Before & After: A Divided Apartment in Barcelona Turns Into a Sunny, Social Home
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Before & After: A Divided Apartment in Barcelona Turns Into a Sunny, Social Home

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By Melissa Dalton
Nook Architects reimagines a drab, partitioned apartment by downplaying the bedrooms and focusing on bright, connected spaces.

This 721-square-foot apartment in one of the oldest high-rises in Barcelona’s bohemian Poble Sec neighborhood was organized around one long hallway that ended in a gallery. There, a row of windows overlooked a lush, green space, but every other room was shut off from light and views. 

"This house conceals something very surprising," says Nook Architects, who led the renovation. "Its partitioned interior leads to a luscious, apple-green oasis, full of sunlight. However, this outdoor space was all but imperceptible from the apartment itself. Therefore, from the outset of this project, strengthening the visual and spatial connection between these two spaces would be key."

Before: Hallway and Gallery

Before: The small apartment was dominated by a long, narrow hallway with too many doors.

Before: A long room at the end of the hall provided the main living space, yet it felt disconnected from the rest of the apartment.

Before: The apartment’s only full bath was off the gallery, far from the bedrooms. In the remodel, it was moved to the other end of the hallway, closer to the entry.

"The owners were looking for a home for their family of three, in which the common space would be the main focus," says the firm. The focus of this apartment was the central hall with its many doors, so the firm started by downsizing the number of bedrooms and baths to the "bare minimum, leaving just enough space for the beds and wardrobes" in the bedrooms.

In the process, the firm eliminated a powder bath and bedroom, then consolidated the living areas, moving the kitchen down the hallway so that it now sits beside a designated dining room and joins with the living areas. The family’s storage needs were assessed before any rooms were removed. "This important step allowed us to modify the existing layout and create a wide, open daytime area: an all-in-one living room, dining room, and kitchen," says the firm. 

After: Dining Room and Daybed

One end of the former gallery now hosts built-in storage, shelving, and a daybed.

A removed bathroom makes space for a designated dining area with a built-in buffet and storage.

The existing windows were stripped of paint and restored. The bespoke daybed can be used for guests, reading, or a siesta.

Regarding materials, the firm limited the palette to "those previously present: wood, marble and ceramics." That way, the new interventions blend easily with what was there. Existing woodwork at the windows was stripped and cleaned, and additional wood was used for the new built-in shelving, storage, and kitchen cabinets. New wood and ceramic tile flooring were installed, the cool tones contrasting with the original vaulted ceiling, which was exposed to reveal its terra-cotta color. 

Before: Kitchen and Living Room

Before: The firm removed the wall between these two doorways to open up and connect the rooms in the rear of the apartment.

Before: This bedroom for the couple’s child was made smaller to make more space for a new kitchen.

Before: The old kitchen was cloistered at the end of the hallway by the entry, far from the living spaces.

After: Kitchen and Living Room

Internal windows—like the one over the door leading to the child’s bedroom and one between the new dining room and kitchen—lets the bedroom and kitchen borrow light from the adjacent gallery.

Thanks to the removed wall, the gallery windows now illuminate the connected living spaces.

The kitchen is a compact galley layout that includes the washer and dryer.

A waterfall marble counter wraps the kitchen peninsula.

"The general color scheme used is neutral, so as to enhance the original features," says the firm. Sage green wall paint makes the terra-cotta ceiling pop.

Related Reading:

A Dramatic Apartment Renovation in Barcelona Features Salvaged Tile and Brick

A Barcelona Apartment Gets a Softly Modern Renovation

Project Credits:

Architecture: Nook Architects / @nookarchitects

Builder: Metric Integra

Structural Engineer: Francesc Gorgas

Lighting Design: Nook Architects

Interior Design: Nook Architects

Cabinetry Design and Installation: Nook Architects

Photography: Gael del Río

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