Couple buys abandoned farmhouse in Portugal, builds dream home

Life is a journey stuffed with alternatives, challenges, and moments of uncertainty. At its core, it’s a sequence of selections that form our paths and outline who we change into.

Taking possibilities is just not about recklessness or blind leaps into the unknown. As a substitute, it’s about stepping exterior our consolation zones, embracing vulnerability, and daring to discover uncharted territories, like what a UK couple did after they discovered an deserted farmhouse in Portugal.

When Alan Andrew and Vincent Proost had been offered with the prospect to relocate from the UK to Portugal, they acknowledged it as a possibility they couldn’t move up.

Alan, Vincent, and Amie showing BAIO extra virgin olive oil in their olive farm.


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Having met on a blind date in London in 2006, Alan from Pennsylvania and Vincent from Belgium had been collectively for over twenty years after they started looking for a trip house.

Regardless of their restricted time spent in Portugal earlier than, Vincent had a intestine feeling that it was their ideally suited vacation spot. Little did they notice simply how true this instinct would show to be.

“To be trustworthy, I used to be extra eager on someplace like Italy,” Alan tells CNN Journey. “I didn’t actually know Portugal.”

The garden at Casa Baio


After falling in love with the scenic fantastic thing about Alentejo in southern Portugal, Alan and Vincent determined to discover a home within the space.

They explored roughly 80 properties earlier than stumbling upon an deserted farmhouse within the rural village of Figueira e Barros.

Regardless of the home’s dilapidated state, the couple was captivated by the breathtaking views surrounding it.

The abandoned farmhouse, no roof and crumbling down.


Nonetheless, upon nearer inspection, they realized that restoring the home can be not possible, they usually must embark on an entire rebuild.

The undertaking took an sudden flip after they realized the extent of the renovation wanted.

It grew to become obvious that they would wish to completely transfer to Portugal to totally decide to the endeavor and set up a functioning farm on the property.

“It all of the sudden grew to become a undertaking,” Vincent stated. “And I used to be like, ‘Okay, let’s transfer.’ After which we did.”

Inside the abandoned farmhouse.


“We constructed the home from scratch simply earlier than the pandemic, which was fairly an journey,” Vincent remembers.

After buying the property in the summertime of 2019, they made the life-changing choice to completely relocate to Portugal.

Throughout this time, they rented a home close by whereas finalizing the property buy and acquiring residency.

Desperate to carry their dream to life, Alan and Vincent met with architects and builders to rigorously plan and design their new house.

The pool house at Casa BAIO.


Earlier than commencing the primary development, they determined to renovate the barn on the property, remodeling it into a snug dwelling area affectionately known as the “pool home.” This allowed them to reside on the property whereas the primary home was being constructed.

Little did they know {that a} international pandemic would disrupt their plans.

Shortly after settling right into a rented home in Portugal, the nation went into lockdown because of the pandemic, they usually had been pressured to go away their rental property, including one other layer of complexity to their already huge undertaking.

“All of the inns had been closed,” Vincent stated. “So we needed to sleep in a tent for 2 weeks.”

Some rubbles and the beautiful view of Alentejo from the window of abandoned farmhouse.


After transferring into the barn on their property, Alan and Vincent confronted the problem of fixing it with out electrical energy.

Being new to the realm and with restricted choices, they embraced the journey and settled into their new house.

“For a very long time, we actually couldn’t go away our village space,” Alan stated. “And we had simply moved right here, so we didn’t know anybody.”

Their property coated an unlimited 175 acres, permitting them to embark on a brand new enterprise. With round 1,500 olive timber to are likely to, the couple labored diligently to start out their very own natural oil manufacturing.

Fresh olives harvested at Casa BAIO olive farm.


“Neither of us had any clue in regards to the farming facet in any respect,” Alan stated. “So we had been fortunate that we met a Portuguese oil farmer, who’s been a type of a mentor to show us find out how to do it.”

The award-winning olive oil from Casa BAIO, a former abandoned farmhouse.


Their dedication and arduous work paid off, as their olive oil gained recognition and even gained prizes at prestigious competitions just like the London Worldwide Olive Oil Competitions.

Building on their lovely house started in September 2020 and took practically three years.

Casa BAIO under construction with materials and a beautiful sunset.


The home encompasses a photo voltaic water heating system incorporating conventional native supplies, mixing seamlessly with the encircling panorama.

Though they confronted numerous challenges, together with complying with rules and constructing restrictions, the couple discovered solace within the heat welcome they obtained from the area people.

“It’s very effectively insulated,” provides Alan. “Within the previous conventional homes, the home windows are tiny due to the climate, and now due to expertise, we’re capable of put in larger home windows.”

The previous deserted farmhouse is now a shocking retreat, that includes 5 bedrooms in the primary home and an inviting outside swimming pool. Moreover, the pool home provides a comfy studio bed room with a kitchenette for added comfort.

Aerial shot of Casa BAIO showing its vast olive farm.


For Alan and Vincent, the genuine allure of their new house lies within the heat embrace of the area people.

They’ve been welcomed with open arms, and the declining inhabitants has fostered a pro-immigration sentiment, making them really feel proper at house.

One in all their house’s most charming options is its breathtaking views. The home, measuring roughly 800 sq. meters, was chosen for its tranquility and exquisite vistas.

Alan, Vincent, and friends enjoying the beautiful sunset.


The plentiful home windows present picturesque views, and Vincent’s favourite moments are the mesmerizing sunsets they will get pleasure from from their house.

Their new residence, rigorously designed to mix harmoniously with the pure environment, sits on one stage, merging seamlessly with the panorama.

They’ve even managed to protect the gate of the deserted farmhouse, including a contact of historical past to their fashionable haven.

The original gate of the abandoned farmhouse.


Renting out 4 of their 5 bedrooms as Casa Baio, Alan, and Vincent have remodeled their house right into a welcoming mattress and breakfast for guests to get pleasure from the great thing about Portugal.

The nice and cozy embrace of the locals has made them really feel proper at house in Figueira e Barros.

The bedroom inside the Casa BAIO.


“As quickly as we purchased the place, all of the neighbors invited us for dinner,” says Vincent. “The individuals are simply fantastic.”

Adjusting to the change of tempo within the Alentejo area has been an expertise for the couple. They’ve come to understand the slow-paced way of life, the place time appears to maneuver extra slowly.

Swimming pool at Casa BAIO.


Regardless of having fun with their new house in Portugal, Alan’s well being situation, ARVD/C, has offered them with difficult selections, in response to Encourage Extra.

Given the bodily calls for of operating the farm and the potential dangers related to the illness, they’ve determined that promoting their cherished house is one of the best motion.

Living area at Casa BAIO.


Whereas dealing with the frustration of forsaking the life they’ve created and the deserted farmhouse they labored so arduous to renovate, Alan and Vincent keep a constructive outlook and no regrets about their journey.

They eagerly anticipate their subsequent journey, embracing the uncertainty with braveness and resilience.

Alan, showing a bottle of BAIO olive oil with Iberian Import Company's representative.


Contemplating their experiences, they encourage others contemplating a contemporary begin to take the leap and discover new alternatives.

“Go for it,” Alan stated. “Life is brief; we don’t know what’s going to occur across the nook.

“But in addition have your eyes open. And whenever you go into a brand new place, don’t count on issues to be the way in which they had been within the US or wherever you’re coming from.”

“Be open to the variations. Attempt to discover methods of adapting and never anticipating issues to adapt to you. As a result of why ought to they?”