An Architect Turned a Photography Studio from the ’60s into a One-of-a-Kind Home

published Jul 31, 2018

An Architect Turned a Photography Studio from the ’60s into a One-of-a-Kind Home

published Jul 31, 2018
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Home Type
Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Gianni Ruggiero, his wife Valeria Dubin, and their two daughters Olivia and Mila
Location: Barcelona — Spain
Size: 2,153 square feet
Years lived in: 8 years, renting

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This big open Barcelona loft has seen a lot over its lifetime. In the 1960s, it was a photography studio, welcoming lots of models and colorful characters into its airy interior. When that photographer retired, he moved out and let his son rent the place: Gianni, an architect who appreciates simplicity in things.

In fact, Gianni kept the studio’s simple bones intact when he first moved in as a single guy—it was just a big open loft. There wasn’t so much a “kitchen” as a little stove in the middle. And it mostly remained that way when his wife Valeria moved in. But when the couple started having kids, the loft needed to evolve. Gianni and Valeria incorporated a kids’ room, a new bathroom, and built out a large kitchen off the main living area. It’s precisely the space’s ability to be flexible as his family grows that makes Gianni love the space, even despite any flaws it may have (he wishes there was more hidden storage, for example).

“Of course it has flaws but it is something I forget when my daughters are dancing in the big living room!” Gianni says, with a big smile on his face.

It’s a very cool apartment, made even cooler knowing its history (as a photo studio) and its future (as an ever-evolving, creative family home).

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I’m kind of practical. Being simple and transparent is my nature.

Inspiration: Pinterest and Google images

Favorite Element: The terrace shower. I love to have showers outdoors, with the air and the sun in my face!

Biggest Challenge: It’s kind of absurd to say it but I think I need more space… I need a storage room to organize the ‘un organizable.’

What Friends Say: The seven meters height of the living room surprises them.

Biggest Embarrassment: The terrace is on the upper floor and we never use it. I would like to have it next to the kitchen to have some outdoor dinners with friends and family.

Proudest DIY: The lamp above my bed. It looks like a seagull and it has a really nice light.

Biggest Indulgence: We don’t have too much indulgence here. The only expensive things in the apartment are the sofas.

Best Advice: Optimize spaces. Let the spaces be part of the circulation and try to find fluidity.


Rug – From Marrakech
Sofas — Ligne Roset
Coffee table – Aluminum Professional box
Book wooden shelves – IKEA
White drawer – IKEA
Black vintage lamp – Refurbished

Table — Estudi Metro
Chairs – Jacobsen
Stools — Estudi Metro
Wooden chair — Stokke

Bed – IKEA
Pillows – IKEA

Plastic cabinet — IKEA
Lamp — Custom made by Gianni

Thanks, Gianni!

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