First of all, who?
Oliveira is the vision of Lloyd Booker, photographer, from Manchester, who moved to the Algarve earlier this year, and Karen D’Oliveira, artist and art dealer from Middlesbrough, here since 1986.
What makes it special… and different?
Opportunity, creativity and… the planet! We felt the choice of good quality, stylish furniture and home décor was under-represented in the East Algarve and decided to change this ourselves.
Our business provides three areas of appeal: our beautiful and unique restored furniture which we brand ‘Vintage Chic’; a ‘Bespoke Restoration’ service where a client can ask to have one of our furniture items (currently unrestored), transformed into a piece that perfectly fits their room theme; and our statement-making design-led new ranges which we have branded ‘Luxurious New’ – we felt it was not enough to offer only renovated furniture and saw the trend for mixing old and new and including decorative items such as lighting, textiles and seating as core to the Oliveira signature.
We both have artistic backgrounds, so the marriage of art and artistic furniture renovation appealed greatly to us. It is also nice to be saving items of Portuguese furniture that, despite still being high quality, have lost their appeal from a visual perspective. It is both our creative eye and our strategy of combining vintage with modern which we think will give us great appeal. That, and being based in the east Algarve, in one of the most beautiful towns in the world!
Where are you sourcing your product range?
Our view is that there is a fashion for mixing the old with the new. Therefore, we have also chosen to stock new items from the collections of fine Portuguese and European suppliers that perfectly complement our vintage pieces which are sourced privately and through dealers across the Algarve. And we can custom make to our clients’ tastes – be it sofas, armchairs or those personality accessories. The addition of original art available to purchase provides inspiration throughout the store. We hope to make new relationships with more Portuguese suppliers over the coming months, keen to support the economy of the country that we now call home. Excusivity is important to us.
So what are the forthcoming trends in terms of style, colour, textures etc? And how do you show distinct themes in store?
We do not follow trends, we make them! For starters, the majority of our vintage items are unique and our new items have been hand-chosen to complete each individual story.
The store has been divided into styled areas that celebrate individual colour themes and furniture styles. On entering, you are immediately treated to a celebration in turquoise and natural woods. A custom-made high-back armchair finished in sumptuous turquoise velvet is a real showstopper, and complemented by luxurious cushions, solid oak lamps and of course a stunning piece of original artwork from a highly-respected artist.
Our Moroccan area is rich in Arabian terracotta and dark tones and you are immediately transported to a north African hideaway where distnctive features include dark wood furniture finished with bronze metallic features, super soft cosy throws, iron-framed mirrors and wonderful, brass caged pendant lighting.
And there’s our fabulously indulgent black and gold area which features solid black furniture skillfully decorated with gold details and looks like being a real winner, loved by those with a taste for the adventurous and the glamorous. There’s a fabulous selection of designer cushions, decorative vases, and ornate gold mirrorsto complete this particular look.
What has been the biggest challenge so far in getting Oliveira off the ground?
Finding the right furniture that fits with our vision has certainly been a challenge. There is a lot of used furniture available in the Algarve but we have been extremely selective about the items we plan to renovate, aiming to create pieces that are not only going to last for a long time but are also visually appealing and, of course, functional.
Will you take on commissions to create a new look, decorate/furnish premises from scratch?
Absolutely yes! This is a big part of our new offering. We hope customers will love what we have created with our items of furniture renovation but realise we will not have everything that they are looking for. With that in mind we have built a large stock of unrestored items that customers can view in our store, then decide which colour scheme and style of restoration they would like for that item, which will then be customised to their requirements.
To build a complete story, we have a large collection of accessories including beautiful handmade rugs, modern and traditionally-styled mirrors, a fabulous range of stylish lamps and pendant lighting, luxurious textiles including cushions in rich velvets and linens, bed and sofa throws and blankets, made to order curtains and a superb selection of individual modern and vintage objet d’art.
How do you begin when you are asked for opinion and direction?
Colour and coordination are key; from a colour palette any style can then be created. We believe it is important to start with a central object that all other items – including wall colours – can be themed around. In our case we are extremely fortunate to have such an impressive collection of original artworks. These have inspired colour choices, textures and even furniture renovation techniques. In most cases we have chosen a piece of art and themed the room style around it, lifting accent colours out in both surrounding furniture, textiles, and lighting.
Prices – give us a guideline
We are mid-market in terms of pricing. For example, our large luxurious high back armchair finished in turquoise velvet is priced at €895; solid wood lamps with stunning black faux suede shades are priced from €240; cushions, which are of the highest quality, start at €30 and our vintage collection of furniture ranges from a petite bedside cabinet priced at €120 up to a stunning three-door carved wood wardrobe priced €995.
What are the greatest changes in taste over recent years?
Well we saw and see a huge trend for vintage renovation currently, following periods of minimalist contemporary design. At Oliveira, however, we really want to offer something different, hence our strategy of blending vintage with modern.
Does home decor have to be in keeping with style of property or could, for example, one have totally traditional pieces in a contemporary home?
No, not at all, contemporary styling can work in a historic property if handled well and vice versa. We think our offering of combined old and new is something that will work in all styles of property.
The key things that give a home its own personality?
Colour, texture, form and in our view… art.
Words: Susi Rogol-Goodkind