the world at home

An Architect’s Madrid Apartment Is Full of Cute and Clever DIYs

published Aug 8, 2019
the world at home

An Architect’s Madrid Apartment Is Full of Cute and Clever DIYs

published Aug 8, 2019
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Name: Sara, Carlos, and a puppy named Sam
Location: Madrid, Spain
Size: 950 square feet
Years Lived In: 1 year, renting

Welcome to “The World at Home: 31 Real House Tours Around the Globe.” Check out where else we’ve visited this month here.

After two years living in Ireland, we returned to Madrid. Rental prices in Madrid had been rising the past few months so we were very worried about what house we would be able to afford to rent. I was very lucky when I found by chance this beautiful apartment that I fell in love with immediately.

It is a duplex penthouse with lots of light that has an integrated kitchen in the living room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attic with a big terrace to enjoy the Spanish weather with friends and family.

Originally there were two very small old houses here, one above the other. By joining them, not only have meters been gained, but some of the rooms, such as the living room, have doubled in height, increasing the feeling of spaciousness and luminosity of a small space.

One of the most important parts of the house is the attic, where my workshop-studio [Sara is the founder of Home archiLAB] is located. This space was decisive at the time of choosing this house, since I needed a domestic office, a space to develop DIY projects, and a bright place to do photo shoots. Lots of DIY projects are created in that space and then used to decorate the house.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My house is full of do-it-yourself projects made by myself and combined with objects and furniture of a mix of styles that give it an eclectic charm. You can find elements of a mix of styles including industrial, ’70s, and Nordic.

I like to play with textures and patterns in a limited color palette and I love to include handmade, travel, and sentimental objects in my decoration like the vintage radio or the old rice pot (both familiar heritage), the handmade chairs, or the conch we found at a beach in the Bahamas. Wood is the most important furniture material combined with black metals and natural fibers.

Inspiration: As an architect, I am passionate about everything that has to do with design and creativity. I love to find creative people making awesome handcrafts when I travel around the world. I like to read creative blogs and I use Instagram and Pinterest as an inspirational tool, too. But I am also a bookworm so I like to learn about decoration, trends, handmade techniques, or plants through books and magazines.

Favorite Element: It is difficult to choose just one element because everything in my house has been designed, created, or chosen carefully by myself. But there is something I am especially proud of: the master bedroom. It is one of the rooms in the house where there are more projects made by myself. The headboard, the decor on the wall, the bedside tables, the standing mirror, and the ladder rack have been designed and created with my own hands.

In this room, the importance of wood and natural fibers visually connect with the rest of the house. However, the color palette here is different, with ochres and browns predominating, contrasted with a range of blues.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge I found when I was furnishing the new house was to fit all the furniture I had for the living room in a small space full of windows, doors, and a staircase. The existing sofa was the most difficult element to place without interrupting the main passageway. One way to take advantage of the space was to place the sofa under the staircase, so the passageway width was not lost. This had a big disadvantage as it required placing the TV under a window. But I solved this last issue with black out blinds.

Proudest DIY: One of my proudest DIYs is the raised dog food and water stand I made for my puppy, Sam. I love it not just because it is beautiful and matches my home decoration perfectly, but because it is also super practical. We use it every day and it is strong, healthy for Sam, and he loves it!

Biggest Indulgence: The big terrace. This space was something extra we didn’t expect to have at home when we were looking for a house. However this is the space we enjoy the most at any season. All the garden furniture we had to buy (exterior table, chairs, deck chair, etc.) was an unexpected investment we made.

Best Advice: The best advice I can give is that to feel comfortable at home you should take part in its decoration, enjoying the process, every piece you choose, and making it personal. This way you will feel great every time you walk into your home.

What’s your best home secret? My best secret is to establish a limited color palette in every room and to play with textures and patterns. This makes shopping for decoration easy and efficient.

Credit: Sara of Home archiLAB



  • Existing when we rented the house
  • Color — White matte finished



DIY projects:


  • Stools — Amazon
  • Basket lamp — Existing when we rented the house
  • Vinyl rug — Donurmy


DIY projects:





Thanks, Sara!

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