Behind the scenes - furnishing the flat on Calle Gonzalo de Cordoba.
I have really enjoyed working on this flat, from working with Ana Salva Llompart and Antonia Rodriguez Mendez of A&A Arquitectos,
deciding on what would be the best new layout, converting a dark impractical flat with three small bedrooms and a kitchen hidden away at the back, to create this modern light-filled two bedroom two bathroom apartment; to designing the kitchen and choosing furniture, from puzzling over various shades of greens and greys for the interior, and discovering new shops, local artesans and back street antique shops for quirky finds to give it that extra 'je ne sais quoi'.
The furniture package and staging was entrusted to Constanza Subijana and her team at HSDecor, as well as making great suggestions for furnishings, she knows where to find exactly what one has in mind, and is even willing to hunt around around for any specific requests (houndstooth cushions in this case!) always working within a very specific time frame and budget. Having her team controlling and coordinating the arrival and set up of the larger furniture pieces all in the same day is invaluable, especially with this very tight time frame. Touches such as the made-to-measure headboards are fantastic and unique to this property, a beautiful jacquard pattern in the master bedroom imitates the tiles in the adjacent shower area. The bed covers and pillows are fresh white in both bedrooms, accessorised with pale grey green in the second bedroom and simple greys in the master suite. The black and white bistro style dining room chairs call to mind afternoons in street cafes, while the made to measure grey linen sofa for the living area is simple and chic in its simplicity.....and was made and delivered in less than 4 weeks from her Valencian supplier. (No mean feat considering this time frame included the famous Fallas, the Valencian fiestas!)
I knew from the start of this renovation that in this particular property I wanted to use a very muted chic palette of blacks, whites and greys, with the occasional splash of greens. The pale grey-green of the glass kitchen splashback imitates the colour of the outside metal shutters of the century-old exterior. Instead of sanding down and painting the interior wooden shutters white, here we chose a more unusual dark grey, which worked just as beautifully especially against the white walls. The grey theme continues along the dining room and hallway wall as well as the kitchen cupboards, again a departure from the usual white kitchen.
The black and white motif theme is used throughout, from the kitchen floor tiles (a play on kitchen tiles from my childhood in England, though in this case dark grey and off-white), the tiles in both bathrooms, the dining room chairs, and the houndstooth cushions.
Connie found us thend us the gorgeous green and white stripey carpet which adds that extra dash of zing to the living area and the velvet armchairs, on my wishlist from the start, in a fantastic vibrant green to sit on the rug were found online.
I had a lot of fun in Madrid sourcing local pieces for the property. The eye-catching light sculpture in the hallway and the copper lamps above the clever kitchen island the architects designed (on wheels and therefore moveable), are from the wonderful Luciole store on Calle Hortaleza. The architects' suggestions for stringing lights from over the island over to the corner on grey rope, as well as looking spectacular, was actually a necessity since we didn't want to damage the original ceilings and mouldings with electrical wiring.
Walking through the back streets of El Rastro , Madrid's famous flea market on a hunt for interesting treasures, we found the lamp which now hangs over the dining table. It was hanging right at the back of a shop so crammed with antiques and other interesting bits and pieces that you were afraid to turn around; cleaned and buffed up it has taken pride of place in the dining room. The superb woven wall-mounted bull's head is from Javier S. Medina in Malasaña (http://www.javiersmedina.com), and the pink neon Olé on the dressing room wall is from We Love the Neon, the handmade neons made by Luisa Alvarez. (http://www.weloveneon.org) in Old School Rastro. Finally, the old glass bottles are (on loan!) from my father's antique English bottle collection and add another very individual touch.