1930s Barcelona Apartment Gets a Minimal Makeover

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By Patrick Sisson
A restored 1930s apartment in Barcelona is a minimal masterpiece.

When Barcelona architect Adrian Elizalde embarked on a renovation project for his family’s recently purchased apartment near the Sagrada Familia in the Eixample district, he quickly realized he was walking on ground that had already been covered. Numerous renovations had left the 1930s apartment dark, cramped, and confused, a space searching for a strong personality. Elizalde’s strategy was to inject some Scandinavian cool into the space on a limited budget, using custom wood pieces and a sparse aesthetic to open things up. 

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This renovated apartment in Barcelona plays with subtle color contrasts, such as the chromatic tile mosaics and the blond wood used for sliding doors and benches.

Stripping the track-marked wood floors and dropped ceilings of the roughly 750-square-foot space revealed a vaulted ceiling and a colorful series of tiles. Elizadle had sensed there was big opportunities when he started the project in January, and found a plenty hidden by previous residents. He said the process was like a selective defoliation, peeling back layers to reveal the inspiring original construction. 

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Barcelona-based architect Adrian Elizalde embarked on a renovation project for his family’s new apartment. His strategy was to inject some Scandinavian cool on a limited budget, using custom wood pieces and a sparse aesthetic to open things up. Lamps sourced from secondhand stores and a set of Belloch chairs by Santa & Cole are arrayed across the space.

"It was beautiful to see the passage of time in the apartment," he says, referencing the original tile floors, which he patched up with newer tiles to create a subtle chromatic shift across the floor. 

1930s Barcelona Apartment Gets a Minimal Makeover - Photo 3 of 8 -

Numerous renovations left the 1930s apartment dark, cramped, and confused, a space searching for a strong personality. Stripping the track-marked wood floors and dropped ceilings of the roughly 750-square-foot space revealed a subtle vaulted ceiling and a colorful series of tiles.

A set of birch plywood pieces, used to create sliding doors, benches, and storage, added subtle accents and maximized the space. The apartment features a very open floor plan centered around a custom dining room table; the open wardrobe is simply a bench with a rod traversing the bedroom. Lamps sourced from second-hand stores and a set of Belloch chairs by Santa Cole are arrayed across the space, including a camera positioned on a small wooden dolly. 

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A set of birch plywood pieces, used to create sliding doors, benches, and storage, added subtle accents and maximized the space. The apartment features a very open floor plan centered around the custom dining room table.

"The color choice relied on intuition," says Elizadle. "Wood was the perfect material, and great way to bridge old and new. It’s traditional and really Nordic, an inspiration from a trip to Stockholm a few years ago."

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“The color choice relied on intuition,” says Elizadle. “Wood was the perfect material, and great way to bridge old and new. It’s traditional and really Nordic, an inspiration from a trip to Stockholm a few years ago.”

1930s Barcelona Apartment Gets a Minimal Makeover - Photo 6 of 8 -

“It was beautiful to see the passage of time in the apartment,” he says, referencing the original tiled floors, which he patched up with newer tiles to create a subtle chromatic shift across the floor.

1930s Barcelona Apartment Gets a Minimal Makeover - Photo 7 of 8 -

The open wardrobe is simply a bench with a single rod traversing the bedroom.

1930s Barcelona Apartment Gets a Minimal Makeover - Photo 8 of 8 -

Elizadle had sensed there was big opportunities when he started the project in January, and found a plenty hidden by previous residents. He said the process was like a selective defoliation, peeling back layers to reveal the inspiring original construction.

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