Amy Farrington and her partner Andy Coles viewed this spacious third-floor apartment on a whim one sunny morning in March last year. “We weren’t necessarily looking to move at the time, but we instantly fell in love with the place,” explained Amy. Coming from Andy’s small rented flat in Sant Antoni with its exposed beams and dark rooms, the bright and airy Poble-sec apartment was refreshing. With plenty of natural light flooding in through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya visible from the three balconies, it’s not hard to see why they instantly fell for it.
The British couple met in London while Amy was working as a PR manager and Andy for an American IT firm. In 2014, Andy’s job brought him back to Barcelona, where he had previously lived for four years, forcing the couple into a long-distance relationship for a year. During this time, Amy visited Barcelona as much as she could, falling in love with the city more and more each time. Although it would have been more sensible for Andy to eventually move back to England, Amy was ready for a change. “I was growing tired of London, and Barcelona gave me the zest for city life again,” she said. In February 2015, she joined Andy here.
Recently renovated, the three-bedroom apartment they now share was completely empty when the couple moved in, allowing Amy to unleash her passion for interior design and put her unique stamp on the space. Having furnished all her previous flats in London, Amy had a large amount of furniture in storage. When she discovered a family friend was driving to Spain with an empty van to pick up a vintage car, she jumped at the opportunity to have everything brought over. As a result, 75 percent of the furniture in the flat is from back home.
Once everything was out of boxes, it took just a month to put it all together. “I saw it as my project,” said Amy. “Andy would come home from work every day and find I’d totally rearranged the furniture again!” she laughed.
When it comes to her interior design style, Amy likes to draw inspiration from a variety of sources. The result is an eclectic mix of renovated furniture, intriguing artwork and transformed Ikea pieces that slot together perfectly. Despite a mix of different design styles, Amy achieves a sense of continuity through the colour scheme, which combines complementary shades of grey, white, blue and green.
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In the living room, standout pieces include two framed Hermès scarves, one of which is artfully perched on top of an ‘Ikea hack’ chest of drawers, while the other (which Andy bought Amy as a present) hangs above the TV. “I’m a huge advocate of the Ikea hack,” said Amy. By painting some plain Ikea drawers a deep ash grey and replacing the handles with glass knobs, she has managed to elevate them from simply functional to a statement piece with charm and personality. A plethora of secondhand pieces have been transformed in a similar way, including an elegant grey dresser decorated with bottle green soda syphons and ornate cobalt blue candle holders. It’s these little quirks that give the apartment its character.
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The rest of the space is no less impressive. In the long, echoing corridor you’ll find a series of black and white prints by American fashion photographer Richard Avedon, which Amy herself scanned, printed and framed. Take a right into one of the bedrooms and there’s another one of Amy’s unique touches: rustic wooden crates used as bedside tables, one of which she salvaged from the bin. “It’s common for people here to repurpose items they find on the street, which I love,” she exclaimed. “I don’t like everything to be polished and new. It doesn’t matter where things have come from as long as they look good.”
Taking in the apartment as a whole, there is no denying Amy’s sophisticated eye for design. All of the carefully selected pieces, from the renovated cupboard that stands proudly in the hallway, down to the colourful cushions scattered on the sofa, come together in perfect harmony.
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