A Family of Five’s Modern Abode Is Transformed into the Perfect Place for Entertaining
The home needed to be like an art gallery. Not in the sense that the interiors felt unlivable or strict, but rather, that the home would serve as the perfect backdrop to display the homeowners’ works of art and antiques, some collected over the last decade. “But they wanted it to be comfortable, too,” explains designer Covadonga Canovas, who worked with the family to design the interiors of the family of five’s stunning, approximately 8,600-square-foot, modern dwelling located in Madrid, Spain.
Architecturally speaking, the three-story home is decidedly modern: “a cube finished with a white lime mortar and gray zinc roof,” says Canovas. The living areas feature a simple, open layout to “welcome friends and family.” But with three young children, the homeowners knew that while they wanted the interiors to match the home’s sleek, modern lines and minimalist architectural details, they also wanted it to be comfortable and functional for their family. To achieve this, Canovas and her team took great care in weaving the homeowners’ most beloved artwork and antiques into one collective aesthetic that resulted in a place where adults can easily entertain or children can curl up and watch TV or read a book.
Though Canovas’s calling card is often clean, all-white interiors, she knew that the homeowners wanted doses of color scattered throughout. To start, Canovas had the interiors painted with a white stucco, which allows for the homeowners’ art collection to remain center stage and introduce bursts of color throughout each space. With soft, golden wood hues, various family heirlooms and antiques bring warmth to the rooms, which help balance the strict lines and modern details.
This juxtaposition of antique meets modern can best be seen in the living room. Situated in the center of the home and just off the garden, this room is where the family gathers for relaxation and entertaining. A colorful blue painting by Donald Sultan and the leaf corten steel sculpture produced specially for the space provide bold pops of color while the sleek lines of the side tables and all-white sectional keep the aesthetic modern and updated.
The New Old
Mixing modern and antique decor can be challenging. How much is too much of one thing? Here are three tips to follow to get the look just right.
Make It Warm
Modern decor can sometimes feel cold, which is exactly why incorporating the warmth of wood to a space can really help make the room feel cozier. Whether it is heart pine flooring or an antique wooden armoire turned bar, rustic and antique wood elements can make a cold room feel instantly warm.
Layer, Layer, Layer
Like with patterns, it’s all about the scale and not adding too much pattern. To keep the room balanced, think of it like this: if you have one large, modern sectional, counter that with another somewhat large antique such as a console or cupboard. This 1:1 ratio will help keep things from skewing too heavy.
Mix Up the Style
Adding only antiques from a certain period or of a particular style can affect how seamless the design is. Instead, layer antiques from various periods—from nineteenth-century English to midcentury modern—to keep the look cohesive and fresh.
A bold, colorful painting by artist Donald Sultan provides an instant pop of color to the neutral living room.
An oversized sectional with modern lines is warmed up by the addition of antique furniture and accessories. Whimsical balloon sculptures by Authentic Models hang in one of the children’s bedrooms. Old-world antiques are complemented by sleek, modern lines throughout the home. Two dining room tables allow for large dinner parties. Antique siphon glasses provide a touch of fun to the kitchen.
On the same floor is the dining room where Canovas took a different approach to family-style dining by separating the room with two matching tables. “They’re a large family and as such needed ample space to dine,” says the designer. Two oversize chandeliers by Foscarini create an instant contemporary feel to the room while two antique cupboards serve as storage for the family’s chinaware. A colorful painting by Manolo Valdés complements the glass sculptures on the tables while also providing another dose of color to the space.
The kitchen, though, is decidedly simple and modern with few pops of color. The black-and-white aesthetic is amplified by the graphic wallpaper by Larsen, which recreates a winter landscape as the backdrop. Playing up the patterns, Canovas designed the banquette with black-and-white striped cushions and complemented them with two separate pedestal tables also designed by Canovas. To add a touch of old to the space, antique glass siphon bottles the homeowners collected over the years line the open shelving in the kitchen.
The daughter’s bedroom is all about color and whimsy. “The daughter is so charming and open-minded that I thought about hanging moving objects on the ceiling to give the room a fresh ambiance,” she says. When Canovas happened upon these colorful balloons from Authentic Models, she immediately knew they would be the perfect centerpiece to the bedroom. Two daybeds allow for ample floor space for playing games while bold, patterned throw pillows give the all-white bedding a touch of fun.
“We are so pleased with the design of this home,” says Canovas. “We feel that we perfectly captured the family’s needs . . . and we could not be happier about that.”
WRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLER
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAFAEL DIEGUEZ