Cover Off-white walls accentuate the lofty feel of this double-volume space, which features a pair of Gervasoni sofas and custom dining chairs upholstered in fabric from Pierre Frey

Inspired by the expressive music and dance heritage of Brazil and Portugal, this charming home by Viterbo Interior Design is a lively blend of colours and patterns

The moment you step into this townhouse located in Cascais, Portugal, a vivid mix of colours comes into view. A teal blue screen greets guests in the hallway, while an assortment of other sprightly hues brightens up the open-plan living and dining areas. Past that, the TV room, lined with a vibrant wallpaper from Pierre Frey, catches the eye instantly.

“I love working with colour when I have the chance to do so,” shares Portuguese interior designer Gracinha Viterbo, who led the transformation of the home. The Lisbon-based designer runs Viterbo Interior Design with her husband Miguel Vieira Da Rocha; he is the firm’s CEO while she leads its creative direction. “Every client has a style and every project has a story; at Viterbo Interior Design, we believe that interior design goes way beyond status and aesthetics,” she explains.

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For this townhouse, the designer sought to create a feeling of escapism by adding depth and vibrancy to the interior of the three-bedroom abode. “It’s a very charming townhouse in an old part of town, with an ocean view and surrounded by like-minded architecture,” shares Viterbo. “It had lots of potential with a double-volume ceiling in the living room, as well as an attic that was calling for a magical intervention.” 

The owners—a well-travelled couple who are ardent art collectors—shuttle between Brazil and Portugal, and were looking to have a vibrant home that embodies their cheerful outlook and cultural heritage. “They wanted light and eclectic with a twist of contemporary, just like their personalities; a little bit of samba with a dash of fado (traditional music from Brazil and Portugal respectively),” says Viterbo.

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The clients appreciated Viterbo’s knack for colour and wanted her to “work some magic” to select the right hue for each room. Adds the designer: “Colour works like a magnet in this home because it attracts you to move onto the next room. I didn’t want to confine the colour in each space, but rather, I sought to make it flow from room to room.”

The open-plan living and dining area that greets guests when they first enter the home boasts a pitched ceiling that imbues the space with character. This zone is one of the rare areas within the home that features white walls, which serves to enhance the apartment’s airy ambience while showcasing the owners’ assemblage of art and statement decor.

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Colourful accent pieces and paintings from the couple’s art collection add decorative flair to the space and enliven the light palette. “As this is the home of art collectors, the design process was more about a curation of objects rather than the decoration of spaces,” says Viterbo. “I also loved seeking out special objects and furniture as well as designing some bespoke ones just for the project. We relied on our mastery to create an effortless mood that made everything look like it had been collected through the years.”

In contrast to the off-white walls in the double-volume living area, the vibrant Taraz wallpaper by Pierre Frey in the TV room makes an instant statement. “The idea was to use colours of different intensities in each space to create a flow, almost like when the waves hit the shore,” explains Viterbo. “The first living room features light and natural tones with dashes of strong colours in the art and accessories. As you move further into the TV room, it feels more comfortable and cosy with the Pierre Frey wallpaper. In each room, there is a rhythm created through the proportions and harmony of colours.”

On the second floor, a secondary living area serves as a space made for family bonding. A plush sofa bed from Meridiani allows the space to be converted into a guest room if needed. “The biggest challenge of this project was designing the mezzanine living room with enough privacy to allow it to be converted into a bedroom if necessary—without enclosing it completely,” Viterbo explains. “We designed beautiful fabric screens that offer privacy without causing claustrophobia; they even add charm and chicness.”

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The attic was converted into a guest room for the owners’ grandchildren whenever they visit. Viterbo designed a whimsical setting by making use of a Bien Fait wallpaper with animal motifs, which brings a playful atmosphere into the space.

Children’s beds from Rafa Kids were selected due to their minimalist and practical design, while an effortless mix of accent pieces from Muuto, Ferm Living and Hay lends a stylish yet welcoming ambience to the room.

The other two bedrooms are also lined with lively printed wallpaper that, along with contrasting bed coverings and brightly coloured cushions, bring each individual space to life. “The clients requested plenty of unique personality in each of the rooms. We did so with the wallpaper selection—ranging from the yellow ikat-style wallpaper from Spanish company Gastón y Daniela in one bedroom to the botanical wallpaper in another, as well as the whimsical animals in the grandchildren’s attic room. The soothing atmosphere results from the right layering of patterns versus textures.”

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Outside, Viterbo designed a balcony that’s perfect for al fresco dinner parties. This space is also the designer’s favourite area within the entire abode. “I love the airy balcony with its relaxed dining table overlooking the ocean,” she enthuses. “I can imagine dinners there well into the night, with family and friends laughing the night away by moonlight.”

Completed swiftly in six months, the home presents a rich design narrative filled with bright hues used to dynamic and delightful effect. “I believe that it’s so important for residential projects to spread good energy with an inviting atmosphere, and that was the main intention of this project. Our mission was to ensure that our clients feel emotionally connected to their homes from day one. There is a sense of purposeful belonging weaved into our designs, and this makes them special in a way that’s beyond aesthetics. “

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