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Before & after: Chalet of 3 corners

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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Today on homify, we are going to look at a really exciting before and after project. Titled the ’Chalet das Três Esquinas’, or the ’Chalet of three corners’, this interesting historic relic is located in Braga, northern Portugal. Once a Roman city, the exterior of the building exudes the charm of other historic buildings that are typical to the area. During medieval times, the house was built as an extension of a palace. The renovations have helped the home to be restored to its former glory, allowing it to stand proud as it did many moons ago. Visible from the first photo, the lack of professional maintenance and care has left marks on the street-facing façade, and caused a somewhat dilapidated and unsightly appearance.

Tiago Do Vale Architects lent their credibility and expertise to this forgotten treasure, and have carefully reinstated it to its original charm… with a twist! A little surprise awaits you on the inside, as you will soon see. There is a beautiful juxtaposition between old and new worlds, as the flat, whilst maintaining its historical appearance, has been fitted out with an ultra contemporary interior. The result of the renovations has a positive impact, as, we hope, it allows the neighbourhood to become revitalised once again.


As mentioned earlier, the house was built originally as an extension of a neighbouring building, which once upon a time was a small medieval palace. The other buildings in its vicinity were left to rot for close to 120 years, so the area itself was in pretty poor form. Almost in ruins, Tiago Do Vale Architects accepted the challenge, and have carefully peeled back the layers of disrepair to reveal the charm and grace of the yesteryear. The result is simply stunning!

The interior plaza

Here, we can see the back of the house, or the interior plaza as it would have been referred to in the past. This image shows in full, the positioning of the property next to its palatial neighbour. In this space, the occupant can enjoy the picturesque garden and lush lawns. The orange trees offer the opportunity for pleasant shade in summer, and a spectacular show of white flowers in the spring. This is a great example of how you can be transported into many different eras, from contemporary to medieval, by simply taking a tour of your own home.

… after

The front of the house has regained its original appearance, yet with pizazz. This includes the reconstruction of the wooden window frames and richly decorated gables. The cheerful turquoise render that covers the main surface brings a sense of fun to this historic setting. It transports the home into the future, mixing contemporary techniques with old world charm.

Obsolete spaces

Just like the exterior, the interior of the building was also in critical condition. The lack of care and maintenance meant the interior spaces became forgotten and outdated, resulting in a sad and desolate atmosphere. The reform of the internal layout shed a new light on this building, leaving it completely unrecognisable from the state we see it in here.

The old connection

One of the most important internal renovations was of the staircase. An indispensable element, the stairs act as a form of vertical communication between the levels. In effect, a staircase should tempt you to see more of a building, yet it does anything but that in this image. Looking unsafe and unsightly, the area is dark and somewhat reminiscent of a haunted house.

A new dialogue

Now, the staircase becomes the heart of the project, as well as a unifying element. Its structure and original shape has been maintained, with the decrepit steps replaced, and colour scheme revitalised. This area has truly undergone a massive facelift—from house of horrors to minimalist marvel. There is now a strong geometry and visual relationship between floors, with the opening from above helping to illuminate the space that was dank and grim.

Beams of light

No contemporary home would be complete without a room that resembles a converted attic space. This has been achieved by painting the wooden beams and studs a stark shade of white, emphasising their structure and size. The original staircase, also painted white, brings a sophisticated touch to the space while the pale pine floor planks and roof lights bathe the space in light.

Hard working

To make the most of the contemporary style chosen, the architects tried to unite the spaces, in a attempt to create a certain fluidity, yet still giving each room a character of its own. The office, located in the front part of the house, is distinguished by its grey tiles and elegant black furniture.

The concept

On the top floor of the house, directly under the eaves of the roof, you will find the master bedroom which includes an ensuite and dressing room. Here, again, a mass of white reigns supreme over the space. Warm and natural materials extend from the floor, walls and ceiling. The limited pieces of furniture and neutral colours give a casual look to the space, while creating a cosy spirit that invites relaxation and intimacy.

Dine in style

Wood floors and white are ubiquitous in this house to form a uniform and harmonious effect. In the kitchen and in the bathroom, built-in grey marble furniture offers a look and feel of sophistication—an effect synonymous with marble fittings. The varied lights and lamps add points of interest to the room, as many elements are different,  but unified. The fine grey vein of the marble bench beams in its surroundings; it is the perfect spot for an exemplary piece of nature's finest work.

To see more interesting before and after projects, see the following ideabooks:

Before & after: 50s West Sussex home renovation

Before & after: A family home conversion 

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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