Postwar Pad: A Spanish Designer Breathes New Life into a Madrid Apartment

When walking into this postwar flat in Madrid, Spanish interior designer Pepe Leal had a vision. Although the floors were mismatched and discolored, the rooms small and compartmentalized, and the light blocked from most of the space, Leal knew there was charm to be found. He started renovations by demolishing walls and exposing south facing windows to more of the space. Once the light poured in, the luxurious details began to shine: like ornate cornices and wainscotting. Staining the originally mismatched floors to a rich hue, and refreshing the walls with a fresh coat of white, finished off the backdrop for furnishings. And Leal clearly has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to putting a room together. Here are a few we've detected:


When creating a seating scenario for a room, don't set your sofa up for singledom when you can pair it with a partner. Just like with friends, setting up a couple that is too similar can be disastrous (we've all met those kinds of lovebirds). Opposites are meant to attract - in people, and in sofas. The more different your sofas are, the more successful their partnership will be. Here, a more traditional oak-framed three-seater, sits next to a more modern plaid-upholstered sofa. Sparks must have been flying when the two met, for their romance is one for the history books.


The coffee table is always the focal point of the living room, as it's smack dab in the center. Leal made it a focal point by assembling a cluster of four smaller tables. Ranging in heights, but unified by finishes, the tables have a special, collected look.


It may seem difficult to incorporate sculpture into the home without it overwhelming the space. However, if you look closely into Leal's design, you'll notice there are hints of successfully subtle sculpture at every turn. The first is - of course - artist Aldo Chaparro's expressive lettering, which finds its light above an antique black armoire. The armoire also plays host to a cow's skull: an unexpectedly rustic adornment. Finally, a light-up pup takes shelter under a large console table, and a red glass vase boasts blooms on a piece of the coffee table grouping. These different forms of sculpture easily make their way into the living room, without getting in the way of any actual living. Will you play sofa matchmaker, cluster your coffee tables, or add some sculpture to your pad? Sound off in the comments below. 


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Noir Ferret Wine Cabinet, $2448, Layla Grace Bettina Sofa, From $1799, Ballard Designs Magnificent Metal Letter, $34, Land of Nod
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Kelly Green Decorative Bolster Pillow Cover, $45, Nora Quinonez Global Views Coffee Table, $1498, Wayfair OFFI My Pet Lamp Dachshund, $79, Design Public
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Echo Vase, $40, Z Gallerie Luxe Faux Fur Throw, $79, Restoration Hardware Mongolian Pillow, $130, Z Gallerie
Photography: Nuevo Estilo