The offbeat occupant: Clarisse, Film Editor
Other occupants: My partner, our friend, and a rescued Manx cat
Approximate square footage: Under 650 sq. feet (under 60 square meters)
How many bedrooms? 2
Lives in: Barcelona, Spain
When did you move into this home? January 2008
Let’s start with the neighborhood. What’s it like where you live? Our neighborhood is one of the most traditionally Catalan areas in the center of Barcelona. But at the same time, our street is the border with the most ethnically diverse neighborhood. On the left side of our street, we have Catalan folk art shops and tapas bars. On the right, we have Pakistani restaurants and Moroccan lamp shops! Also there is an amazing modernist fruit/vegetable market grounds — which on Sunday only sells old books/maps. The Contemporary Art Museum is 5 minutes away. Basically, we have everything we could ever think of within a couple of blocks of our building.
What makes your home offbeat? To start off, our building is from around the 1850s! We live on the 6th floor and the only way to get up is through a tiny narrow staircase — we motivate ourselves by saying we are not wasting energy with an elevator and it’s good exercise. The previous owners uncovered the beautiful original curved brick ceiling. I still can’t understand why people would plaster over it — flat ceilings are so boring! We touched it up with black paint on the beams to make it really pop. Our furniture is a motley crew of design and thrift finds (and Ikea, shh)! The only artwork we have around are illustrations made by our graphic designer/illustrator friends, so they are really meaningful to us. The decor for the bedroom was inspired by a colored glass chandelier that my mom found in a thrift store for us — and that set the tone for making the bedroom FULL of color. We acquired my partner’s “baby” — the Eames clothes hanger — and later we got the wardrobe. It’s made out of eco-wood and has movable colored panels.
What’s the most challenging about this space? How do you deal with the challenge? The apartment is under 200 square feet, so it’s SMALL and we have to use the space to its fullest. The second bedroom was especially tiny and we had to figure out how to add enough storage space so that it was livable; one of the walls is rounded and that makes it even harder to furnish.
Every little bit of space was carefully measured to be able to make the most of it. We basically had to sit down and think a LOT about what we had and where it could go and how to maximize each space. We didn’t have the luxury to be able to shove stuff somewhere, so we had do to a bit of “musical chairs” with our stuff until it all fit in an organized manner.
What’s your favorite feature of your home? It would have to be what we first got — our spiral bookshelf!! When we saw the bookshelf we immediately fell in love, and had to have it even before we had any more practical furniture (like a bed! oops). My partner is a major bookworm but a traditional shelf seemed a bit too normal for us. It was a pain to install — it comes in a straight strip and bending it while drilling it into the wall is tough! It was so so worth it because it has purpose and it looks good. The shelf also kind of creates two areas within our small living room – the tv/sofa area and the dining area.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this home? Don’t have too much stuff! Seriously! When you have too much stuff then you need to acquire furniture to store all of your stuff and then you need a lot of space in which to put all that furniture! When we moved in together in this apartment we eventually managed to donate/recycle/gift about a third of our belongings because we just did not have the space for it all.
For the first six months, the second bedroom was our “storage room” because we had too many clothes, linens and other household items. We wanted my friend to move in so we eventually did a massive “spring cleaning” of our stuff and ended up donating six giant trash bags of clothes/shoes and four shopping carts of household items. The library was more than happy to take a big box of books/dvds. And that’s why our tiny flat looks so minimalist!
Donating made us feel good. I couldn’t bear to fill up landfills with stuff that some other people could need — it was all about doing some research about the different organizations that collected donations.
What’s your grandest plan for the space? Right now our beautiful turquoise hallway is TOTALLY plain but has a horrible old switch box that we legally can’t fully cover. So we have yet to figure out some sort of cupboard situation to cover it, but leave it accessible. We also plan on putting up a funky mirror and maybe a key holder/small shelf. Everything has to be really shallow because the hallway is narrow and we don’t want people hitting their head/knocking things down by accident!
Any stuff or services you want to recommend? Kewlox for amazing closets!
Your local museum’s shop for artsy decorations!
Show me the decor porn!