News Home & Design Old Apartment Overhauled As Minimalist Short-Term Rental This accommodation on the Portuguese Riviera is now more bright and open. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Published January 21, 2022 04:00PM EST Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Twitter University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Francisco Nogueira News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Online accommodation sharing platforms like Airbnb have exploded in popularity in the last decade, with hosts looking to earn extra income from renting out their property in the short term, and guests looking to live a different experience from what conventional hotels usually offer. Sometimes, in order to attract potential guests—and therefore potentially increase bookings—hosts turn to professional designers to help completely revamp a living space. That's the case with Equador 804, an old apartment in Cascais, Portugal, that was redesigned as a short-term rental with the help of Lisbon-based architecture firm DC.AD. With the city of Cascais being a popular tourist destination, due to its convenient location on the Portuguese Riviera, the 355-square-foot (33-square-meter) apartment has now been transformed into a more open and functional space for guests to stay comfortably in. Francisco Nogueira Beginning with demolishing all unnecessary partitions in order to bring in more natural light and air, the architects then laid out a series of living zones that included a kitchen, bedroom, a bathroom, as well as an outdoor balcony that functions as an extra living space. They say: "As this is a relatively small area, the first step of the intervention involved in the elimination of all non-structural elements and walls, except those configuring the existing kitchen and bathroom, releasing the entire spaciousness of the apartment. [..] The texture of the existing walls, a coarse mortar of cement and sand, was kept, with the concrete of the structural beams being left visible." The new design involved installing a long, continuous, multifunctional wooden ledge that sits low to the ground, and runs along almost the entire length of the apartment. Not only does this wooden ribbon act to visually tie the whole design scheme together, but it also serves a number of functions. For instance, at the entrance and in the main living area, it serves as a place to store and display things like shoes, luggage, and various bits of decor like lamps or plants. Francisco Nogueira In the sleeping area, the multipurpose wooden element then morphs to become a minimalist headboard and platform for the bed. According to the designers, the bed was placed here to offer the best views of the outside. Francisco Nogueira The wooden paneling also hides a long strip of LED lighting behind it. Lighting has been purposely kept very minimal in this space, with one pendant lamp hanging over the bed, along with a few lamps sprinkled throughout the apartment. Francisco Nogueira On the other side of the bed, the long strip of wood continues on, providing a side table to hold a table lamp and an electrical outlet to charge one's devices. Francisco Nogueira At the other side of the apartment, that same wooden piece now turns into an L-shape and transforms into a desk that is well-suited for short stints of time on the laptop. There is also some extra shelving and cabinets here to tuck other items away. In lieu of a bulky, closed wardrobe, the design instead cleverly utilizes a long, black metal rod to hang clothes on. This kind of design element is perfect for short-term stays, as it not only helps to keep the living space more open but also ensures that guests don't forget anything when they leave. Francisco Nogueira To help promote the flow of circulation and visually extend the interior space out onto the balcony, the floors have been painted with a warm tone of yellow, which also helps to offset the minimalist palette of pale-colored woods, gray concrete, and dark metal. Francisco Nogueira A full-length curtain made with thick, gray fabric has been installed to separate the sleeping area from the other side of the apartment, where the bathroom and kitchen are located. As the architects explain: "The project leitmotif consisted in the clear delimitation of the bedroom and living areas [from] the functional and humid areas, differentiated by the application of different and contrasting materials." Francisco Nogueira That distinction is immediately felt as one steps into the kitchen, which has been redone in unrelenting black—from the tiles, wall paint, and even the fixtures. Francisco Nogueira As the design team notes: "In contrast with this first more clear and lighter area, the humid functional areas of the kitchen and bathroom are specifically dark and abstract. [..] All attached objects, such as sanitary equipment and carpentry furniture, are also in the same black shade, enhancing the homogeneity and integrity of the ensemble." Francisco Nogueira The bathroom sits behind a door that has been painted a soothing green. Inside, the angularity of the dark gray tiles and matte black sink and faucet is offset with an organically curved mirror. Francisco Nogueira As one can see here, setting up a short-term rental requires some basics, like making it easy to clean, and easy for guests to use. But in completely overhauling this formerly dark and cramped apartment into an open plan living space, this accommodation now also feels much more functional and enticing to potential guests. To see more, visit DC.AD.