Beautifully renovated modern apartment in San Sebastián

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This beautiful modern apartment is situated in the coastal town of  San Sebastián in northern Spain, owned and designed by Mikel Irastorza Interiors. The area is extremely close to the French border, so many of the houses in this part of the country have a profound French, turn-of-the-century influence. When the designer spotted the space he wanted, he gutted it. The most important thing for the renovation was to stay true to the early 20th century structure of the surrounding area, while still incorporating his signature style and furnishings. There are only two people living in the small apartment, so the designer decided to indulge in high-end modern goods, while still creating a livable and functional space. The pieces he selected are warm and welcoming, “I don’t think I have a particular style, to be honest,” says Irastorza. “I always try to adapt my work to the places, houses, and clients I work with. This house was my own, so it’s a bit of everything. I just knew that I wanted it to be clean and open, but also very warm.” The finished result is a home that feels harmonious and balanced — a fusion of a structure inspired by the past, and design that lives in the present.

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Although the floor plan of his home is fairly open, Irastorza was able to divide the living space into multiple seating areas that serve different functions. This lengthy living area is divided into a TV viewing space at one end with a couch, and a reading space at the other end with two chaises. The couch was made in Irastorza’s workshop, while the coffee and side tables are from FLEXFORM. Both consoles are mid-century Danish pieces.

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A variety of mid-century German pottery sits on top of the Danish console, accented by a vintage lamp. The primary light fixtures are Pipe, by Tom Dixon. The chaise lounges are from FLEXFORM.

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“White, white, and white! I really only added pale colors — a very light mint and peach — in the bedrooms to add to the fabrics,” said Irastorza. The white pottery still manages to stand out against the home’s molded white walls, as do the vintage white wall lights from Holland. The hanging pendant is another vintage find of Irastorza’s.

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The furniture and accessories Irastorza opted to use in his home are a unique mix of products that he loves, and products that he has bought all over the world. “I look mostly for things with a past —things that tell a story — and also for items from my favorite designers.”

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The living room, dining room, and kitchen all remain relatively open to each other — the iron bookcase is really the only thing dividing this common living space. A clean and open space was particularly important to Irastorza, who wanted to incorporate this contemporary update into the structure of this turn-of-the-century apartment.

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The combination of the bold artwork and classic furniture made the dining room Irastorza’s favorite room in his home. He found an antique French country table, which melds beautifully with the home’s golden wood floors. Chinese wooden side chairs accent the table, along with six classic Bertoia white chairs.

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The amazing artwork on the wall was was a light fixture Irastorza had reworked into a sculpture to hang on the wall. The piece, found in a villa in Berlin, is covered in gold leaf. The hanging fixtures above the table are from FLOS.

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A great example of Irastorza’s design style, the kitchen is extremely functional. All of the appliances are very high-end, but the space is nothing extravagant — just what is needed. All of the kitchen tiles are from the Italian tile experts at Bisazza.

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Irastorza chose sink fixtures from Grohe for the kitchen, and a durable countertop material from Silestone for his sleek, white counters. The unique photograph is called “1592-4,” and is by the Korean artist Kyungwoo Chun. (How fantastic is the staging in these shots by the way? It looks like the leftovers from a late night binge.)

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The open hallway lends to the light, airy, and clean feeling of the entire home. Light from a beautifully made stained-glass window fills the space. A vintage leather German chair from the ’50s and a quirky floor lamp from Spanish company Santa & Cole adds warmth.

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Irastorza had a iron bookshelf installed to work as a innovative and multi-functional room divider. The different sized nooks and crannies are perfect for his wide collection of knick-knacks.

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The architectural details in the main bedroom are great examples of Irastorza’s attempts to maintain 20th-century elements in the home’s structure. A understated and delicate molding at the ceiling accents the über light peach walls. Although the color is subtle, it significantly warms up what might otherwise feel like a stark room. A luxurious fur throw adds to this feel, and a chic Mies van de Rohe Barcelona chair in the corner pulls the look and color scheme together.

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An authentic Moroccan rug contributes to the sense of texture in this neutrally-toned room. The chic side table is a vintage French design from the ’50s, and is highlighted by Basque, German, and Peruvian pottery. The pendant lamps — which are great alternatives to more traditional bedside lamps — are vintage German.

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Irastorza chose a pale mint to highlight the walls and molding in the second bedroom of the home. A custom blue headboard complements the Ralph Lauren Home bedspread. Vintage jade-colored pendant lights, which hang daintily over a set of Danish side tables. The mirror on the wall, which is from Maxalto, is a clever way to give the illusion of a larger space.

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A vintage Danish brown leather chair sits next to a French side table and old Phillips floor lamp to create a cozy window-side reading corner. The teak desk — another Danish design from the ’60s — sits away from the Moroccan rug, creating a tidy little desk area. The mint walls coincide with the green marble fireplace, adding to the room’s faint yet distinct green hue — a far cry from the stark white walls of the home’s common space.

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Photos: Courtesy of Mikel Irastorza

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