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From Classical to Modern Design

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July 1, 2007


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Everyone is doing it and if you are not, you certainly should be or face the possibility of being an outsider in a world gone crazy for straight lines, neutral colours, and all things ‘plata’. Whether it’s a piece of jewellery or a car you’re buying the design has taken a modern streamline influence. And talking of influence what could have had a greater impact in recent years than Asia. My parents and grandparents proudly showed off their Christian believes with statues and paraphernalia representative of their faith, nowadays it’s Buddhas and bonsais that take pride of place in most homes.

It’s all fine to say let’s modernise our home but where do you start? And even more difficult is where do you stop? But don’t be deterred as a lot can be achieved on a low budget by simply changing soft furnishings, accessories and lighting, the colour of the walls and perhaps even some pieces of furniture. A mix of old and new, modern and classic can create a more interesting and individual result but requires more thought and planning to achieve the desired effect and the chance of getting it wrong is higher.

Of course it’s much easier if you buy a new house or build from scratch but when you have perhaps only renovated a few years ago and at that time rustic was all the rage then it will take a greater investment of time and money to achieve the desired result. While it is claimed that modern works in every style of home be it a country finca or a classic villa, taking account of the building, its inherent features and characteristics is important.

Radical transformation is probably the best way to describe the project depicted in the following pages and while you may wonder what the motivation was to modernise a home that looked perfect; it was the owners’ desire to make the house less formal and more fitting with their current lifestyle.

The ultra modern white and stainless steel kitchen was the starting point of the project. Using a mixture of materials that included laminated wood, stainless steel and glass combine well to create a modern design. The terracotta tiles were replaced with a cream laminated wood floor, which is hard-wearing and easy to clean. Be warned the stainless steel worktops may look super cool but they are high maintenance.

The main goal of the renovation besides modernisation was to open-up the house to bring the outside in and to be able to better appreciate the fantastic view of the city and bay. “This was a big disadvantage of the old kitchen, it was dark and you felt cut off from the outside. What a change, it probably is one of the best views in the world from a kitchen sink. Even when you are cooking you can see the reflection of the city in the glass” comments the owner. To add some warmth to the otherwise white and silver, a bright apple green paint was chosen to frame the only tall units used in the kitchen.

Previously this was the barbeque area and outside, covered terrace for dinning in summer. “It was a big decision to change this as we loved the original room. It was one of the main attractions when we bought the house but we have no regrets, we now get to use this room all year and the new terrace we created outside is perfect for dinning al fresco.

Choosing the right size furniture for the terrace is important if you like to entertain friends. The two rectangular tables give maximum flexibility as it works well for every number up to a max of twelve people. The Spanish designed ‘Gardenart’ furniture is a great choice in terms of design, quality, variety of shapes, sizes and colours and the price is about fifty percent of similar quality brands.

Reducing the formality of the house was achieved not only by changing the colour and style of the doors but also the height proved an important aspect. “One has to be careful to resist the temptation of cluttering up the rooms with furniture and accessories again. It is only when you emptied the room that you will really get a feeling for what is needed; coming up with a new layout for the furniture and the size of the sofas can be difficult decisions” comments the consulting interior designer.

Pay particular attention to finding the right size centre table so that it is a comfortable distance from the surrounding chairs. The linear detail in the tables complements the design of the doors.

The Asian influence is carried through the main bedroom, bathroom and dressing room, with the linear design repeated on the glass and doors, and in the way the tiles are laid on the floor and walls in the bathroom. The hanging lamps and Japanese wall paper are perfect to complete the look and the repeated use of orange in each of the adjoining rooms continues the theme throughout the area.

“One of the major benefits is the extra space we gained from changing the wardrobes. It was not easy to find a company prepared to make doors 145 cm wide but we persisted until we found Saiton who were excellent in recommending a design for the interior to maximise the space” recalls the owner.

It is interesting the integration of classical pieces of furniture with the new concept. Miguel Miró from Puigdorfila advises not to just throw out good furniture, try to incorporate them into the new style. “For these clients we recovered the very unusual piece in the dressing room and by removing some of the frills and changing the feet the piece looks great and works well with a modern theme”.

Finally, choose a theme that will work with the style of the building. Whether it is Asian, colonial or simply modern, continue the theme throughout the house by varying from pure to mixed depending on the area of the house.

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