Remodel of a 100 m2 loft located in the Poble Nou quarter, one of Barcelona's older industrial areas.
Given its deep and narrow floor plan, managing to create an airy, spacious and bright look was a challenge. In order to respond to this major request, some structural walls needed to be removed and a new flexible and more unconventional distribution was created. This way the spaces can easily change their function, depending on the occasion.
The new distribution consists of two main areas. A large diaphanous and spacious common area, which runs from façade to façade, contains the entrance hall, the dining room, the library, the studio, the living room and the kitchen. A private semi-closed box is formed by the bedroom suite and guest bathroom.
The following is an excerpt from the article that appeared on December 22, 2011 at the New York Times with the headline: Open Living in a Barcelona Loft.
Soon after moving to this city in 2006, James Welsh became smitten by its energy. “It has a thriving cultural scene, and you have beaches in summer and nearby mountains for snowboarding in winter,” said Mr. Welsh, a 33-year-old Englishman.
Mr. Welsh, who is single and works for an online printing firm he founded, began his search in El Poblenou, a neighborhood that is now brimming with tech entrepreneurs, artists and designers. Back then, Mr. Welsh said, “The area was still a little off the radar.”
He stumbled onto a floor-through loft with an enormous terrace. The large rectangular apartment — about 1,300 square feet — takes up the entire second floor of an old threestory building, and because the previous owner had removed some of the interior walls, it had an open feel. “It was all very minimal, which was great for me,” said Mr. Welsh, who paid about 600,000 euros (about $775,000) for the flat and the terrace, which is roughly the same size as the interior.
Still, Mr. Welsh wanted to make some changes — the loft was dark and lacked enough storage space. He hired Yolanda Yuste López and Tobias Laarmann, principals in a Barcelona-based architecture firm, Ylab Arquitectos. The pair drew up a plan, and Mr. Welsh approved most everything.
“Aside from the suggestion of adding a fireplace, which I knew I didn’t really need, almost everything in the original model is what I have here,” he said. The architects chose natural, neutral materials for the loft. Buff-colored earthen bricks sheathe the interior, creating a warm, almost rustic vibe, and the floors are thinly coated with concrete tinted a light anthracite gray. “We like to use materials that are not homogeneous, not perfect,” Mr. Laarmann said.
The kitchen, which has large windows and a glass-paneled door, opens onto a small balcony facing the street. When Mr. Welsh’s girlfriend at the time suggested an American style kitchen with large appliances, he disagreed. “I preferred having only low cupboards so not to disrupt the openness,” he said. As a result, the built-in refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher and oven are all tucked under the sprawling white-quartz countertops.
The architects also constructed a large L-shaped dividing wall that doubles as a storage unit. The wall, in light oak veneer, separates the dining area from the master bedroom. Also revamped was the bathroom and its walls. The architects devised an ingenious space with opaque sliding glass panels.
The new distribution consists of a large diaphanous and spacious common area, which runs continuously from façade to façade, and a private semi-closed box formed by the bedroom suite and guest bathroom.
Finally, the architects replaced the rear exterior wall with floor-to-ceiling windows and a sliding glass door, creating a light-filled space and an unobstructed view of the terra-cotta-tiled terrace.
“The interior is so much brighter,” Mr. Welsh said.
“Since the loft is done in wood and brick — rougher textures — we thought the bathroom had to be like a jewel, not rustic but shiny,” Ms. Yuste said. Italian glass tiles by Bisazza, pigmented with grays, whites and greens, cover the bathroom floor, walls and ceiling.