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An apartment of the Klinkers

Refurb by CaSA Architects

05.11.19

The following description was provided by the architects regarding a recent project carried out for a young family who refurbished an apartment in the Born neighbourhood as a holiday home in Barcelona.

The Klinkers are a young family of four, living in Coronado, California, though one of the parents, Marta, is originally from Barcelona. The apartment is located in a modernisme style (Art Nouveau) building in the very hip Born neighbourhood, on the top floor. The clients asked CaSA to carry out a refurbishment of the apartment after having suffered an incident the previous year when, just one day before the hand over, an explosion destroyed the property. Leaving the architects a much reduced budget which had to stretch to restoring the property’s original features for the new building works.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment
  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    The property required major works after the explosion. The initial brief was to carry out a budget refurbishment after the damage incurred after the explosion. A clever approach was required that would make the most of the existing distribution and installations. The clients wanted the apartment to look dramatically different after the building works. Once the project’s main criteria was established other special elements could be evaluated separately and added.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    Both clients and architects wanted the original historical features to be preserved or brought back to life and highlighted, making the most of high ceilings, decorative features, floors, windows, doors. Walls and ceilings, blackened by the fire, needed special care. Most of the wall finishes had to be scrapped back to the bricks and newly finished and some of the modernisme ceiling features restored or even reproduced and replaced.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    The initial budget did not permit the architects to remove or change the layout and obliged them to keep the existing installations. The challenge was to take the found spaces and make new sense of them, adapt the programme without moving walls through a new interpretation of the spaces.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    The original layout already included an open kitchen, living room, two bedrooms (for parents and kids) and a small bathroom. Project-wise, most of the work had to go into rationalising the main area, in order to organise the rest of the project. This central area had kitchen installations on the back wall, and a recessed, dark area opposite that in the previous project accommodated a small dining area. The earlier demolitions resulted in a space within the entrance/kitchen/living area with a patchwork of 5 different types of floor tiles, looking fragmented and messy. An unavoidable structural beam was added across one side of the kitchen.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    The architects decided to treat the central area as a colour-block. This brick-like core organises the space around itself, housing several functions (kitchen, dining, studio). Funnily enough, the family name recalls clinker brick blocks, clay bricks that are exposed to excessive heat during the firing process, resulting in a shiny surface.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    To delimit this distinct area the architects decided to express the volume using a rich terracotta colour, including a recessed area to be used as a quiet studio corner. The whole ceiling area above the kitchen was dropped, accommodating the beam and the air conditioning ducts.  Micro-cement flooring, of the same colour tone, covers three different types of tiles (the least interesting ones), unifying the block and highlighting the adjoining floors, of greater value, within the entrance and living room. The same earthy tone is used for the micro cement backsplash wall, the ceiling, the kitchen cabinets including the long, round-edged central island, as well as the studio area, desk and shelves. The result is a colour-block area that makes a distinctive decorative statement at the core of the apartment.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    A long kitchen island doubles as a dining table, in axes with the windows and the lane it faces onto. Shiny, steel, kitchen fan cylinder overhauls above the hobs. A bespoke, white plaster dome above the work area disguises a spotlight, replacing a ceiling lamp. Small globe apliques were placed above the backsplash.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    The studio area is nested in a recessed space opposite the kitchen, with custom made desk and shelving cut with a circular shape to allow a small globe pendant lamp to hang between them, all in the same colour. A porthole window punctures a wall, bringing an element of natural light into the space.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    A holiday apartment allows for a more daring colour scheme, the architects proposed a soft palette for the interior design. Beyond the brick-coloured core, walls are white to maximize light. Even so, a dado rail runs around walls, doors and windows, giving an artificial horizon, visually widening spaces, in an otherwise vertically proportioned design. This borders were chosen based on the spaces and in relation to the colourful, original hydráulico floors: a more neutral sand colour introduces a warmer tone through the entrance and living room (unifying the spaces on both sides around the kitchen block), making the burgundy and grey shades of the living floor stand out more; a cooler light green colour was chosen for the bedrooms.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    Ceilings have also been painted in strong colours: an off burgundy for the living, a dark teal for the bedrooms.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    The modernisme corner plaster motifs were restored. In the living room one of the corners had to be replaced due to fire damage, after making a new cast of the moulding. The bathroom is also treated with the brick-red micro-cement, again the dado rail divides the shower space.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    Bedrooms are kept simple and uncluttered. In the master bedroom the colour fringe becomes a volume, forming the bedhead that embodies globe lights, light switches and sockets and a niche to the side where a bedside table could not be placed. The bedroom also features the porthole window that brings light into the studio. The bedroom has access to a small walk-in wardrobe that is part of the brick coloured block. The children’s room has a built-in wardrobe that follows the overall colour scheme.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

     

    All fixed furniture is bespoke. Cabinets in the kitchen, bathroom, corridor and bedrooms have custom-made door handles, lacquered in colours that match their surfaces.

  • CaSA Klinkers apartment

    The Klinkers in their home