Decrepit to Dazzling: The Stunning Renovation of a 19th Century College

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David Bilo | Arquitecto Rustic style house Stone White
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Today, we will take you through a unique renovation story, where a college built in 1891 was renovated, converting it into a modern structure with traditional roots. Aldeia da Ponte in the Sabugal Municipality of Portugal was the brainchild of Father Francisco Maria Rodrigues d'Oliveira Grainha, and it was a beautiful epitome of religious architecture. But the sprawling building had degenerated and aged over time, and it was in a sorry state. So it was decided to refurbish the building with modern touches, while keeping its old world charm and quaintness intact. Naturally, the architects from David Bilo – Architect, in Coimbra, had quite a challenge on their hands. Despite that, they managed to achieve a stunning result which is contemporary yet true to the basics of religious architecture. So let’s take a closer look at the makeover now.

Before: Sad ruins

The college building was in an utter state of disrepair and neglect, with crumbling moss-ridden walls, discoloured paint, and a staircase which was a nightmare. The meadow that surrounded the structure, was equally wild, untidy and uncared for.

Before: The horror story inside

Filthy and dank walls inside the college showed the ravages of time clearly. They were almost completely covered with moss and lichen, while the original floor was unrecognizable. The dark and forbidding doorways seemed to lead to hell, while the windows were more like gaping holes in the wall rather than windows.

After: Incredible transformation

The college has now been restored to its former glory, with pristine white walls and stone detailing. The long facade is punctuated by neat wood and glass windows and rich wooden doors. The distinctive architectural style of the chapel has been retained, but it now looks more modern and impressive.

After: An impressive setting

The massive structure is poised on a stone platform and is surrounded by manicured patches of greenery. Surrounded by lush greenery, the white of the facade makes an all new design statement of its own. Don’t miss the geometrically inspired stained glass window above the elegant entrance to the chapel.

After: The awe-inspiring chapel

With a curved ceiling and a sophisticated arch, the revamped chapel is simply beautiful in a minimalistic way. The sleek staircase on the left leads to the modish pulpit, while the austere but lovely altar lies beyond the arch.

After: Minimal and chic kitchen

The space under the light-hued wooden staircase has been utilised brilliantly by turning it into a minimalistic kitchen with ample cabinets for easy storage. When not in use, sleek white doors can be shut upon the kitchen to conceal it from the public eye. It is also fitted with bright lighting inside, to ensure that the culinary chores can be executed with ease.

After: Colours, shapes and patterns

The staircase takes a quirky turn and meets the geometrically inspired flooring with elegance. The arty white and black tiles on the floor exude a timeless yet modern appeal, while the simple and quaint seating arrangement offers you the opportunity to brainstorm over ideas with friends.

We hope you enjoyed the makeover journey of this heritage structure as much as we did. It is the perfect example of how new designs and accents can be ushered in, without compromising on the beauty of traditional aspects. Here’s another before and after story you might be interested in: Empty Shell to Cosy Home: A Charming Makeover Story from Japan.

Which idea from here inspired you the most? Let us know in the comments!

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