A respectful transformation

A respectful transformation

To the northwest of Barcelona lies the Catalonian town of Sabadell. This city, with a history that dates back almost 1,000 years, is dominated by the textile and metal industries, and many residential areas are typical working-class neighbourhoods. A common type of house here is the ‘Casa Inglesa’: narrow terraced houses with equally narrow gardens behind them, often with original features and great potential – at least according to Laia Ubia. The interior designer and her team prefer to renovate these ‘English houses’ because their characteristic elements make each house special.


Laia Ubia Studio



Noemí de la Peña



Sabadell, Spain

Preserving as much as possible

The complete renovation of this property in Sabadell was all about preserving the essence of the original materials. After all, the existing ceilings made using mighty old wooden beams, the hand-made brick walls and arched staircases, and the ceramic tiles typical of the region are not only reflective of the Catalan building tradition, but also exhibit a quality of reliable solidity and durability that is particularly valued today. Uncovering, repairing, preserving was therefore the maxim for this work – and for a sensitive transition to the 21st century.

The good things remain: brick walls, ceiling beams and the typical staircase. (Photo: Noemí de la Peña)

Family home 2.0

To turn the charming building into a modern family home, the interior designers added new elements and materials to the existing, and now reconditioned, structure, all with the aim of harmonising with the existing building and making it stand out. The staircase, for example, was given a natural oak stair tread and straight white metal railings – both without frills, yet with a sober elegance. Both on the ground floor to the terrace and the upper floor to the balcony, the narrow building opens up with large glass fronts to let in as much light as possible. And in the large living area and the seamlessly connected kitchen in particular, carefully exposed brick walls contrast with gleaming white surfaces and oak fronts.

Light, light and more light: the bedrooms upstairs enjoy lots of light at all times. (Photo: Noemí de la Peña)

Technology as a design element

Of course, the home technology also had to be brought up to date – some of it out of sight and behind the scenes, such as a modern floor heating system that uses aerothermics as its basis, and which was integrated into the concrete floor of the upper storey. Other components, however, are actually designed for maximum visibility. These include the surface-mounted switches and socket outlets from the Gira Studio AP design line. With their clear design and high-quality glass surfaces, they are design objects in their own right and complement the historical elements, creating an impressive symbiosis

Perfect staging: historic sliding doors meet surface-mounted Gira installations. (Photo: Noemí de la Peña)

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