When I arrived in Portugal in 1993 I worked from a spare bedroom at home. 18 months later I had rented a 50 square meter room in 'Quinta da Seda' in Rua Monte dos Burgos. Another 18 months further on and I moved up the road to a house that became Studio Andrew Howard for the next 14 years. And in February of last year (2010), after a year of searching and a couple of months of renovation, I moved into probably the best space so far – even though I've lost my much cherished garden.
I heard that in the early 1900's the building used to be a small hotel for actors, presumably because of the number of theaters downtown. When I found the space it had been unoccupied for 12 years I'm told and long ago had ceased to be a hotel and became instead a series of separate offices. The potential of the space was evident on my first visit despite the false ceilings, the internal fake wood divisions, the aluminum windows, the carpet glued to the floor, and the peeling wallpaper.
The false ceilings were removed to reveal the wonderful plastered originals. The wallpaper was removed to reveal hand-painted motifs. The carpet was ripped off to reveal wooden floors in excellent condition. The partitions were cleared out to reveal colored windows and plasterwork. A new bathroom was installed and finally, new sheet glass windows took the place of the aluminum ones that had long ago replaced the originals. More photos of the studio can be seen in the about section of the site.