PD0294 – Tarrastal House

Tarrastal House

PRODIRECTA 2 logoProperty in central Portugal

Tarrastal House


Completely restored and updated, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms village Xisto [schist] house.

Exceptional design and workmanship. Traditional materials and craftsmanship creating an up-to-date modern living environment.

Built as a holiday home, but fully serviced for permanent living, in a small Xisto village in the hills of Central Portugal.

Situated on a small square, with walled terrace and sundeck, giving an all-around view of the valleys and hills.

Close to larger villages and towns. Very quiet, but not isolated.





Originally 3 houses, sharing walls and interconnected, the ruin was about 150 years old, at the time of re-construction and restoration, started in 2013.

The walls are of local stone. Schist or ‘Xisto’, was the building material of choice in days gone by. Mostly ‘dry-stone-construction’, this was a house[s] that was already somewhat ‘better’, as it was then stuccoed and painted, over the Xisto walls.

These walls are usually between 60-80 cm wide or more.!

It was originally 3 houses that had rooms for 3 families. 2 storey high, it sits in a prominent place and overlooks the small square it borders.




The houses were completely gutted to the outside walls. The broken roofs were removed completely.

The thick walls were tested and secured to static strength. Waterproofing insulation was added to the lower walls as well as the excavated floors on the lower levels.

Insulation was added to walls and ceilings.

All new plumbing and electrical services were distributed. Gas[propane] distribution was added.

Underfloor heat [electric] was installed in both bedrooms and bathrooms.

A total of 3 fireplaces/wood burners were installed in various locations.

The roof is a totally new construction on top of old chestnut beams that serve decorative purposes only.

This roof has multiple layers of insulation and vapour barriers, before getting a slate-plate [from Northern Portugal]finish.




The house, having been 2 houses before has a total of 4 separate levels, plus the outside [another house] encompassing about 90sq meters of living space.

Entrance is though the gated yard/terrace. The large living-room and study are at the entrance level.

The outside yard is roughly 32 sq meters with the sun-deck an additional 11 sq meters.

Up 5 steps is the large kitchen/dining area.

Down from the living-room is one bedroom and bathroom.Here you also find the laundry area.

Again down more steps you will find the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

Living-room and kitchen/dining area are open-space, high ceiling rooms. The kitchen/dining room overlooking the living area.




All walls and the roof is insulated and water-proofed. The original Xisto walls were artistically rendered in places and finished. Floors are done in wide plank pine boards with chestnut base trim and various chestnut attributes around.

Stairs are done in pine with chestnut kicks throughout and the ceilings are in wide plank pine, with double rock-wool insulation.

Ancient features were retained and restored.

The chestnut beams are almost ALL from the house itself.

Care was taken to re-use, recycle and re-fit things as possible into the new design and execution.

All wood was oiled with organic oil and the render is natural component, as well as the paint.

The floors on the lower levels are the old slate stones that once covered the roof of the house.

The house has it’s own ‘fossa’, septic tank.



High quality fittings in bathrooms and kitchen.

IKEA kitchen, professionally installed, gas burners [with extractor hood and electric convection oven, double porcelain sink, deep and of course a dishwasher.

Fridge with freezer compartment.

2 fireplace inserts, both with thermostatically controlled ventilation for maximum heat distribution.

One in the master bedroom and one in the living-room

Wood-burner with heating shelf in the kitchen/dining-room

All doors and windows are new thermo-pane glass type, wood frame, tilt and open.

Hand-crafted, individually designed wood accents, like shelves and window seats, sills, baseboards, built-in wardrobe.

Automatic, multi-cycle, front-loading clothes washer.

Electric hot-water boiler, family sized.

Water-pump and filter, accessible from outside in the gas-bottle compartment [ two half-sized bottles]




Three steps up lead to the gate that allows entrance to the terrace and house from the square.

Covered by a slate roof.

Inside is a private garden/terrace which will fit a table of six.!

There is a covered [slate] sitting area with a wall mounted ‘adega’ cupboard.

Stairs lead up to the sun-deck above and cover a storage area with old wooden door.

Beside it is a fountain which doubles as watering point for the flowers and greens around the interior.

Slate plates cover the ground and the sun-deck. Chestnut beams are used for the railings and steps.

Ancient wall recesses now hold the fire-wood for the season and old implements found during the work on restoring these houses.

An old olive tree has it’s place here as well.!



Situation in the village:

The house is adjacent to a small square, with an  olive-tree, among other restored Xisto houses.

This village is a huddle of about 30 houses, with the road on the outside of it.

Age-old cobble stone streets and a fountain with a bench next to it completes the pastoral picture.



Location of the village:

This small village is located about 50 km inland from Coimbra, almost due east.

Sitting in a side valley of the Ciera river valley, it is secluded, without being too remote.

The valley it rests in has a creek as well, which runs year-round. The hills around are covered in pine and eucalyptus with acacia and cork-oak trees also present. Of course there are olive trees and old homesteads along the valley.



Services in the village:

The village is primarily a place people come back to for holidays. Most of the house are restored and are still occupied by families that have roots here.

Annual summer festivals bring those families together and in the main square of the village is held the annual ‘Tarrastal Picnic’.

The village has a ‘Casa de Convivio” a community house with a small bar, dining table and fireplace and a billiard table in a separate room.

All water is provided by the village spring, which is gathered in the new[2017] cistern and distributed free to all houses. The water is of excellent quality.!

Electricity and telephone service is available and working in the village, as well as good mobile phone coverage [4G].



Services near the village:

The next larger town is GOIS, located about 12 km from the village.

Here you will find banks, shops, petrol station, restaurants and services. The closest post-office and a health-centre is located there as well.

It is the administrative centre of the area.

Next to the village, about 2km down the road, is a bigger village ‘CABREIRA’, with a nice restaurant and 2 coffee/bar establishments. It also has a newly constructed retirement home.

Here you find 2 river beaches, one next to an ancient [restored] olive mill.

Coimbra is about 50 km east, Lisbon about 230km south and Porto 180km north.

Snow is 100km away in the Serra da Estrela[east] and the beach at Figueira da Foz is also 100km to the west.






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