When designing the stained-glass room divider that is this home’s crowning glory, discussions initially turned to the beautiful windows in French cathedrals and restored chapels.
Those ideas quickly evolved, with religious inspirations transforming into talks about the artistic compositions of Piet Mondrian and the classic autumnal colours associated with fashion powerhouse Hermès.
Conversations like this are par for the course when you are designing a property for a creative couple who both work in the fashion industry. ‘They had great ideas,’ recalls Patricia Bustos, founder of the eponymous interior design studio tasked with this transformation. Her own skills as a craftsperson were invaluable in understanding the bespoke elements of this project.
For the stained glass, for instance, she called on the help of artisans at a workshop in Toledo who are experts in restoring cathedral windows using age-old techniques. ‘We also worked with specialists in brass, and they had never done anything like this before,’ she adds.
‘The completed glass divider is so heavy that we had to add an engine to power the mechanism so it can be opened easily!’
Aside from this one big modern intervention, the aim for the rest of this home was to restore whatever original features could be salvaged. The apartment is situated in a 19th-century building in Madrid’s Barrio de Salamanca, with views of the famous El Retiro park, so was blessed with high ceilings and intricate mouldings. ‘The challenge was to rescue them where we could, and create new ones in rooms where there were previously none,’ says Patricia.
Despite its grand features, this is not a large property, so Patricia chose to furnish it with simple, sculptural furniture in a neutral palette. Many of the pieces were custom-made, created by Patricia herself, but others are icons of mid-century design, picked up from some of Madrid’s finest antiques stores, including El Ocho, LA Studio and Rue Vintage 74.
To this, she added a sprinkling of jewellery-like lighting. ‘Every piece is vintage, so it has a history and a story,’ adds Patricia. ‘The pendant lights above the headboard in the bedroom look just like an elegant pair of earrings.’
For an element of escapism, the pared-back palette occasionally gives way to flights of patterned fancy. A striking example is the ‘Acanthus’ wallpaper by House of Hackney in the guest bedroom. A heightened take on William Morris’s scrolling, intertwined leaves, it’s a bold departure from the more demure elements of the home.
‘The owners are very dreamy people and need constant inspiration,’ explains Patricia. ‘Of course,’ she adds, ‘it’s easy to make something special when you’re being influenced by beautiful jewellery and fashion.’ patricia-bustos.com
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration August 2020
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