Two ‘Plantrepreneurs’ Have Crafted an Incredibly Covetable Rental Apartment in Argentina
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Victor and Gabriel took their passion for plants a step further than most collectors; last year they created Planta, a plant and housewares shop that became an instant success among greenery enthusiasts. Victor is an architect and Gabriel worked many years in PR in the arts and culture scene while practicing his pottery. Looking to lead a more balanced life, all of their talents came together when they set up shop in a corner of Villa Crespo. “We’re all about recognizing craftsmanship and embracing the thoughtful processes behind the elements that make up our homes,” explains the couple.
The two creatives live as they preach: surrounded by plants both in and outside of their house. A little over a year ago they found an apartment for rent in Barrio Parque Los Andes, an enclosed vicinity that is coveted by architecture and design fans for its abundance of green space, quality finishings, and sense of community among its dwellers. And the specific place they call home isn’t short of special traits. The social housing project dates back to 1926 when the Buenos Aires municipality created a competition to build three neighborhoods for low-income families. The architect Fermin Bereterbide was awarded the three projects, but only Barrio Los Andes was ever built.
The building consists of 157 apartments grouped in 12 independent buildings, placed in such a way that none of them casts a shadow on its neighbors at any time of the day. The construction features woodwork from Canada, tiles and fittings brought from France, and Carrara marble stairs, building standards that weren’t readily available to the masses at the time. There’s also a kindergarten, a library, and even a theater that works as a venue for cultural events that attract neighbors from outside its gates.
Once considered the edge of the city, Buenos Aires has grown around this block, though it’s a green haven. Inner paths, gardens, and sports facilities promote connection between neighbors, something overlooked in current urban development in my opinion. Units are coveted in the real estate market, and any information about listings runs first among friends and families of the actual occupants, which is why Victor and Gabriel were lucky to find a chance to move in.
The apartment they rent is owned by an architect that renovated it in the 1970s. He redid the kitchen-bathroom area by enclosing the latter in a library module that made the space more functional while creating a useful loft space above. The couple previously lived in a bigger place and were worried about downsizing, “but as we finished unloading the moving truck every piece found a place and it instantly felt like home,” says Gabriel.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: We can’t think of a specific name for it. We appreciate classic materials, recycled furniture, natural colors and textures, avoiding synthetic and plastic. “Experimental” is a good word for it; it’s also been home for all our ideas and projects
Inspiration: Artisans are a big part of our inspiration, even for our business. We love handmade things. Imperfection is always a good source; it allows us to rethink everything we do.
Favorite Element: It’s almost impossible to pick one. We love everything that is in our apartment. Maybe, just maybe, our pilea plant; one of our dogs is named after it.
Biggest Challenge: As we were moving in all the furniture it almost felt like the place was built for us. The hardest part might be the lighting of our living room; we haven’t decided on a general light fixture so at night it’s only lit by table lamps.
What Friends Say: All of them want to live here! We even participated in the Buenos Aires Open House and people who visited were very curious about how it’s like to live here. They loved it and we loved sharing with them!
Biggest Embarrassment: The loft space above the kitchen, definitely. It was a clever intervention by the owner of the apartment, but we haven’t made up our mind yet on what to do with it, and meanwhile it serves as storage.
Proudest DIY: We are not fully proud of it, but we made the desk in the guest bedroom.
Biggest Indulgence: We love the daybed in the bedroom. Gabriel picked it from the street and tried to convinced me (Victor) that it was worth keeping. At first I hated it but the carpenter and upholsterer (who ended up costing a lot!) did a great job bringing it back to life.
Best Advice: There is always room for one more plant. Follow your intuition and make mistakes; just remember not to be so hard on yourself.
Dream Sources: We love the IKEA philosophy of good design for the masses at a reasonable price.
- Sculptures — Manuel de Francesco
- Mirrors — DIYed by Gabriel
- Turntable — Belonged to Gabriel’s father
- Table — Flea market find
- Ceramic animals — Los gregorios
- `G’ sign — Souvenir from a Victor’s project
- Chairs — Picked from the street
- Desk — DIYed by the couple
- Sofa — Picked from the street
- Nightstand — Flea market find
- Screen print — Gift from a friend
- Plant pots — Planta
- Plants and pots — Planta
Thanks Gabriel and Victor!