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It’s hard to say where Charles Smith is from. Born in Denmark, yes, but over the past 12 years he’s called Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Egypt and now Spain, home. Working in international logistics certainly has its perks, but the absence of a European office and the desire for a change of pace, led to a switch of lifestyle.
Charles moved into this apartment on the corner of Gran Via and Carrer de Bailèn back in 2011. “I’d looked around and have a lot of friends living in this area,” says Charles. “It’s perfect, close to the Arc de Triomf and the beach but just far enough from the crowded streets of the centre."
After a trip up the quaint, little red elevator to the third floor, it’s easy to see he made a smart choice. The doors open into a spacious, four-bedroom apartment that comfortably maintains a homely feel while its white-painted walkways highlight a collection of, let’s say, unique furnishings.
“I’ve always enjoyed going to markets wherever I’ve lived in the world,” says Charles. “Most pieces here I’ve accumulated from all that travelling over the years.
And it’s clear to see the international influence. A quick glance sees a beautifully-crafted Egyptian coffee table (Charles’ first ever piece) lying neatly between two Danish lamps and a prototype bulldog carving from Target. Angle left towards the guest bedrooms and you notice a hand-drawn scripture from Thailand, an incredibly detailed wood carving from a brief trip to the Ivory Coast and a collection of medallions from a stint in China.
You can’t help but think every piece here has a story, some little piece of history to go with it. And when prompted, Charles nods his head, and smiles in agreement. Pointing to a metal spider’s web hanging from the ceiling of the master bedroom, he explains, “I first noticed this in a friend’s apartment in Frankfurt. She told me she had a spare so delightedly, I folded it up in my hand luggage. German security saw it as art. When I touched down in Cairo, well, you should have seen the looks I received!”
But most important to Charles is to have a nice, comfortable space to relax in. “If you’ve had a bad day at work, it can make all the difference,” he explains. And with an apartment like this, we couldn’t agree more.