All posts tagged: interior design

The cosy home in no 4

A couple of floors up a steep and narrow staircase in an apartment building in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, I find the home of Eyal Cohen. The house is what the Chinese call a ‘walk-up’, a building from the 50-60s with no elevator. The first thing I see as I step inside is a bright and colourful wall made of – egg cartons. It’s a cheering and welcoming sight and a real work of art. His apartment is fairly spacious for Hong Kong, 575 square feet* and consists of one large room, a kitchen and a bathroom. It’s furnished and decorated by himself and filled with fun and eye-catching things. One wall has an image of a large ostrich with a hat. A full-scale sheep with blue wool is standing on top of a bookshelf. Origami squirrels are playing on a tree trunk on the floor. This is a home whose owner clearly has had a lot of fun whilst decorating it and I’m eager to hear the story behind it. “Rental apartments here in …

Living Off-the-Gridd

Far north on the coast of Uruguay and just forty kilometres from the Brazilian border is the small town of Punta del Diablo. It was formerly a fishing village that has become increasingly popular with surfers, who flock to the beaches Playa de Rivero and Playa de la Viuda. But it’s at the quieter end by Playa Grande, which separates Punta del Diablo from Santa Teresa national park, where Rosi and Martin have built themselves an off-the-grid house called ‘Vía Verde’. They live here with their son Telmo and a dog called Trotsky that has adopted them. Vía Verde, the green way, is a house designed to make the least impact on nature. 150 square meters split on several levels and with large terraced areas it stands alone on the brink of the sea on the outskirts of the small town. The main house is on three levels and contains the communal area with a small kitchen, five bedrooms and a couple of bathrooms and toilets. It’s sparsely furnished with only the bare necessities and …

The home of a tango dancer

Behind a tall door decorated with garlands of flowers on a cobblestone street in San Telmo, Buenos Aires, is the home of Mercedes Frassia. She is an architect and an urban planner, currently running a business in hospitality. Mercedes’s home is in the kind of building that earlier was called a conventillo*. Behind the tall porch is a narrow passageway that leads out into a yard. Feminine tango shoes sit on top of an old shelf on one wall. This sets the tone for this unusual home. The large house consists of two separate buildings on each side of a garden, which is narrow and deep, sandwiched between two tall house gables completely covered with ivy. In the middle of the garden there is a swimming pool and deckchairs with yellow and white striped cushions. A massive wisteria forms an arch, dividing the yard and adding to the lushness of it. The whole place oozes old world charm. Despite the house being divided into five apartments, they all have the same flamboyant interior design, almost …

Visual quietness

Cecilia Miranda expresses herself in a multitude of ways. She is a food and lifestyle photographer, a designer, an art director and a business owner. The store she owns is a home accessory shop specializing in cookware in Buenos Aires. Her energy is limitless and she always seems to have something creative going on, while giving a gentle and mild-mannered impression. “Being creative is very fulfilling. I am very happy and satisfied in my life,” she says. She clearly follows her motto, which is: ‘Always listen and be true to yourself.’ Her home is in the leafy area of Palermo Hollywood. It’s a spacious three-bedroom apartment of about 200 square metres* with two large terraces, and she shares it with her two daughters, Mercedes and Manuela. They have lived here for two years now and have recently renovated it. The apartment is freshly painted and there is nothing yet on the walls. The door out to the patio is open and the light is flowing in. The old furniture contrasts well with the modern lines …

The collectors’ paradise

I’m on my way to Upper East Manhattan to the home of Franklin and Johnny but first I’m meeting Johnny. He is something of a polyglot and speaks French, Spanish and Russian fluently, with a little Dutch and Turkish thrown in, and is currently studying Arabic. I discover he even has a little Swedish up his sleeve, as he texts me ’Jag är nästan där’, I’m almost there, just before we meet up at a cafe around the corner from their apartment. A cafe with the appropriate name of Fika, a Swedish word and phenomenon, meaning coffee break, preferably accompanied by buns or cakes. He is going to guide me to their apartment, snugly tucked away beside a church and quite hard to find. Franklin is at home and as soon as I get through the door they show me around. For an apartment in New York it’s pretty spacious, around 1000 square feet, and consists of three rooms and a kitchen. But it has only one narrow window at the far end of the …

