Timeless style with a contemporary eye
Architect Paloma Canizares’ home in Madrid is experimental, unexpected and personal.
Canizares and her husband, Rafael Garcia-Tapia, fell in love with the apartment 12 years ago despite it being bigger than what they were looking for.
“But we couldn’t let the opportunity pass by. It was just by the Retiro Park in a nice old building with lots of big windows, lots of light and opportunities,” the 43-year-old Spanish architect said.
The home searching experience was quite frustrating at the time. Nothing really matched their criteria and the architectonic quality of the flats in Madrid was quite poor, Canizares revealed.
“Finding wide spaces with light was really hard,” she said. “We were living in a small yet smart apartment in a lively district and we only wanted to change if it was really worth it. Living by the biggest park in the center of Madrid, with all the museums and nice restaurants at walking distances was a good opportunity so it didn’t take long to decide.”
Though spaces were nice, previous renovations had taken the charm away. Apart from redoing the installations the goal was to recuperate what was lost of “old Madrid.”
“I love to use to experiment mostly with crafts in my houses. Here the idea was to use the white spaces of the house as canvases to create big sceneries that were painted using different techniques,” she said.
“The building is almost 100 years old, so I didn’t want to erase that trace by being too contemporary. The challenge was to restore the bourgeois character of the flat from my personal perspective and having fun painting the walls.”
Canizares is always searching for new things. She is an architect and daughter of a refined interior designer mom who had a huge influence on her.
She first became very contemporary then realized that the ancient world was more inspiring.
“Craft, natural and simple materials, and the possibility to do a lot with very elementary things is what really challenges me. The result is a timeless style with a contemporary eye,” she said.
The living room was paneled in wood to fit in with a pair of shelves that were already in situ in the property.
“Instead of removing the wood shelves I decided to keep them as the starting point to decorate the room,” Canizares said. “The whole room became something absolutely different. It had a lot of light so being quite dark made a good balance.
“For the dining room I decided to paint the whole room like a forest, inspired by a painting I saw in a magazine. It was a real challenge as I had never done such a big mural. I gave it a try and it went well.”
The designer painted the first mural on the bedroom wall.
“The idea of painting with a simple carbon pencil came naturally as it could be easily erased. The landscape refers to Argentina, after a trip to the Nahuel Huapi lake, an astonishing place in Bariloche,” she added.
Most of the colors in the apartment are greens, browns, some blues and grays.
“A quiet, yet lively one,” Canizares said. “I find no pulse in a whole house in the same color.
“I like the idea of having different vibes for the different spaces of the house. It is like little projects that have to be coherent yet look completely different. The unexpected magnifies the complete experience.”
Furniture in this flat is quite a mix. Canizares found many things in flea markets and custom-made most of the pieces showing her personal style.
In the dining room they had Ant Chairs from Arne Jacobsen with a Cloud Lamp from Frank Gehry mixed with a table and sideboard she designed.
“Regarding the artworks, I’m also lucky to have extremely talented artist friends: Rosalía Banet, Georgia Russell, Raul Illarramendi, Ivan Cantos-Figuerola, Tito Perez-Mora and Luis Urculo. I really enjoy living with their work, it is very inspiring,” she said.
ASK THE OWNER
Q: What’s the best thing about living in your home?
A: The feeling that you are part of what you have created.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Experimental, unexpected and personal.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home?
A: I do a funny scream (it sounds like a bird) so my kids know I am at home.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: Just lie in the sofa with a book of architecture, interior design or art.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: In the kitchen.
Q: What’s the view outside your window?
A: The Retiro Park of Madrid
Q: What’s your favorite object in your home?
A: Too many to choose.
Q: Where do you source furniture?
A: I go to Paris and Milan every year, to flea markets and I also design my own furniture.