Casa do Regedor
The story behind Portuguese Dream
This is the story behind Portuguese Dream. Our own dream started taking shape when we took ownership of what was to be the Casa do Regedor, in July 2019.
The idea of buying a house in Portugal was not new to us, but a visit to Casa Lerryn in Sertã in July 2018 gave us the inspiration needed. This is where we spent our summer holidays and made us put the wheels in motion. We immediately started our search and after a couple of false starts we eventually found our home in Portugal in April 2019 (with the help of Paulo!) . The sale concluded in July and immediately we had the builder lined up to give us costings and plan the work. On the photo below, we are getting the keys after signing the deeds.
After a few months discussions on how to approach the total renovation of the house, work started in December 2019.
Work progressed pretty quickly, starting with the demolition of the internal structures. Ricardo managed to do a lightning visit in December on the return from one of his trips to the Far East, soon after works started. It looked good and a target was set to finish the renovation by the end of June.
There was another trip in February 2020, this time the whole family came. Ricardo had recently returned from China at the end of January, having narrowly escaped the COVID-19 crisis, which was already brewing there.
By this time the new timber frame, made of laminated Nordic pine was already in place. And to our surprise (after many a discussion about it!), the old fireplace had been removed, with the chimney still intact. This had been a point of several discussions with Mr. Serra, as we weren’t sure if we would be able to demolish the fireplace to gain space for the new kitchen, while keeping the chimney. This was a huge feature of the house and that Ricardo was insistent on keeping. In the end it turned out to be an easy job, as the chimney was made of brick rather than stone, as feared. The chimney now sits proudly as a feature of the house still, both inside and out.
We had another trip planned for April to follow up on the works, but in March the COVID-19 crisis had reached Europe and widespread travel bans were implemented, which meant that we could not travel.
Discussions with João Serra at Concretequação (our builder) were ongoing to assess the situation and the restrictions changing daily. In the end the decision was made to keep working as much as it was possible, given the ever changing conditions.
For us the situation was hard, having to watch and make decisions on a build taking place 2000 miles away. But not only did we have full confidence in the team doing the job, the communication was excellent throughout the whole period. At one point there were almost daily calls, sometimes several a day, with lots of photos sent across in between.
From deciding on external doors and windows to the planning of the tile pattern for the bathrooms, everything going forward was being done remotely.
Work kept progressing well and for one thing we have to thank IKEA presence across the globe! We ended up going to the Glasgow store to choose our kitchen, planned it on the UK website and then ordered all the parts from the online IKEA store in Portugal! Logistically it was not easy, having to constantly check for parts availability as the COVID crisis eased off. But we were successful in the end.
We had a trip booked for the end of June. But with the uncertainty in relation to flight schedules and air bridges we moved our trip to mid July. The air bridge to Portugal was not to be in the end, but we were fortunate enough that we could quarantine on the return to the UK. We just needed the flights to take place! And they did. It was certainly a different experience, with Edinburgh airport pretty much deserted and only a couple of shops open. But overall it was a smooth experience, albeit with masks all the way.
Seeing it to believe it…We’re in Portugal!
Eventually we arrived at our Portuguese home and were delighted with the final result. After 4 solid work days with the help of family, all the furniture was built. A few more days cleaning and tidying up and our Portuguese home was ready.
We understand what it takes to buy and renovate a property in Portugal, being from abroad. This is why we are ideally placed to help you with your purchase, as we have not only the experience, but the right contacts to help you achieve your own dream! So, now that you know the story behind Portuguese Dream, why not get in touch today?
A special thanks to the Serra family…
The Serra family and the team at Concretequação were amazing, working under difficult conditions but managing to deliver throughout. With attention to detail, excellent communication and still delivering the whole project on time, we can only highly recommend them. If you have building work that needs to get taken care of, you can get in touch Mr. José Serra or João Serra through their Facebook page. We’re sure it’s a great choice!
The final cut
Watch our video of the final result of the re-building of Casa do Regedor, and the centre of the story behind Portuguese Dream.