A 560-Square-Foot Barcelona Apartment Gets a 1990s-Inspired Renovation

Rich in history and culture, Barcelona’s Gràcia neighborhood has a bohemian soul. It is also where you’ll find a 560-square-foot apartment that once had six small and uninspired rooms. It has now undergone a radical transformation, thanks to the vision of architects Isabel Francoy and Anna Enrich and decorators César Carcaboso and Josep Vicens, the founders of Santa Living. The home has become a flowing, open-plan space with a kitchen, dining area, living room, study, bedroom, and bathroom. “I wanted to turn this labyrinthine apartment into a great space for cooking, entertaining friends, relaxing, and working,” says Anna, who also owns the unit. Passionate about the 1990s and early 2000s, the architect wanted to “pay tribute to a golden age of Barcelona design with all the comforts and technologies of today.”

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The early 1900s building is not lacking in charm, with its brick walls and steel-beamed and tile-vaulted ceilings. As part of the first stage of the renovation, Isabel and Anna removed all the internal partitions and then recreated just one, which curves around the bathroom, subtly linking the apartment’s spaces. The timeless materials such as cement, stainless steel, mirror, and glass—providing cold, reflective, and mineral notes—are complemented by warm fabrics, wood, and ceramic objects. The elegant integration of the kitchen and the meticulous selection of furniture and artworks complete the link between the history of the building and its present.

“This project is strongly inspired by its location in the city and the life of its owner,” explain designers César and Josep. “Anna is truly linked to a peak moment in Barcelona history and the architectural revolution the city experienced after it opened itself to the world with the 1992 Olympic Games. It was a unique opportunity for many local artists to project themselves on a global scale, and that moment of transformation reshaped the city.”

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