José Pedro Lima Creates a Contemporary Guest House in Coímbra, Portugal

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This Portuguese building in the city of Coímbra has been renovated and transformed into a series of standalone self-contained apartments.



The architect, José Pedro Lima, took on the difficult task of updating the building without completely removing all elements of its history.


Preservation and rehabilitation are the driving force of this scheme located in Coimbra’s UNESCO historic district. – José Pedro Lima


The property contains 1,840-square-feet (170.94-square-meters). This is spread over four floors, which are general split into two, accommodating an apartment at either end.



The external facade remains largely unchanged – window openings and finishes are all in keeping with the building’s traditional look and feel.


On the inside however, the building is made up of bright, airy, contemporary spaces. A simple mix of white and wooden finishes can be found throughout.

This project re-interprets the existing building techniques and materials into a coherent whole, celebrating the many layers of history and welcoming additional marks and imprints, both physical and ephemeral. – José Pedro Lima


The ground floor apartment takes up the entire plan. It features a bedroom and bathroom to the rear of the building, with a kitchen, dining/living room to the front.

The subsequent apartments found on the upper levels occupy half the space of the first. The units to the rear of the building also come equipped with a kitchenette, whereas the ones to the front don’t.


Photos © Ivo Tavares Studio

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

1 Comment
  1. Very pretty & lovely windows but I can’t think of worse places to drink my coffee & do dishes than with my face 6″ away from a wall. You can’t even watch TV without breaking your neck.

    Someone should do a study: Does sex predict the need to look out the window while in the kitchen? My guess is that it does. Blah blah blah water supply. So fix it.