. To elevate the setting and add visual interest, the design team added graphic details with thin black lines framing the built-in bookshelves. Deep red cushions and a plush green rug further liven up the area and add a layer of warmth. 

The same concept applies in the dining room. The Moooi Zio dining table designed by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders sits under the Masina pendant light from London lighting manufacturer Bert Frank, and is accompanied by vibrant crimson Beetle dining chairs from Gubi. As the dining area had a thick wall with a recessed nook, Beysecker created built-in cabinets with oak frame doors to provide extra storage. 

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The designer also incorporated her love for working with natural stones in the kitchen, which features a beautiful kitchen backsplash. “I love stones and I’m always fascinated by the fact that Mother Nature can create such beauty,” shares Beysecker. 

She continues: “We have a fantastic selection of quality stones available here in Portugal. We had paid several visits to many suppliers until we finally came across this specific piece—there’s a fantastic palette of colours (in the marble), from beige to eggplant. We then bought two identical slabs and decided to place them symmetrically to create the stunning pattern.” 

Custom cabinets crafted from walnut wood add a tactile and warm look to the kitchen, while copper finishes for the tap, sink and handles elevate the aesthetic with a gleaming touch. “I think the materials used in the kitchen go perfectly together,” says the designer. “I love to cook so I’m really fond of the kitchen—it is very well equipped, highly functional, and has an inspiring view of the Amoreiras Garden!”

Upstairs, the master bedroom is a serene sanctuary dressed in neutral tones and soft furnishings. Generous natural lighting floods the space in the day, helping to ease the mind into a restful state and reinforce the overall mood.

The ensuite bathroom is a rejuvenating oasis, with a white colour palette and light wood adding to the tranquil atmosphere. This subdued space is a sharp contrast to the bold vibrance of the powder room, located on the ground floor. 

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“The master bathroom is open to the bedroom, so it had to be calm and quiet; the powder room is located on the ground floor next to the entry door, and the client wanted people to get wowed when they enter the house,” explains Beysecker, on the different themes.

The result of two year’s of hard work materialised in the form of an inviting abode filled with personality. “The house was entirely furnished with new pieces and completed with a few pieces of commissioned artwork. It was very exciting to start working from a blank page,” says the designer. “It’s a great house—the homeowners really feel that it is the ideal place to both work and relax. They love to be seated on their comfortable sofa in front of a warm fireplace, almost as much as the kitchen island bench, where they can work with a view onto the beautiful garden.” 

And perhaps what’s even greater than the design of the home is the new bonds formed out of the working relationship. Beysecker shares: “This project was our first project in Lisbon, after having spent eight years in Hong Kong; we were therefore very unfamiliar with the local artisans and suppliers. However, it turned out really well; we became friends with the homeowners and we are now in charge of designing their new country house.”