Barrel-Vaulted Ceilings Take This Barcelona Apartment to New Heights

Barrel-Vaulted Ceilings Take This Barcelona Apartment to New Heights

By Kathryn M.
Terra-cotta and wood tones preserve the authentic character of this revamped city oasis.

When Nook Architects set out to renovate a 720-square-foot apartment in Barcelona's Poble Sec district, they knew they wanted to retain the space's characteristic elements—especially the original barrel-vaulted ceilings. They focused on opening up the heavily partitioned layout, and limited the choice of materials to only those previously present in the space—namely, wood, ceramic, and marble. 

Nook Architects relocated the kitchen from a small space near the entrance to create an open living space for the family of three. A large marble island provides a place to gather.

"We tackle every single project by first studying its starting conditions. From there, we work on important points for the client without losing a balance between these original features and the adopted solutions," says Joan G Cortés, architect and partner at Nook.

The resulting two-bed, two-bath apartment, named CALDRAP, features a central living area that flows into a bright gallery area, which was once a closed-off sunroom.

Typical of older apartments, a central hallway once divided the individual rooms. The team opened up portions of the old corridor to create a new common space.

A key challenge was maximizing the size of the new living room while working within a compact floor plan. In the end, Joan's team removed several walls that divided the home into compartment-like spaces. The team also downsized the two bedrooms to create a larger, wide-open living area for relaxing and entertaining.

A canopy of original terra-cotta tiles flows along the barrel-vaulted ceilings, which stretch across the entire width of the new living room and kitchen.

The barrel-vaulted ceilings are mimicked in the mixed-use front gallery, which is warmed by natural light that pours in from a wall of windows.

Throughout the new common spaces, marble, wood, and ceramics mix together to form a cohesive design style for the apartment. These warm natural materials are balanced by a crisp, minimal aesthetic.

Previously an indoor/outdoor sunroom, the new gallery space includes a bespoke sofa that converts into a bed for overnight guests.

The mixed-use gallery also includes a dining area and concealed space for laundry.

The exposed metal beams and barrel-vaulted ceilings continue into a small bedroom off the kitchen, visible through a new architectural transom window.

Warm wood accents form a common thread that connects each room.

The floor plan before (top) and after the renovation (bottom). A former central hallway was partially removed to create an integrated living space at the front of the apartment.

Related Reading: An Ancient Barcelona Apartment Gets a Colorful, Chic Makeover, In Barcelona, Vaulted Ceilings Are Always a Win

Project Credits:

Architect, Lighting, Cabinetry, and Interior Design: Nook Architects / @nookarchitects

General Contractor: Metric Integra

Structural Engineering: Francesc Gorgas

 Photography: Gael del Río / @delriogael


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