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A Perfect Family Home By The River

Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada
by António Chaves - Fotografia
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tropical getaway? Think again. This stunning villa is located in San Lourenço do Douro, a small town about a half hour drive from Porto, Portugal! While the seaside country gets a lot of drizzle and grey skies, plenty of rainfall turns this region into a lush, exotic setting, and this Villa Spa Douro is proof!  Situated on a sloped bank of the Douro river, this villa provides more than just the breathtaking views – it also houses an outdoor pool, a spa, a sauna, and a wellness centre. Large windows and glass doors allow ample sunlight to fill the space, and this bright energy is complemented by the fun, punchy themes found throughout the rooms – the owner Bruna clearly has a sense of fun in her decorating style!

If Portugal was not on your summer holiday list this year, there's a big chance that it will be after you finish your tour of this upbeat, luxurious villa! 

A View from the River

This photographer has caught a lovely moment: along the gilded,banks of the Douro (gold) river, this modern structure extends over steep river bank with its box-like modules. The construction of this home may look ultra-modern, but it is actually built to conform to the historically influenced landscape – as you'll be able to see in the following images, the banks of this river have offered lush farmland for centuries, and because of this, the banks have been turned into multi-leveled terraces with retaining walls of stone. This allowed cultivators to take advantage of the fertile land and proximity of the nearby stream while maximizing the surface area of farmable land. Now the site of a luxurious (yet modest) villa, the terraced levels offer a fitting stage for a modular, box-like home that can adapt to the abruptly changing levels in the landscape.

Terraced Lands

A side view here offers an idea of how the land has been divided into many flat terraces, and how the home has been built to conform to and reflect this historical farming legacy. The placement of a pool at the very edge of the lowest terrace makes a perfect setting for a sunny swim in a unique setting that drops off suddenly just beyond – somewhat like a ready-made infinity pool.

If you're intrigued by homes like this that offer a historical legacy, have a look at this ideabook featuring a modernized farmhouse.

Tribal-Themed Balcony

The grassy, thatched look of these tan wicker chairs combines with the color blocking in the rug and rich, orange wood of the end table to create an overall tribal feel on this balcony – you can just imagine how exotic it would feel with the lanterns burning with flickering orange flames on a starry night. 

A brightly coloured hammock chair adds to the earthy tribal look, serving as a unique place to sit back a bit farther from the group and enjoy a riverside swing.

Inspired by this fun balcony? Check out three more balconies in this before-and-after balcony S.O.S. ideabook.

Pool at the Edge of a Terrace

This long pool harmonizes with the long, low-profile rectangles of the house structure above, affording prime views of the river. A narrow strip of the greenest of grass is all that separates this pool from a sharp drop-off to the terrace below, giving it a natural infinity effect. Although the space is obviously luxurious, the villa owners have kept it convenient, with an assortment of simple deck chairs and an orange hammock scattered about for sunbathing.

Tropical Touches

Again, with so much rainfall, some parts of Portugal emit a very tropical atmosphere, and the inclusion of a poolside pot of palm trees is proof. After all, for some, it's not a vacation unless there are palm trees (and now, you won't have to cross Portugal off your list!). Providing slight shade for the chairs below, these palm trees add to the tropical, exotic ambience found throughout the rest of the home.

Poolside Picnic

Guests can enjoy the moderate climate under a brightly-coloured orange awning that shades a roomy picnic table. You can see the decorator's love for vibrant colour schemes in this display – all of the warm oranges, yellows, and reds of the table, cheery flowers, and dinnerware are offset by the deep blue glasses and dark greens of the forested banks beyond.

Tribal Touches

This lofty living room is host to many wild pieces of furniture that can offer seating to many guests at once – here, you get a close look at the zebra-striped chair resting on a sunset-striped rug, and the tribal influence in this home is unmistakable. Combine that with the furry look of the brown suede sofa, and you've got a room fit for a jungle escape.

Note how the light wooden planks of the ceiling and floors set a bright, reflective stage that allows plenty of sunshine to bounce around the room. With such a light stage, the owners have been able to take the liberty of adding contrast through the addition of the bold, dark furniture that you see pictured in this living room.

Open Layout

This rectangular structure, far from boxing you in, lets your eyes – and your feet – wander from top to bottom with this unique lofted layout. Here, you can glimpse the upstairs hallway, complete with a full wall of maze-like shelving. This fun geometrical design reflects the square geometry of the house, keeping in tune with the crisp edges and neat, straight lines found throughout the structure.

A Balanced Colour Scheme

Ever wondered how to include vibrant, punchy colours in your home without being too childish or overwhelming? This living room is a perfect example of a vibrant color scheme that doesn't become burdensome to the eyes. All around, natural washed out browns frame the living room, so the bright pops of red, orange, purple, and green are given plenty of breathing room. Without these colorful elements, the room would have a downplayed, rustic feel, but with the addition of a few simple cushions and the selection of a blazing red rug, the villa living room room emits a fun, eclectic vibe.

A fine staircase in the back ascends to the upstairs dining area, and a thin railing around the upper lofted hallway opens up the space with a friendly tone. Even from across the room, you can see how much gorgeous sunshine is streaming in through the large windows on the upper floor, illuminating the very sociable space.

Lofted Dining Room

Once again, the eclectic colour scheme provides a fun stage for the dining room, this time in the form of a woven rug. It seems there are many pieces throughout the home, like this rug, that have an interesting cultural story behind them, and this setting is perfect for spurring friendly conversations with curious guests. 

With an area rug that makes such a statement, they've been wise to feature a simple, rectangular table (in keeping with the boxy look of the home's structure), and a transparent chair offers no competition against the element in the room that's truly meant to shine – the dynamic patterned rug at its feet. 

Clever Mirrors

This room is a cozy little escape, but despite its small size, it gets a big boost from the large, mirrored doors on the closet. These mirrors do two things: they provide a reflection of the light from the opposite window, brightening the small space, and they create the illusion that the room is bigger than it really is. 

Dreamy Bedroom

A four poster bed with a gauzy canopy looks like something from a tropical bungalow in this earthy bedroom! A patterned, tribal print on the bed linens and wicker chair maintain the exotic vibes, while more homey touches like checkered curtains (in a heavy material convenient for truly blocking out that bright morning sunshine) and a retro hanging lamp that looks like it came out of a 1950's kitchen add a modest, familiar vibe. This bedroom is a perfect blend between exotic getaway and the comforts of home.


This villa offers a luxurious escape with this partially-below-ground spa. A convenient step stool lets you slip into the window-side whirl pool while padded chairs give a nice relaxation area for your post-sauna nap. The owners have taken advantage of the darker nature of this half-underground room and have used the quiet darkness to build a calm retreat.

Another Kind of Getaway

This villa take you to far off places – in the pool, you traveled to a tropical beach. In the living room, you were met with animal print and an eclectic tribal theme reminiscent of a safari. In the dining room, a woven rug took you to somewhere in South America, and in this room, a giant wall photo of a bustling riverside city (Porto, perhaps?) transports you to a more urban escape.

Romantic Room

It seems that this villa offers a theme for everyone's tastes – this sweet bedroom displays the imagery and colors typical of romance, with a large photo of a bouquet of red roses covering the wall, an ornate red red, contrast pillows, and the addition of a deep red flower on the bedside table (and even though all the lovey-dovey details, you still get a hint of that tribal vibe in the zebra patterned bed linens). 

Thoughts on this unique villa? Share your insight below!
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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