Sensitively restored Lisbon apartments make for an authentic mini-break

Antiga Casa Pessoa is home to rentable Lisbon apartments, beautifully restored by architect José Adrião

Restored Lisbon apartments inside Antiga Casa Pessoa
Antiga Casa Pessoa, Lisbon
(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

These Lisbon apartments, available to rent short-term, are housed within a formerly dilapidated building in the city’s Baixa Pombalina, faithfully restored to its original glory by friends and business partners Maria Eugenia Ocantos and Pedro Ramos. The project preserves both the original structure and the frescoes and paintings uncovered during the renovation, after decades spent hidden.

Antiga Casa Pessoa Lisbon apartments

Fresco inside restored Lisbon apartment at Antiga Casa Pessoa

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Architect José Adrião was at the helm of the ambitious project. ‘He had already rehabilitated a building in Baixa and, in addition to his technical experience, we loved his architecture,’ the duo say. ‘It was the right choice, as the project was developed based on the history and quality of the building. The respect that José has for the identity of the place and for the heritage, combined with the clarity of the desire to reconcile the past with the present, and also with the future, was very attractive to us.’

Lisbon apartment interior

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Begun in 2014 and completed in 2021, the sensitive restoration was recently recognised by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Gulbenkian Heritage Prize, which bestowed an honourable mention, while the 2021 FAD Awards in Barcelona also named it a finalist. ‘The Gulbenkian architect jury members, such as Gonçalo Byrne, loved the connection between the architectural hardness of the Pombaline building and the proposal of placing the building in the 21st century,’ add Ocantos and Ramos. 

‘The building has spent half of its history vacant for various reasons and had not undergone any interventions. We added the bathrooms, elevator and kitchens without destroying walls or historic elements of the building. The frescoes on the old ceilings as well as the original floor were preserved under the new ones. All the apartments have paintings or frescoes.’

chair beside window

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

An otherwise minimalist interior decor allows visitors to interact with the space in their own way. ‘It is a pleasure for us to see people who stay in our apartments become interested in the history of the building and feel that they have become part of it. This is how we started to receive people on medium-term stays.’

Apartments available to rent for stays of three days to a year,


(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.