An expression of self and attitude to life
FOR architect Paloma Canizares, home is a place she feels a deep connection with.
"It is a physical expression of yourself and how you want to live. It is an opportunity to create your own cosmos," the Spanish architect said.
The house she lives with her husband Rafael Garcia-Tapia and two kids is a rationalist catalogued building from 1943 in the El Viso neighborhood of Madrid.
"When we found it, it was used as an office," she said. "There was no kitchen, no bedrooms, anything that could link it to a house."
The traces of the "movement moderne"-style in Madrid are few, so as an architect, finding a complete house to restore was a pleasant challenge for Canizares.
"In that period, the houses were in Madrid's suburbs and from a construction point of view, they were constructed with poor materials. The houses meant to be functional but not luxurious at all. They all have a little garden and the interiors are bathed with incredible light," she said.
The different renovations over the years had erased its original style. The facades were painted in brown and had many air conditioning machines on the walls. The interior had to be returned to what a house needs: kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms.
"So the goal was to restore the original style and make the house functional for its use. The guide was to create a 'machine a habiter,' a functional house with simple materials, a color chart that could define the different spaces and to ensure comfort and an easy maintenance."
The base of the house is as white as the background of a canvas so Canizares can add many colors, from yellow to green, blue, red and grey.
"There is even a room with a forest that I painted myself. These inputsof color make the house more dynamic, as things change while you move along.
"I love to be surprised by something unexpected and I love to translate this sensation to my interiors. In my house, the guest toilet is hidden behind a big white door that you think is a wall; only two doors of the dressing room lead to the bathroom, but if you get mistaken, you will go inside a closet."
Canizares loves her home to be experimental, unexpected and personal.
The living room is a big space with abundant light overlooking the big trees in the garden. "Nature changes but the space can also change," she said.
The curtains can close all the windows, part of them or stay open. The space colors are calm, and art and books are all over the place. Most of the furniture is designed by herself, from the dining table, the folding screen to the low table.
The TV room is red. In 2009, she designed a very simple red shelf to set books, drawings, pictures and even a TV. "This simple design has had many possibilities and I have used it in many of my interiors. Here I decided to hang the shelves and have a background with the same color. The result was a red-panelled TV room with shelves for all kinds of things, including family photos and souvenirs."
"I'm very attached to books that nourish me in my constant search of creativity. They inspire me and make me think. Through the years I can see the same book but the eye is different. I can see I have changes as I look at different things. It's the best way to unwind."
Every piece of art and object they have at home has been carefully chosen. "Everything makes sense when put together. If I had to choose the more remarkable, I would say the sphere hanging from the ceiling of the living room from American artist Russel Crotty and all the work from Georgia Russell and Rosalia Banet.
What makes a house different is the spirit of the people living inside. "I once invited a person for lunch at home who told me, the day after, she had a deep feeling of happiness in this house. It was a bright and sunny day in Madrid and we had a lovely lunch in the garden. She became my client after that," Canizares said.
"My house is an extension of myself. It is a physical reproduction of my ideas, so it is a way to see me in another way. Being able to create the environment where my family and I will develop our lives is a big privilege.
The will to create the best space for their lives is not a minor issue. Our house is a happy home because we feel connected to it. We feel we belong to it and it belongs to us. It is part of ourselves."
Ask The Owner
Q: What's the best thing about living in Madrid?
A: Madrid is a very lively city. The weather is very sunny all along the year (even if it is cold in winter) and people have a very positive attitude. We like to gather a lot, we go to restaurants, bars and live the city a lot. The streets are always booming.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Comfortable. Unexpected. Joyful.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: Seating on the sofa reading.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: Kitchen and living room.
Q: What's the view outside your window?
A: A fantastic tiny garden with old trees in the middle of Madrid.
Q: What's your favorite object at home?
A: So many. Probably a pink portrait in the living room.
Q: Where do you buy furniture?
A: I look everywhere until I find the right piece: furniture companies, antique shops, flee markets and vintage.