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Mateus: Before

The mansion at Fountainhas, Panjim - a dishevelled and rundown building with a dark exterior and claustrophobic interiors.

Mateus: After

Post the overhaul, the mansion was transpired into a vibrant sunny boutique hotel adding life and vigour to the street-corner where it stands.

Fins, fenestrations and facades

The structural system of the roof - the timber rafters were changed entirely. The Mangalore-tile roof chajjas were constructed over windows. The window railings were further enhanced with planters that offset the yellow facade as opposed to the black railings against the dark maroon external walls that the building exhibited previously.

The interiors - Before & After

The window openings were widened to bring in more light. The walls were finished in light colour to fill the spaces with light and air.

Floored by floors

The flooring was predominantly finished in cement tiles. In places where the tiles had cracked, designer Isla Van Damme devised patterns for the new tiles, borrowing from the aesthetic, composition and colour of the antique cement tiles. The undamaged tiles were polished to renew its dulled colours.

Polishing the cement tiles

Upper-right corner - Old cement tiles: In cement tiles, the pigment runs throughout its cross-section. The dull and discoloured tiles were polished with a grinder that crushes and peels of a thin micro-layer to reveal renewed and vibrant flooring underneath.

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Workspace 19 Apr 2018

Mateus, the story of a short and pragmatic overhaul of a century old Goan mansion

Mateus is a century old mansion in Fontainhas of Panaji, the capital of Goa. Antonio Fernandes bought the mansion, with a pragmatic approach to restore, conserve and sustain Mateus through tourism. Most conservation projects commence with stripping off layers and re-doing them in a long-drawn process. While these tedious measures are necessary, Antonio and his son, architect Jonathan Fernandes, embarked on Mateus with the rationale of a business venture and accomplished the overhaul in a matter of mere months!

While most entrepreneurs would prefer buying an up-and-running estate or building, Antonio chose to buy Mateus, despite its state of disrepair and decay. From there on, the father-son duo along with interior designer Isla Van Damme set to reinstate its vintage glory.

The mansion was built in the traditional stone and wood construction; laterite stone walls supported on wooden floor. The exterior façades were finished in a dark maroon lined with white stucco around the windows. The wooden roof had water holes that had to be replaced with new beams and rafters. Most of the Mangalore tiles were replaced and some were substituted with glass Mangalore tiles, also known as skylight tiles.

While most entrepreneurs would prefer buying an up-and-running estate or building, Antonio chose to buy Mateus, despite its state of disrepair and decay. From there on, the father-son duo along with interior designer Isla Van Damme set to reinstate its vintage glory.
Mateus: Before

The mansion at Fountainhas, Panjim - a dishevelled and rundown building with a dark exterior and claustrophobic interiors.

Mateus: After

Post the overhaul, the mansion was transpired into a vibrant sunny boutique hotel adding life and vigour to the street-corner where it stands.

The wooden ceiling of the ground floor had dismembered with the paint peeling off. These were replaced entirely. Additionally, to accommodate 10 new toilets, as opposed to the 2 toilets in the original layout, reinforced concrete (RCC) slabs were cast in the toilets for the required plumbing services. These slabs were anchored on to the existing laterite walls.  

Working the walls

To bring in light and ventilation, Jonathan widened some existing window openings. While laterite walls do endow an indigenous character to interiors given its deep red colour and grainy textured surface, lighter shades on wall allow light to fill and illuminate the spaces. The walls were finished in off-white and beige shades.

The interiors - Before & After

The window openings were widened to bring in more light. The walls were finished in light colour to fill the spaces with light and air.

Fixing and furbishing floors

The old floors were finished in colourful cement tiles, many of which had cracked and dulled over the years. In these tiles, the pigment runs throughout its cross-section. The uppermost layer that is exposed to wear and tear develops a forlorn and discoloured appearance. Similarly dull and discoloured tiles were polished with a grinder that crushes and peels of a thin micro-layer to reveal renewed and vibrant flooring underneath. 

Polishing the cement tiles

Upper-right corner - Old cement tiles: In cement tiles, the pigment runs throughout its cross-section. The dull and discoloured tiles were polished with a grinder that crushes and peels of a thin micro-layer to reveal renewed and vibrant flooring underneath.

However there were areas where the floor tiles had developed cracks and were replaced completely. Here, Isla Van Damme hand-drew patterns for the new tiles, borrowing from the aesthetic, composition and colour of the antique cement tiles and got them custom manufactured from Bharat Floorings in Mumbai. These tiles were intentionally devised in bright colour schemes to add pizazz and energy into the spaces.

Floored by floors

The flooring was predominantly finished in cement tiles. In places where the tiles had cracked, designer Isla Van Damme devised patterns for the new tiles, borrowing from the aesthetic, composition and colour of the antique cement tiles. The undamaged tiles were polished to renew its dulled colours.

When you’re short on time, prioritising work, plan of action and strategy is of utmost importance over romantic overtures towards restoration projects, as Mateus exemplifies.

Enlivening the exteriors

The exterior was painted over in a vibrant shade of yellow without chipping away the existing dark maroon paint. The former windows had rather weak appearing chajjas over them, which were replaced by Mangalore tile roof-chajjas that aesthetically complement the mansion’s roof. Metal planter boxes were fixed above the window railings. The white stucco around the windows were retained.

Fins, fenestrations and facades

The structural system of the roof - the timber rafters were changed entirely. The Mangalore-tile roof chajjas were constructed over windows. The window railings were further enhanced with planters that offset the yellow facade as opposed to the black railings against the dark maroon external walls that the building exhibited previously.

Less is more

When you’re short on time, prioritising work, plan of action and strategy is of utmost importance over romantic overtures towards restoration projects, as Mateus exemplifies. Mateus is proof that restoration need not always be complex or long-drawn. Unless the building really calls for major overhauls, even conventional construction and refurbishment can go a long way.

Fancy a stay at Mateus, or want to learn more about the place, its history and the people? Head here!