Most homes have their own unique personalities, but this Barcelona apartment has more than one.
Daniel Pérez and Felipe Araujo of Barcelona design studio Egue y Seta refer to this intriguing 1,851-square-foot Barcelona home they designed as “bipolar” because within it, multiple aesthetic styles co-exist.
Located in the Barcelona neighbourhood of Eixample, the apartment belongs to a young Dutch couple who run their hadncrafted rug business from home. The couple, who recently had their first child, reached out to Egue y Seta to transform the layout and décor of the apartment to better suit their requirements for a family home and office. It was important to them to retain the property’s original architectural features but find a way to enliven the space with all the different design styles they love.
In Eixample, buildings are typically tall and narrow, with interiors that include decorative architectural elements such as traditional handmade mosaic tile flooring, elaborate ceiling moldings, stained glass windows, and busy joinery. The original hydraulic tile floors in the apartment were recovered and refreshed, and vintage furniture items such as the solid wood dining table were restored, as were the original doorframes.
“We particularly love the restored back-balcony doors with the blue stained glass that provide direct access to the terrace, and we knew that had to be retained right from the start,” says Pérez.
“Because of the long and slender floor plan of typical Eixample properties, most apartments are split into two symmetrical halves, with the social areas located on the street-facing side, and the private areas located within the quieter side closer to the stairwell or elevator and facing an interior patio,” explains Araujo. But he and Pérez went against this norm by locating the more private office and library along the street-facing side, and the more social kitchen and living areas along the quieter side.
A bright, white office, and a library with custom-made cabinetry and dark green walls occupy a double-height space that looks out to the street-facing balcony. The open-plan living, dining and kitchen is sited close to the indoor patio, where it draws in much light through the modernist, stain-glass windows.
Adjacent to the main entrance door is the cosy master bedroom, which has half of its walls painted black, the other whitewashed, and a glass screen for its front wall. This bedroom is flanked by two generous interior patios that are accessible through slim crystal doors along the sides of the bed. From the bedroom, a short corridor lined with walk-in closets leads into a bathroom with double sinks, all-white tiles, dark grouting, and black joinery. In contrast to the paired back elegance of the master bathroom, the more dramatic guest bathroom has tropical palm frond wallpaper above the vanity, venetian blinds, and a bright red, pop art urinal inspired by the Rolling Stone’s lip logo.
In the child’s bedroom vintage wardrobes and drawers were renovated then paired with an oval Scandinavian style baby crib and a bamboo armchair.
To reflect their clients’ ecclectic taste, Pérez and Araujo brought a variety of contrasting aesthetics together to create a home that’s multifacated yet cohesive.
“The original modernist features of the home were recovered and combined with neoclassical accents, Oxford style, Scandinavian, and colonial chic furniture and accents. The urinal in the guest bathtoom is undeniably Pop, and the green outdoor balconies have a touch of Jungalow and a touch of Zen,” says Pérez. Expansive but warm off-white tones and light woods, and earthy cushions and textiles were used to unify the diverse design themes.
Choosing the right textures and finishes was crucial to the success of a project that combined so many different styles. “We used natural varnished wood grains with golden glares, white lacquered surfaces, wrought iron, velvets, leathers, ethnic patterns, potted plants, and many of the owners’ handcrafted rugs throughout to create an ensemble of suprising balance,” says Araujo.
Photography: Vicugo Foto