Name: Ana, German and their children Antonio, Ramón, Salvador and Carmen.
Location: Tigre — Buenos Aires, Argentina
Size: 950 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years, owned
Ana and German were taking a Sunday bike ride when they saw a small "SALE" sign on this house and decided to take a look. The structure was really run down; there were holes in the floor with plants growing up through them. It seemed like a haunted house, but as they walked inside they whispered to each other: "We're gonna live here."
Their friends said it was a crazy idea to try and fix up such a run-down house, but Ana and German thought this space was perfect for their growing family. So they set to work restoring the house themselves; they fixed pipes and broken windows and they painted floors, walls and furniture. It was a lot of work, but it was also apparently fun: it was while renovating this house that Ana discovered a passion for restoration. She and her sister Consuelo founded Las Vidalas, a vintage furniture shop.
It's not just the house that was perfect for Ana and German, but the surroundings as well. Ana loves country living, and this house is only steps away from a river. It's a typical wooden stilt house, a picturesque style that is very common in the Paraná River delta area, where homes are raised on piles in case it floods. "Some have concerns about the floods, but it doesn't get worse than having to wear rubber boots a few times a year. I once spent my birthday here during a three-day flood, answering greetings on the phone." Ana and German clearly aren't afraid of getting their hands (or boots) dirty.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: It's warm and a bit nostalgic. But nothing stays still: things change constantly as long as they get sold.
Inspiration: I'm inspired by my childhood, my grandmother and the people I grew up with. I love country life and its simplicity, that's where I feel most comfortable.
Favorite Element: The kitchen is my favorite room of the house. I like the way it encompasses what happens throughout the day. I'm a very active person and here you're always doing something. I find it hard to sit quiet in the living room.
Biggest Challenge: The amount of hard work we put into the house to make it safe and comfortable for our family. We couldn't be happier with the result.
What Friends Say: As we moved from a smaller place, my friends laughed "now you'll have more walls to hang plates!" They're always bringing me flea markets finds.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our backyard, we still have to tile the patio.
Proudest DIY: The whole house. Taking it from the jungle it was into the vision we had when we first visited it.
Biggest Indulgence: I've wanted a Chesterfield sofa for as long as I can remember. I found a craftsman who came here with leather samples and we talked about the finishing details; it made the piece feel very special.
Best Advice: Take what you like and bring it to your house. Don't worry about what visitors will think; don't buy things because someone else thinks they're cool. Your house should suit your likes. Just like a garden, collections don't grow in a day, and you can't rush the place where you live into becoming a home for you. One day a corner is empty and then the next you may find the perfect piece for it; you can't do that in a hurry.
Dream Sources: I would scour all the flea markets from abroad where I couldn't buy big things because I was a plane away from home.
Enamel pots and tin boxes — gifts from friends
Cabinets — made from salvaged woods
Table — DIYed
Dish Rack and chairs — Las Vidalas