Newspaper article International New York Times

A Small Palace as a Coastal Family Home ; Stone-Covered Residence near Lisbon Is a Short Walk to the Atlantic

Newspaper article International New York Times

A Small Palace as a Coastal Family Home ; Stone-Covered Residence near Lisbon Is a Short Walk to the Atlantic

Article excerpt

Fourteen miles east of the Portuguese capital, a fanciful five- bedroom, stone-covered house dating from 1899 combines the elegant and the rustic.

Obscured behind a stone wall and two sprawling ficus trees sits a "palacete," or small palace, that helped change the architecture in this coastal town, once a summer retreat for urbanites. The fanciful stone-covered house was built in 1899 for a family from Lisbon, 14 miles east. With its blend of the elegant and the rustic, the design established a new look for summer chalets. Nowadays, Parede, along the highway to the better-known cities of Estoril and Cascais, is a bedroom community of Lisbon.

The 5,037-square-foot, or 468-square-meter, house has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, several small curved alcoves in fairy- tale fashion and a wraparound terrace. The property, which sits on a 14,811-square-foot parcel, is listed with the Estoril office of Engel &Volkers, with an asking price of 2 million euros, or about $2.3 million.

Though the house is a five-minute walk from the Atlantic Ocean, the sea is visible from only the attic rooms and tower. Historically, the water of Praia da Parede was regarded as having healing properties because of its iodine content. While the health benefits of the water and mud are debatable, some visitors to Parede Beach still cover themselves in its muddy clay for therapeutic value.

The current owner of the house, Joao Ramalho Fernandes, said he wasn't looking to move when he happened upon the property about 25 years ago and was struck by its features, which included a wide stone staircase, a tower and a wrought-iron-lined terrace.

"I told my wife, 'I just came by a house that I want to buy,' and she said, 'You're crazy.' Then when she went inside, she agreed, we need to save this house and turn it into what it once was. We also felt it was a lovely place to raise kids," said Mr. Fernandes, who has twin daughters and a son, now grown.

"It was a mission of love to make a full recovery of the house," he said. "My wife and I tried to restore everything, including recreating the molding and the original paint colors. …

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