Name: Daniel and Diego
Location: Palermo — Buenos Aires, Argentina
Size: 590 square feet
Years lived in: Owned, 12 years
After living in Spain for 15 years, Daniel wanted to move back to Argentina. During a visit he found this apartment, fell in love with it, and began a long-distance restoration relationship that would last almost a year.
Luckily, Daniel's experience as an interior designer helped him sail through the process with ease. The bathroom got a fresh remodel, and floors throughout the home were re-tiled, but the major change was done in the layout: He tore down a wall, sacrificed a bedroom, and connected two spaces to create proper dining and living room areas. He ended up with a smaller bedroom, but won at space flow and storage.
When Daniel finally was able to make the actual move after the renovation, he didn't pack light. He brought with him many of the pieces he acquired during his years living in Spain. Then, after meeting Diego and launching their interior design practice, a new layer of elements started to pile up while sourcing items for clients. Daniel and Diego visit many flea markets, auctions and estate sales where they try to stick to a shopping list, but every now and then they're struck by pieces too good to pass by. Most of the times they end up bringing them home, sparking an itch to reconfigure an entire room!
This happened recently when they came across a Flemish painting at an auction sale, a style that Daniel had been craving to find for years. They say that it's stunning... but that we'll have to see it some other time, after they finish reframing it and rearranging the dining room to accommodate it. Unlike the characters in the portrait, their home doesn't sit still for long periods of time.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: It's very eclectic; we like mixing different styles and eras like French, Flemish and classic. It goes without saying that we're maximalists. Anything that has a strong presence will have a place in our hearts and our home. We know that it makes a statement, but our clients know that we won't push the same choices on them. Our style is about our taste and our story, and we think that the same should happen for them.
Inspiration: Mainly our trips, the museums, architecture, seeing the way people solve the same situations in different parts of the world. We're currently very drawn to London and its gardens. Walking the streets and seeing through a tiny window an old lady cooking dinner. Her countertops, the glass panes of her window.
Favorite Element: It must be the Japanese screen: Whenever we make changes we end up keeping it because we can't imagine any other piece taking its place. People don't use screens anymore so that makes it a little more special, too. It's a once-functional element that now only serves as a piece of art.
Daniel has another favorite piece: the poultry painting in the dining room. "It was created by Carlos Laharrague, a Spanish artist that I've always admired. I was visiting a friend's house for the first time when I saw that painting hanging on a wall. I wonder what face I must've made because he intermediately un-hung it and gave it to me as a present," Daniel recalls.
Biggest Challenge: The hardest part was managing the renovation while living in another country. One underestimates the millions of decisions that need to be made. And keep in mind that 12 years ago things like texting a picture across the globe weren't as easy as it is now.
What Friends Say: Our home always surprises people when they first visit, especially the bathroom. A neighbor from downstairs once said "this apartment doesn't seem to be from this building!" (We took it as a compliment.)
Biggest Embarrassment: It's the bedroom closet. It's very functional but aesthetically is not up to par with the rest of the house. A decade ago the budget was tight and there weren't as many design options as now, so I ended up choosing a laminate finish that is too modern for us. Recently we almost painted it purple like the rest of the bedroom but finally decided to wait and save a little money until we can do something better about it. Also, this may sound too finicky but we want to replace the baseboards with taller ones.
Proudest DIY: We're very happy with the blue dresser in the bedroom. We found it at an auction in very bad shape, but fell in love with its details, the pattern on the doors, and the turned legs. We sanded it, painted it and added shelves for storing our shoes.
Biggest Indulgence: Daniel wanted to own a Flemish painting for years, and we spotted a huge beautiful one at an auction. But the list of items was so long and it took so many hours to get to that piece that we felt it would be a shame to come back home empty-handed. We ended up pushing our budget a little, partially to make it worth the wait!
Best Advice: When decorating it's good to aim for "wow" moments, to take risks and make statements that make very clear who you are and what you like.
Dream Sources: We love the vibrant and chic style of Jonathan Adler's furniture and accessories. If he ever opens a shop in Buenos Aires we'd be his first clients! We also find Spanish firm Gaston y Daniela's fabric collections so beautiful; we'd love to use them in every project.
Sofa — Flea market find, reupholstered
Hand-blown glass pieces — vintage finds
Portraits — a mix of flea market finds, auction sales and online thrift shopping
Japanese screen — Bought by Daniel while living in Spain
Table and chairs — Vintage finds from Spain
Head sculptures — Bought in Spain
Rooster painting — Gift from a friend
Antique tableware — Vintage finds
Headboard art piece — Painted by Daniel
Deer taxidermy — Gift from friends
Blue dresser — Verga Hnos "Usa Usado" Auction