The history of Casa de Serralves began in the early 1920s after Carlos Alberto Cabral (1895-1968), 2nd Count of Vizela, inherited his family's summer farm. A cultured and well-traveled man, he had an attraction for modernity and cosmopolitan living.
The house has a north-south axis, which links it between Serralves street, its formal entrance facing that street, the central hall of the house, and the large dining room facing south and its open garden and good sunshine. . The other east-west axis is marked by the development of the growth of the house from the chapel, in the west direction, and with the living room facing the other open garden, parallel to the great avenue of large trees in the direction of Av.Gomes da Costa that would still be built in 1939.
Some of the most important European names in the field of furniture design contributed to the interior of Casa de Serralves: Ruhlmann, René Lalique (1880−1945), Edgar Brandt (1880−1960), Ivan da Silva Bruhns (1881−1980), Jules Leleu (1883−1961), Jean Perzel (1892−1986) and Raymond Subes (1893−1970).
In 1987, the Portuguese State acquired the property from the heirs of Delfim Ferreira with the intention of installing a museum of modern art. The House was opened to the public that same year, as a place for modern and contemporary art exhibitions until the opening, in 1999, of the new Museum of Contemporary Art in Serralves, designed by the architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. In 2004, Siza supervised the restoration of the House and its interiors. Providing spaces for exhibitions and projects by artists integrated in the program of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Casa de Serralves constitutes, due to its architecture and design, a museum in its own right.