Projects 2015: The Apartment

By far the most ambitious project that we are undertaking this year is to convert the older part of the house into a self-contained apartment. This apartment will be used by visiting friends and family and we may even consider letting it out when it’s finished.

The gist of the plan is that we will block up a few doorways into the main part of the house, fit a new kitchen, new bathroom and install solar panels onto the roof to provide hot water for the entire house. Here’s the plan in more detail:

Ground floor



On the ground floor we will install a new kitchen and knock through the ceiling so that we can install a staircase. To put things into perspective, here are some very old pics from when we first bought the place.

The room in the photo below was going to be a pantry but the granite is far too damp after years of not having any guttering. It will eventually dry out and maybe part of it will be used as a pantry, but for now this is where the new stairs are going that will lead up to the next floor. We’re having the stairs handmade by a carpenter, who has become one of our close Portuguese friends. When the carpenter measured up for the stairs we made him one request: that Jon (Laura’s partner) would be able to walk up the stairs, underneath the beam and not bang his head in the process (he’s 6foot 4in).

This very dark room is where the new kitchen will be going. We’re having a brand new door on to allow extra light in. The kitchen units will go along the wall to the left, underneath that little window. The plumbing is already in place, which is great.

First floor



The key thing here is that we are blocking up the doorway into the main part of the house and turning the room on the bottom right into a bathroom.

The large room we call the ‘Yellow Room’ because it’s currently painted in a very mustardy yellow. Here are some old pics of it:

The staircase will come up just below the window in the picture below. The fireplace will be cleaned up and a woodburner will be installed there. The Empty Rooms

Second floor


We are going to sacrifice one bedroom here as we are installing solar panels onto the ajoining roof and need a place to store the pressure cylinder. In theory, this will provide hot water for not only the bathroom below but for the rest of the house.

Here’s a not so great photo looking across from one room to the other:

In addition to all of this, we’re having new double glazed windows throughout and a brand new side door. This will provide extra security and keep the apartment warm in the winter. The work on the apartment has already started and the bathroom is nearly finished. It looks fantastic so far and I can’t wait to share the ‘after’ photos with you all.

UPDATE: Since this post, we have had a staircase fitted, the bathroom is now finished and the bedroom/living room is furnished. Click here to see! 

Tags: apartment, projects

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  1. Reply

    I love the arched doors Laura

      • Laura
      • August 17, 2015

      Thank you Vinnie :)

    • melanie
    • January 11, 2016

    Are you letting this apartment out at all?

      • Laura
      • January 12, 2016

      We will be doing in a few months via AirBnB and the local tourism board. We need to finish the kitchen first :)

  2. Reply

    Looks good. I wonder how it getting along now.

      • Laura
      • March 11, 2016

      Hi Allerton, there's been no progress over the winter but come April we're fitting a new kitchen ourselves and going to rent it out. It's very exciting :)

    • Joe
    • September 7, 2017

    I love Portugal and I can sense the culture with your apartment. Well done! :)

    1. Reply

      Hi Joe, thank you :)

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