A perfectionist needs perfection. This apartment’s home owner got exactly what they were looking for in seeking a space that is easily organized, sleek, and offering relaxation; a place to disconnect just beyond the busy streets of Barcelona’s Eixample district.
The building is an old one, dating back to the late 19th century when The Eixample was a place of great Modernist expansion, and a host of new buildings were created to fit the city’s growing population. Even the name Eixample means expansion, as the city blossomed and swallowed up the nearby towns. The grid pattern of the neighborhood plan, and octagonal building blocks are characteristic of this district, which also houses Gaudi’s famous and not-yet-complete Sagrada Familia cathedral.
When you’re greeted in the entryway of this fifth-story apartment, you’ll notice straight away that the unique and intriguing architectural elements of the original building remain. The low arches that run along the ceiling strengthens it like a shell structure. Rather than looking austere, these lovingly restored featured are blended alongside sleek contemporary design.
Another fascinating structural feature of the buildings in this area have to be the long corridors that stretch through each apartment. Since the 1980s this apartment had been used as an office, so it was a challenge to remove the ceilings and screens of the work environment and restore it to its original function as a home.
The mint cream panels mark the boundary of the corridor, the apartment’s central artery, with the bedrooms, bathroom, and living room spaces all arranged off that flow. The master bedroom occupies the far side, with the living room to the other, in order to maximize the amount of light in the most important rooms.
The guest bathroom shows a bright use of tiles in different sizes. Tiles are a featured element of the home, with the ceramic rasilla tiles typical of the region.
The master bedroom and en suite bathroom face the street side of the house, offering plenty of light. Timber paneling in the corridor works in vertical directions to play up to the height of the walls.
Perfectly poised, this is a beautifully balanced mirror unit. The transition between bathroom and bedroom is clear and feels warm and cheerful.
A built-in dressing room area creates an easy pathway between the bedroom and bathroom, making it that much easier to get ready in the morning.
A simple minimal look, with warm tones. The cupboard legs lift the unit from the floor, giving a lightness to the room that speaks to a popular mid-century look.
This is another bedroom, once again showing the charcoal palette that creates a cozy cocoon for the bedroom area and the light and fresh bathroom design. The bathroom’s rasilla tiles are quite an economical material, given their abundance in the region, while also creating a touch of color and character.
Do you like the brightness of the kitchen? On the other side of the house, facing towards the terrace and internal courtyard, this whole room has plenty of light. Just like in the bathroom, the kitchen cut out is created with the tiles against the wood flooring, but also with the wall partition that hangs lower than the actual ceiling.
As in many homes, the kitchen is the heart of it all, particularly to the home owner. “What he really likes the most is the opened kitchen to the living room, and the marbled table because he enjoys inviting friends to his home, cooking for them and having fun” said the designers at Bonba Studio.
One of the main challenges of the home is that this building is listed, given its age and the significance of its location. Creating too many partitions and walls could structurally alter the building from its original form. We’ve seen how in other Catalonian apartments they achieve this by building rooms within rooms, in the form of boxes. This kitchen cut out works in a similar way, containing all of the unit and items but connecting it with the larger living room space.
The pantry and laundry facilities are also cleverly tucked away behind similar panels, organizing the apartment and giving it that sleek minimal feeling.
With the transformation of the office space to spacious apartment complete, there’s no more to do except relax and enjoy it!
A spacious room with a pleasing pairing of old and new, it ticks all the right boxes. If you’re interested in seeing more home tours with these Catalan vault ceilings, check out the striking tiles and cornice features in this other Eixample apartment, or see how the architects used mirrors to make this small apartment feel bigger.
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Design: BONBA Studio
Photos: José Hevia