This Home’s Reading Nook Transforms into a Guest Room in Less Than a Minute

updated Mar 21, 2019

This Home’s Reading Nook Transforms into a Guest Room in Less Than a Minute

updated Mar 21, 2019
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Name: Ander and Lionel
Location: Eixample — Barcelona, Spain
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, owned

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It’s not obvious at first glance, but this home has been through some extreme transformations. For many years, this space was simply the building’s rooftop. Later on, an additional floor was constructed so it became a teeny tiny apartment. Fast forward about 50 years, and now that Ander and Lionel own it, they’ve torn down walls and created an open concept space with tons of light flooding throughout.

The beauty of the apartment they have created is that it can feel completely open and loft-like—or closed off with private spaces—all thanks to the sliding doors that have been added between the rooms. Much of the design concept is by their good friend and architect Victoria Aragonés. Ander and Lionel knew they wanted airy spaces yet they also wanted to be able to maximize each of the rooms, too.

Maintaining much of the architectural character of the apartment was also important, such as the original wooden beams and the gorgeous hydraulic tiling. By mixing the original tile with parquet, they were able to create different visual spaces between the living and dining room, for example.

“Finding this apartment wasn’t easy,” admits Ander. They both work as flight attendants for Air France so their schedules don’t always coincide. “We were living in Toulouse at the time so we had to commute back and forth to Barcelona to look at spaces; we love this city and wanted to be by the sea. We looked at about 60 apartments until one day I was by myself and found this one. I called Lionel and told him I had found ‘the one’ and lucky for us he trusted my instincts. It needed a lot of work but we were up for the challenge.” After about eight months of reconstruction and adding their own design touches—which they both confess is inspired by the many cities they get to visit and the hotels they stay in—they have created a polished home they both feel proud of.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Rustic, modernist, industrial, and minimalist.

Inspiration: We’re inspired by the places we visit, the hotels we stay in, restaurants, and online interior design sites such as Pinterest.

Favorite Element: The original hydraulic tiles that we maintained and redistributed, giving the appearance of area rugs. We also love the wooden beams that were completely hidden when we bought the place but now are perfectly restored and exposed. It adds a real cachet to our apartment.

Biggest Challenge: We like simplicity and minimalism but at the same time simplicity means less furniture so we need to be very organized with all of our stuff.

What Friends Say: They’re surprised by the originality of our decor and how it all works together.

Biggest Embarrassment: The common areas of our building; they need to be updated. Also, not having an elevator; we live in a fifth-floor walk up.

Proudest DIY: An antique lamp that Ander updated by painting it black and adding new LED light bulbs.

Biggest Indulgence: All of the industrial finishings such as the windows and the iron sliding doors.

Best Advice: Before buying any home furnishing, check out how new restaurants, hotels, and bars have decorated and updated their spaces. Find inspiration online through design websites or social networks like Pinterest/Instagram.

Dream Sources: We like to shop online as it’s easier to find our style of furniture (websites such as Made…)


Coffee Table — Custom made / DIY by Ander. He bought the clothes pin legs on Amazon
TV Stand — Miliboo

Dining Table — Made
Dining Chairs — Made
Tripod Floor Lamp — From Camden Market in London
Ceiling Lamp — Singular Market
Vintage Air France Poster — Musée Air France La Boutique

Small Table — IKEA
Japanese Doll — From a shop in Japan
Black Lamp on the Table — IKEA
Rug — Maisons du Monde
Fold-out Bed — Muebles Carisma

Night Tables — Maisons du Monde
Lamps — Leroy Merlin
Black Chair — La Redoute
Wallpaper — Wallpaper from the ’70s

Hanging Mirror — Made
Vintage Air France Poster — Musée Air France la Boutique

Thanks, Ander and Lionel!

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