The Klinkers—a young family of four—purchased their Barcelona apartment on the top floor of a stylish and historic building with the hopes of remodeling the space as their vacation home. Marta, an interior designer herself, planned to refurbish the home using her own design. Then, disaster struck.
A day before completion, an explosion burned the flat down, along with much of the already completed work. This not only devastated their budget, but also severely damaged some of the property’s ancient features. A year later, they were ready to reach out to Colombo and Serboli Architecture (CaSa) to begin the remodel the Klinker Apartment again.
Naturally, they wanted to renovate the home as a budget-friendly project, while at the same time presenting a home that would be dramatically different from its previous incarnation as an old, neglected apartment. The goal was to preserve and highlight historical features and make the most of high ceilings, decorative elements, floors, windows, and doors. Walls and ceilings had been blackened by the fire, which needed special care, and most of the walls had to be scrapped to bricks and newly finished. Art nouveau details in the ceiling were either restored or reproduced.
Budget constraints kept CaSa from being able to demolish or change the layout. They navigated through the sea of charred and damaged surfaces to make the most of existing installations. The greatest challenge was installing a new interpretation of the existing spaces without moving any walls.
The original layout already held an open plan including a kitchen, living area, two bedrooms, and a small bathroom. CaSa focused on the main area as an anchor for the rest of the home, though it wasn’t easy. There were kitchen installations on the back wall, like a recessed dark nook that hosted a small dining area. Earlier demolitions had left a fragmented and messy patchwork of five different types of floor tiles. To remedy this, they decided to incorporate a clever use of materials, including Formica for the kitchen worktops, micro-cement for terra cotta floors, and a careful selection of paints, into the new design.
For the palette, they focused first on the kitchen workshops as there were limited options due to budget constraints. CaSa color blocked the space in a rich terra-cotta tone to create order in the space and allow it to serve multiple purposes including kitchen, dining area, and quiet studio corner with a long island doubling as a dining table.
"Funny enough, the family name recalls clinker brick blocks, clay bricks that are exposed to excessive heat during the firing process, resulting in a shiny surface," says Andrea Serboli, co-founder of CaSa.
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The entire ceiling above the kitchen was dropped to disguise a support beam and air conditioning ducts. A micro-cement floor in the same color covers three different types of tiles (the least interesting ones), unifying the block and highlighting the adjoining floors. The same earthy tone is used for the micro-cement backsplash, ceiling, kitchen cabinets, the central island, the studio area, desk, and shelves.
The result is a color-block area that makes a distinctive statement at the core of the apartment."Then once the terra-cotta was chosen, we decided to add colors to go with it, [including] calmer tones for the bedrooms. Colors were also chosen to match and enhance the colors of the original Art Nouveau cement polychrome tiles," explains Serboli.
Color play continues in the hallway and bedrooms with pastels adding dimension to creme-hued walls and an extra sense of whimsy against period tile flooring. Tones meet shapes in the bedrooms via a volume that forms a headboard along with storage, globe lights, light switches, and sockets.
A porthole window allows light to flow the space. Ceilings, too, are color coordinated with an off burgundy in the living areas and a dark teal for the private spaces. The soft palette and geometric elements add a whimsical and modern touch to the stately nature of the Art Nouveau apartment, allowing the space to receive a major facelift while retaining its original charm.
Interior Design: CaSA / @colomboserboli
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