BICO de OBRA (which in translation means a "tricky task"), is a shop that specializes in the renovation of furniture pieces while also offering a large array of functional and decorative home decor.
While only open for a bit over a year, shop owner Isabel has already gained a following with a mix of clients from both Portugal and neighboring Spain. They often come in to buy something for their home and leave only to return with an old furniture piece that they don't want to part with but don't quite know what to do with. Isabel works her magic and gives it a new finish (she admittedly gushes over the Annie Sloan chalk paints that she loves but can't always get a hold of) or finds a great fabric to reupholster it with. Either way her clients leave super happy that an old favorite has been repurposed and eagerly spread the word of Isabel's designer touch to their friends. Many treasures ready to be transformed are in her downstairs "warehouse" which serves as her studio, the place you will most likely find her if she's not helping a customer upstairs.
I wandered the upstairs retail portion of the shop first in a bit of a trance as I do with any new home store. Her mix of vintage and new pieces in everything from wall mirrors, hand hooked rugs, terra cotta ceramics and old colored glass bottles kept me in the store for a good hour. Each eclectic vignette was carefully curated and merchandised with a new surprise around the corner.
Isabel has a great eye for color and design and I was not surprised when she told me of her art history and fashion background. I told her how at home I felt in her store due to the fact that I share a similar design esthetic and love for good portuguese design. No sooner was I telling her that I felt like I was walking into a mini Portuguese Anthropologie did she tell me she buys from the same ceramic manufacturers that they often source from! In fact that same supplier also sells to Zara Home and Pottery Barn. Clearly these home stores, Bico de Obra included, know where to find the best ceramics!
If you should find yourself lucky enough to be traveling in this beautiful part of northern Portugal this little gem of a shop is not to be missed. Perusing the vintage furniture is enough to give you a lesson in portuguese history, one Isabel is well equipped to share. What I really liked was that there seemed to be a story behind every piece she purchased or was lucky enough to have been given and that love and knowledge radiated from her out to her customers. There was a connection I felt from her and too often that seems to be missing from the shopping experience.
BICO de OBRA
Edificio Rio Coura, r/c, Favais
Arao - 4930-049- Valença do Minho