The colour palette in this Spanish home acts as the perfect foil to its owners’ art
This house’s bold colour palette is a foil for its owner’s extensive collections of art and antiques, which help to transform rooms that could feel cavernous into intimate zones
One day just over ten years ago, while wandering through the medieval Catalan village of Cardedeu, Damián Sánchez spotted a beautiful old house in a state of near ruin, surrounded by ancient magnolia trees. It was love at first sight. Undeterred by its condition, he bought the six-bedroom property and set about restoring its palatial 1,000-square-metre interior. ‘It was built in 1910, and when I first saw it, it hadn’t been lived in for 30 years,’ Damián explains. ‘I have tried to respect its original features as well as its spirit.’ The most spectacular feature, and the one that shaped much of the new interior, is a Renaissancestyle carved and painted ceiling. Its floral design was painstakingly repaired, as were the original floor tiles.
Clearly, this charismatic house demanded a strong colour palette, and in Damián it found its ideal owner. A former creative director of fashion label Mango, he founded his Barcelona-based interior design studio and home store A Casa Bianca in 2013, and also co-owns Alfons & Damián, a gallery selling vintage and modern design, with fellow decorator Alfons Tost. At Mango, Damián was in charge of store layouts and window dressing, and he drew on his flair for dramatic set design in his new home.
From the start, Damián had a clear idea of the colours he wanted to use on the walls. ‘They reflect my experiences, my travels and my vision of the countryside,’ he says. All of the paints in the house were custom-made, including the aubergine hue that links the marble-floored hallway and gentleman’s club-style games room (dominated by a huge antique snooker table). The azure blue in the dining room and the earthy khaki in the living space are inspired by the local landscape – just 40 kilometres north of Barcelona, Cardedeu is nestled between the mountains and the sea.
The colour palette is also a foil for Damián’s extensive collections of art and antiques, which transform rooms that could feel cavernous into intimate zones. Contrast is Damián’s style: he will team a set of 18th-century Swedish chairs with a modern table by Italian label Porro, or place a set of Eames aluminium chairs and a ‘Segmented’ table – more commonly spotted in slick conference rooms – directly beneath the dining room’s oh-so-romantic ceiling. ‘I love to see how well antiques work with modern design objects,’ he says.
As you move to the private spaces upstairs, a different mood evolves. The main bedroom and adjoining bathroom are as serene as the dining room is exuberant. A peachy-toned ivory shade on the bedroom walls adds warmth to the otherwise monochrome furniture; in the bathroom, black is used to clever effect, covering just half of the space. ‘This house is my refuge,’ says Damián. ‘It inspires me to create.’ acasabianca.com; alfonsdamian.com
Entrance A table from Spanish design store En Linea (Porro’s ‘Fractal’ is similar) displays a collection of coffee-table books and a ‘Rock’ vase by French ceramicist Gilles Caffier. The chairs are 18th-century Louis XVI pieces and the pendant light is the ‘PH Artichoke’ by Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen (available at Skandium). The large fashion shot is by Spanish photographer Nico Bustos and the abstract painting by fellow Spaniard José Guerrero
Living room The walls are a bespoke shade of khaki (Fired Earth’s ‘Amber Gris’ is similar). Chesterfield sofas, a pair of ‘LC2’ chairs by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret for Cassina, and a vintage sofa covered in an acid-yellow fabric by Kvadrat create a cosy seating area. The canvas is by German artist Günther Förg Games room Homeowner Damián (far right) and his business partner Alfons Tost relax by the antique snooker table. For a similar paint colour try Paint & Paper Library’s ‘Plum Brandy’ Stockist details on p245 ➤