Renovating an apartment takes vision, patience and the right space. All three things came together for Fiona Carnegie and she managed to renovate an entire apartment in the Eixample in just three months. Originally Fiona, along with her husband David, was looking to move to a place on the ground floor with a terrace. “But you find a place and you sit out on the terrace and you’re suddenly very aware that everyone in the building can look down at you. You get the feeling that you’re being watched all the time, which makes it hard to relax,” said Fiona. So instead they chose to buy an apartment on the top floor where the natural light flooding in through the front windows was too spectacular to pass up.
From the beginning, Fiona had a very clear idea what she wanted: a mix of modern and vintage. She also strived to keep the apartment uncluttered in order to keep movement throughout the space. “As much as I love looking around for new pieces, I’m very aware of not letting the space get too crowded,” she said. It’s more an attention to detail, rather than an overload of furnishings and knick-knacks, that makes her apartment special. The tiles of the bathroom floor were found at Otranto, a shop in on Pg. Sant Joan that sells reclaimed pieces from old Modernista flats. A chaise longue that sits in the study was snatched from a neighbour down the street who was on her way to the rubbish with it. There was one eye-catching rosetón above the chandelier in the entrance way, so Fiona decided to add other gorgeous ones around the ceiling of the apartment to match.
The expansive front room also reflects her minimalist ideology. Two walls that once divided the rounded front room of this corner apartment were torn down to create an open concept and connect the kitchen, living room and study. The kitchen, moved from the rear of the apartment to the front, includes a handmade wood table, the base of which is an old dressmaker’s table, and is long enough that someone can eat at one end and draw at the other. The kitchen cabinets and counters were also tailored to fit the family’s needs. Being taller than average, Fiona had her counters raised to a comfortable height for her to work on while she’s cooking. Just another pleasant perk of custom-making things in your home.
Moving to the right of the kitchen, there are two mismatched couches which face each other. Rather than having a television as the focal point of the living room, this arrangement calls for socialising. Next to this living space is the study with floor to ceiling built-in bookshelves as its backdrop. A mint green wall can slide closed to create a barrier between those at play and those at work, and once the study is closed off a sense of calm falls over the room and encourages you to sit down and get serious.
If all the other features of the apartment and its ambience don’t make you want to pack your bags and move in, up one more flight of stairs lays a spacious, sun-drenched rooftop terrace worth envying. In one corner, among some potted greenery, Fiona has set-up outdoor furniture to relax on. The rest of the area has been left open, the Barcelona cityscape being enough decoration. This way the kids can rollerblade and ride their bikes without having to deal with the unpredictable drivers and crazy motorbikes on the street below.
As Fiona sat back on her couch for one last picture, I could see the joy and pride she has in her renovation success, in being able to create a peaceful and comfortable home for her family. She makes it all look easy. “I would love to do another renovation, especially since I got along so well with our architect. I just have to find the right space and the money.” Any space would benefit from her undeniable ability to take an outdated home and bring life back into it, making it a homeowner’s dream.