Photos by Annabel Warley
In 2007, after years of travelling around the world, Canadian Sam Mednick decided it was time for a change and settled on Barcelona as her new home. Sam’s work as a journalist, covering everything from humanitarian development and conflict zones, to lifestyle and travel, meant she never stayed in one place for too long. But when she stepped inside this rooftop apartment in the heart of the Gothic quarter, she fell instantly in love. “Everything about it felt right, the vibe, the decor, the architecture,” she said. “At the time, it was a work in progress, but it’s evolved nicely over the years.” Despite the amount of work and travel in her life, coming back to a cosy environment has always been important to her: “There are times when I’m out for days or weeks at a time, and when I finally get home, I just like to reconnect with my apartment for a bit.”
When her girlfriend, Mariah, moved in three years ago, a hangout for one had to become a home for two. To accommodate both of them, they needed more space, especially in the kitchen and living room. Sam admits to having no real skills in the kitchen and confessed that she used to use her oven for extra storage. But when avid cook Mariah came onto the scene, that had to stop. Sam brought in cupboards to store cookware and redesigned the counters to convert the kitchen into an open-plan space. She also created a compact workstation from the mock kitchen island, with plugs conveniently installed under the countertop, which the couple shares when they work from home.
The minimalist kitchen, with its sleek black cabinets and metallic accents, is partnered perfectly with solid wooden counters and leather stools, seamlessly combining the old with the new. The exposed brick walls also add to the subtle elegance of the living space, infusing more traditional elements with a smooth glossy finish.
The kitchen is fitted with the latest gadgets and an impressive wine fridge, a gift from Mariah to Sam. The wine theme continues onto the terrace, where Sam’s most recent addition is a huge wine barrel, which stands out against the impressive view of the city skyline. “It’s one of my favourite pieces in the house,” Sam said, although the task of getting the barrel up to the top floor with no lift proved a little tricky.
Although the apartment is bathed in natural light, Sam and Mariah love to spend time outside on the terrace. Undoubtedly, the spacious rooftop terrace is the apartment’s star attraction, with cascading views over the port and the Ramblas. On either side, a sleek and modern dining table and sofa provide plenty of space to host guests. “We enjoy having people over, especially when it’s sunny and we can light up the barbecue,” Sam said. “I love being around friends, so I’m happy my home can accommodate them.”
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To create a home that truly reflects her personality, Sam has infused her love of art into all its nooks and crannies. One particularly special piece that hangs above the couch is of two figures of great importance to her. One is Thirties comedian Will Rogers and the other is Vivien Leigh from Gone with the Wind. “To me, one shows an ability to never take things too seriously, and the other signifies strength and feistiness yet, at the same time, the capacity to be vulnerable.” The painting was done in an urban style that complements the apartment well and pops against the neutral tones of the walls.
The concept of a home being your sanctuary may sound like a cliché, but for Sam and Mariah, who spend much of their time focused on their careers and travelling, their apartment is a space in which their lives intersect and can be enjoyed to the fullest.
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