The Real state market for rental housing is highly competitive, full of vices and most of its advertisement pieces sound like siren calls. None of these, nevertheless, lack explanation: Property owners are bound to invest with caution, they need to hit the target of the particular taste of a potential but undetermined client, but most importantly they seem to be obliged to prescribe furniture and finishes tested against the most indolent of lifestyles
Designed by Egue y Seta
But, in spite of all these, when tackling the design of housing units for rent, can we continue to project them as if we were talking about empty, anodyne and mute containers? Can we still say that not doing anything, not decorating, or not opting for any choice are still the only available strategies when trying to be liked by all or to displease no one?
Even when tight budgets are the standard imposed by very high competitiveness, are we hopelessly doomed to prescribe sloppy, ordinary or out-dated interior design schemes? if we are aiming for young tenants, students or workers, do we forcefully need to appoint everything disposable , all that is cheap or of the lowest quality?
With their latest residential project "Coruña for Rent" Egue y Seta wanted to stand up to these challenges and respond to all previous issues with a resounding but cheerful "no”. The resulting project attempts to reconcile eyes with pockets, proposing spaces of a decidedly young, urban and flexible appeal, which, money wise, have proved tremendously feasible for the owners. If you´ve imagined a hyper-bearded hipster taking up his "fixie" to this attic, we can´t blame you, but feel sorry to say that this house, really at ground floor though bright as those in the fifth level, is currently the home of a barefaced smooth couple who does not love hoarding low tech junk.
As usual, we enter the house through a social area that integrates living room and kitchen in a few square meters. In order to revert the feeling of overly restricted space unnecessary partitions have been demolished opting for a delimitation strategy that has more to do with flooring and furniture than walls. Thus the kitchen is placed over a hydraulic mosaic imitation porcelain tile, which aims to evoke the long architectural heritage of the house, while offering a durable and low maintenance floor but also introducing a colour palette that was used later on other gradient painted vertical surfaces present in the bedrooms and lounge.
A solid wood table, which is both kitchen isle and dining area, integrates a vitro-ceramic hob and seats around itself four diners: this dining room is proposed as a boundary or interface between the two areas (kitchen and living room), facing a blackboard paint coated wall that becomes the informal agenda and graphical guest´s book of a very expressive home. Under the extraction hood, which is also a decorative pendant lamp, you can taste dishes cooked a few centimetres away, while going to the fridge for a beer is a matter of stretching out an arm. It wouldn´t be wrong to say this kitchen, the place where all pleasant meetings and conversations end or begin, has been entirely designed to accommodate routine and pleasure at convenience, from the more practical and less ceremonial point of view.
On the opposite side of the dining room we find a living lounge arranged over an aged oak effect vinyl floor that dialogues in perfect harmony with the original stone wall on its right and a greyish blue gradient wall on the left that brings on the other hand, modernity and stylistic vanguard to the whole. Over such flooring a Persian-style area rug attempts to delineate an area of comfort where arm chairs, sofas, tables and audio-visual console are arranged so to allow entertainment for two, solitary reading, or meeting with friends and music on the background. Decorative eclecticism is key here, incorporating varied textures and patterns, giving hints of textile colour that find all the necessary buffer in the more neutral wood, stone or the trendiest wicker splashing the surroundings.
Turning to the private area of the house, we find in the first place a unique bathroom that serves both bedrooms and the social area. Its location on the floorplan corresponds to that of the bottom of the staircase, which implies maximum use of the available square centimeters, but also a potential feeling of confinement imposed by the low ceiling. Therefore, and with the intention of promoting instead a feeling of spaciousness, designers opted for finishing the space with an expansive, super white, suitable for wet rooms tile which linear grouting would promote, through perspective, a perception grater depth. Along with suspended sanitary furniture, a hanging mirror and a transparent glass shower screen tries to make the whole an arrangement of great lightness, cleanliness and neutrality.
Immediately adjacent to the bathroom we´ll find the master bedroom, whose dimensions allow for the placement of a double bed under a colourful headboard wall with a gradient going from a dim orange (Pantone 2015 Earth Gold) to a bluish grey that connect the floor with the ceilings. Facing the bed, a great matt white laminate wardrobe camouflages itself with the surrounding walls, while hiding inside the much bolder, colourful and trendier garments that these young tenants surely wear. Flanking one side of the bed, additional open storage space for the exhibition of decorative objects that provide warmth and individual personality to the space, along with a generous window with reclaimed wood joinery painted in white differentiates itself from those made of aluminium that have become the standard while letting in an enormous deal of the vital and always welcomed natural light.
In the single bedroom the colour scheme is repeated, this time departing from a deep yellow and affecting in this case the wall located in the right hand side of the bed. In the opposite side, and functioning also as a nightstand, we´ll find a couple of steps that lead to a small dressing room and study area with a veranda that standing on a slightly higher level unfolds as the surprise feature of this small room of maximized use.
In short, this house renovation, its finishes, its selected furniture and general styling tries to stick to the logic of rental, appealing to a young but general taste, while showing that it is possible to decorate with caution, to invest wisely, to bet without losing and to get "wet" without drowning.
Are we talking about "low cost" renovation works? The final invested amount will indicated so, but the finishes, the spatial richness achieved by integration, and its decorative styling, more preoccupied with pleasing than with boasting, make us think of a slightly different concept that could perhaps be defined as "new cost". Within this concept the cost remains low, yes, but in a new way: aesthetically efficient, qualitatively correct and functionally guaranteed.
Thanks to the Pérez Family, for all the support during the project. Without them, it would not have been possible.