Before + After

A 1930s Porto Town House Gets an Eclectic Refresh

Only the original wood floors and stairs remain
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After decades of haphazard renovations and subsequent abandonment left a 1930s town house in Porto, Portugal, in dilapidated disarray, local architecture studio Ding Dong stepped in to help. Founders Michael Miranda and Davide Gomes were hired by the new owner to almost entirely gut the three-story home and restore it to its former glory but with a 21st-century twist.

The design duo maintained the original Nordic pine floors and staircase but knocked down multiple walls to eliminate a series of cramped rooms and create a modern layout. They also relocated the kitchen to the front in order to connect the living, dining, and patio spaces for a generous entertaining zone in the back.

For the interiors, the team blended influences from multiple eras to honor the building’s past while bringing it into the present day. They juxtaposed traditional details like coffered ceilings and wainscoting with sleek lines and geometric figures. “We love historical design and contemporary art at the same time,” Michael says. “We like to make this cocktail of new and old. It’s a balance.”

A pair of Draga and Aurel resin and brass coffee tables helm the living area. 

Upon entering, guests encounter a striking purple tapestry, a playful custom console, and warm oak paneling. The pale wood walls carry through a narrow teal archway into a living room, with cozy furniture like a sink-right-in Meridiani sofa, a sculptural seat by Vincenzo De Cotiis, and a coral leather chair.

Opposing plaster murals by Ivana Viana add texture and intrigue.

Mirrored framing leads to the dining section, where checkerboard cement tiles act like a rug beneath the yellow metal table, 1943 Jens Risom chairs, and blown-glass Paola Navone pendant. “It’s very similar to the floors in the service areas of this kind of house,” Michael explains of the tile. “So we used it like a carpet in one of the most important parts.”

The lush garden is an extension of the house.

Beyond glass sliding doors, a verdant courtyard is a rare slice of nature in the city. A leafy loquat shades the clinker brick pavers, while ivy climbs up the granite walls. “You have this cocoon feeling, and it’s very, very private,” Michael says. “We have a small tank that keeps water running. It’s relaxing.”

“It was the place that we had more freedom to include color,” Michael says of the kitchen.

Ding Dong designed the black oak and liquid smoke table in the breakfast nook.

Though this three-part, open-concept setup is primed for socializing, the compact mint green kitchen is also outfitted with a breakfast nook for hosting. Friends can hang out on the built-in bench, which is upholstered in aqua leather and tropical Lelièvre fabric, while the homeowner cooks with the Smeg oven. Leopard motif wallpaper, fluted glass cabinets, and bronze hardware complete the look.

Original wood floors contrast with contemporary walls in the hallway.

Deep eggplant and neon orange paint make for a moody stairwell.

A groovy eggplant-colored stairwell features a neon stripe as it moves upwards to the primary bedroom, where blue, orange, and beige tones mingle for a soothing result. The ensuite is equally tranquil, with a travertine sink, trapezoid-shaped tiles, and a spa-style shower. It’s a Portuguese oasis in every way.

High ceilings allow for a whimsical palette in the main bedroom.

The main bathroom is intentionally masculine.

A luxe dressing room gives a hotel vibe.