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After meeting with her client’s daughter, architect Sandra Micaela Casinha sketched out a house inspired by the young girl’s big imagination.

A geometric house with glass walls and swooping curved walls on the upper level.

Designed by architect Sandra Micaela Casinha, this two-story home in Portugal blends modern and abstract architecture.

While the documents for architect Sandra Micaela Casinha’s Petal House project list nutritionist Augusto Rodrigues as her client, his youngest daughter—a creative girl with a vivid imagination—had the biggest influence on the home’s design. Rodrigues and Casinha met through his work—he is the architect’s nutritionist—and when he decided to build a new house for him and his two daughters, he approached Casinha about taking on the project.

“Aside from telling me the budget, Augusto asked for three bedrooms and a studio,” Casinha says of her client’s initial requests, “but [otherwise] he gave me total freedom.” When designing a home, part of Casinha’s process is talking to the entire family, so after taking down Rodrigues’ wish list, the architect turned to his daughters.

A dining room with a wooden table and chairs.

Casinha opted for neutral tones and natural materials when choosing furniture.

The corner of a room with a cutout fireplace in the wall.

A suspended fireplace in the main floor's curved wall marks the separation between the living room and hallway.

“When I talked with his [younger] daughter, we played a little bit, and she told me all about this fantasy princess world she had created in great detail,” Casinha recalls. From the description, she latched onto the idea of rose petals as aesthetic inspiration, designing a two-story volume capped with a sweeping white form full of organic curves, notches, and peek-a-boo windows.

A blonde woman in a dress opens a sliding glass door on a modern house.

Three walls on the ground level—which holds the house's public zones—are made of glass.

A corner patio with while tile flooring.

Each of the bedroom suites has its own private patio.

The first floor holds the home’s social zones: the living area, dining room, and kitchen, while the second floor is dedicated to private spaces. Casinha opted for a minimal, light material palette—aluminum, glass, and wood—that she describes as “tranquil.” Along with the central staircase, an internal, curved structural wall creates the interiors and organizes the social spaces. A suspended bioethanol fireplace in one of the wall’s curves divides the living room from Rodrigues’ studio. “I call this wall the soul wall,” Casinha says. “The soul wall exists from the main entrance, dividing the technical area from the social one, and it draws a heart in the staircase that leads us to the upper floor.”

A modern kitchen with sage-green cabinetry and white counters.

In the kitchen, sage-green cabinetry brings color into the space, while maintaining a sense of visual calm.

The upper floor has three suites fanning out from the central staircase. Each has an exterior patio with a curving wall or “petal.” “The petals are suspended over floor zero,” Casinha explains. “They embrace the rooms, [and] design the patios and windows. Being the architecture of emotion, visually and in their experience, they create interesting moments of tranquility and stillness.”

A bedroom with four-poster wooden bed and beige walls.

The primary bedroom continues the laid-back aesthetic with neutral textiles and a four-posted bed. Beige walls add a layer of warmth.

Oak flooring and pastel-toned accent walls help soften the stark white of the main structure. A bathroom for the girls—identifiable by its bright pink tiled wall—is a fun standout that brings youthful energy to the home. In the primary suite, a large four-poster bed is flanked by a set of simple wooden bedside tables, above which hang cylindrical wicker pendants—an oasis of serenity.

A bathroom with a curving wall covered in pink tile.

The girls' bathroom is the one departure from the tranquil palette in the rest of the house. "I wanted to give the girls something with a 'wow' factor," Casinha explains.

For Casinha, the project was very hands-on. The exterior is crafted from white-painted, concrete-finished brick, and the exact curves she wanted were difficult to achieve, so she spent many hours helping the contractors shape the walls. It’s a testament to a deep dedication to the craft, which she views as more than just design. “For me, architecture must have heart,” Casinha explains. “I think architects are artists, and we can create beautiful, magic worlds for our clients.”

Photographed by Ivo Tavares


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