Love of colours

I arrive at Carin’s home straight from Asia. Stepping through the front door into a room full of vivid colours, bold patterns, face masks and artefacts, I immediately feel that I’m in Africa. Her home is a small Victorian townhouse in Green Point. The house has a discreet grey façade, but isvibrant with colours inside. A living room on the ground floor opens up all the way to the rafters, with a kitchen to one side. Two bedrooms, a bathroom and an enclosed courtyard swathed in greenery are also on this floor. Tucked away under the eaves is her bedroom that also has a small workspace and a second bathroom. Carin is a freelancer, often working from home with photo and copyright research for publishers. Her background as a textile designer shows up in the strong colours and prominent patterns found in her home. She is also educated in art and painting and plans to return to it one day. The paints and brushes are ready and waiting. But it’s in interior decoration where she …

A Peaceful Haven

I’m in the home of Nicolás Cunto in Buenos Aires. He is an architect and he also owns a business, where he sells bags and accessories of his own design. As an independent architect, he carefully chooses the projects he engages in using two criteria. Projects that he likes, or projects that involve people that he likes. He undertakes about two a year, mainly because his business takes up most of the working hours. “Working as an architect I like to work with people who have a dream. And then I can dream with them,” he says. His home is in Palermo Viejo, a more quiet and residential area than the livelier Palermo SoHo or Hollywood. It’s less developed, as the building regulations stipulate low-rise buildings of no more than twelve meters height. The architectural style of his house is called PH, Propiedad horizontal, a variation of the Casa Choritzo, typical for Buenos Aires, where the majority of the building plots are long and narrow. The individual units and rooms in these buildings are lined …

Wabi sabi in Brooklyn

East Williamsburg in Brooklyn is an area that’s becoming more residential as factories and warehouses move out. This is where Elissa Ehlin lives, and she shares her home with her husband Jay Leritz, Cougar their son, and their cat Pretty Perfect. The low-rise buildings around their home are covered in imaginative graffiti by internationally renowned street artists, and theirs is no different. They have lived here for eight years and have transformed what previously was an auto repair workshop in an industrial building into a very personal home. The extensive construction work that this has required, they did themselves with the help of friends. Elissa is an enamelist by profession like her husband, and they have one of their two studios in the same building. This atmospheric home has exposed wood beams, brick walls and metal beams, wooden floors, rustic plank stairs and a serene colour scheme. It’s set up on two levels with an open plan living room and kitchen on one floor. A mid-century conical fireplace is in one corner of the room. …

Industrial living

I’m in what was once an old warehouse in an industrial park in the northern district of Yangpu, a good distance from central Shanghai. This is the home of Jonas, his wife Nina and their daughter Anna. It is also here that Jonas has his showroom and workshop, Nina has her photo studio and where both of them have their office. It’s obvious that creativity is central in this home. The industrial building in itself and the showroom that takes up most of the ground floor reinforces the feeling of it being more of a workplace than a home. But outside the entrance a collection of potted plants creates a homely feel in an otherwise industrial environment. The names Jonas + Nina + Anna painted on the huge rusty metal door, which is their front door, indicates that this is a home too. Entering their home I’m initially struck by the vastness of the space and then by the huge variety of objects placed around the large room, all of them made by Jonas. Directly …

The Muralist’s Home

Paulina Parlange Pizarro is French/Mexican, a biologist by profession and a business owner in textiles. Her company works with indigenous women in Mexico and supports them in designing, marketing and exporting their creations, according to fair trade rules. She has lived in Mexico City all her life, but has travelled around Mexico since she was very young, and believes that her interest in textiles and in theproduction of artwork for utilitarian uses started at an early age through these travels. Paulina lives in the former home of Juan O’Gorman, the Irish/Mexican artist and architect, famous for his murals and mosaics. His most well known work is the UNAM University Library of Mexico City, and the Bank of Mexico. The façade of the Library is covered in mosaics of natural stones with motifs of the Mexican people’s history. Very different are the houses he designed for his friends, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, just two streets away. These buildings, from 1933, are in a functionalist style people called brutalist-functionalism at the time. They were the very first of …