Twenty years ago, the neighborhood of Chueca near the center of Madrid, Spain was less than savory. Crime, drugs and vandals all dominated its streets, and even though its location made it ideal for tourists and locals alike, this bad rap solidified it as a place to avoid. Spain’s gay population wasn’t having it, though. They swept in and made the barrio the gayborhood, flipping it into a cultural hub filled with bars, fashion-forward shops and wonderful restaurants. Needless to say, the transformation has since turned it into one of the most sought-after areas in Madrid.
Susana Ordovás and her husband José (whose Mexico City home we featured here) are one pair lucky enough to own a pied-à-terre in this vibrant part of Madrid. Lovingly restored by its previous owners, their apartment in Chueca is a century old and boasts many of its original features: herringbone floors, three balconies and hearty doors. While these elements made it beautiful to begin with, design-fanatic Susana couldn’t just move into the space and do nothing to it. With her designer friend Dirk-Jan Kinet at her side and her new keys in hand she made two whirlwind trips from Mexico to Madrid with the sole purpose of making the home into a cozy retreat.
Most of the home’s decorations come from the world-famous El Rastro flea market. It’s supplied the pair with all the lamps, rusty signs, mannequins and 50s-era goods they could have hoped for. Plus it’s a blast to shop there, they tell us. Add to this mix some hypnotic wallpaper and a little determination, and Dirk and Susana were able to personalize this place in under two weeks. Yep, 11 days of install to be exact. Many of their design decisions are bold, but the overall formation of each room, with its color story and configuration, is so cerebral there isn’t one design element that grabs your attention. That’s the true sign of a well-thought-out home. Click through to relish in this black-and-green barrio beauty. Enjoy! —Garrett
Image above: When the apartment was first built in 1905, the two bedrooms were here where the current living room sits. That meant they got sole access to the home’s balconies and beautiful natural light. Before the Ordováses moved in, the previous owners cleverly swapped the living and sleeping spaces to give themselves a better backdrop for entertaining. Now everyone can enjoy the pretty views and breezes coming off the three balconies.
Image above: To play off of this old laboratory table’s student graffiti, Susana paired it with a portrait she’s deemed “El Profesor.” To its left sits a vintage Manises lamp. The Valencia-based manufacturer’s old works are seeing a major resurgence in modern-day Spain.
Image above: Susana, her husband José and their two children Maria and Pepe live in Mexico City, but when they have free time they holiday here in Madrid, nestled into their 112-year-old apartment.
Image above: Most homeowners in Spain paint their shutter doors white. Not Susana. Her green ones provide that zip she always loves incorporating into home design. Most of this room’s decorations are from Madrid’s Sunday flea market El Rastro. The sofa is from La Oca.
Image above: The metal sign advertising Tabac Gosset — a tobacco brand — was found at a local consignment shop. Susana and her designer friend Dirk got quite a few strange looks as they carried it home through the crowded streets, especially when Dirk dropped it and broke his toe!
Image above: Originally, Susana doubted her friend Dirk-Jan Kinet’s vision for the dining room’s floral wall, but the Sanderson wallpaper has won her over. The table is from La Europea and sits on original herringbone floors.
Image above: The entryway’s bold portrait was the first thing Susana purchased for her family’s pied-à-terre, and she brought it here all the way from Mexico. Its inky-green and black tones immediately establish the home’s color palette.
Image above: Cole & Son wallpaper and bedside lamps from the 1950s decorate Susana and José’s bedroom.
Image above: While this wallpaper is more contemporary than the rest of the home, green pillows and ceramics help ensure the bedroom as a whole fits into the home’s overall vibe.
Image above: This green lamp had been gathering dust in one of Madrid’s vintage shops for a decade when Susana and her designer Dirk stumbled upon it. “I love how modern it looks in contrast [to] some of the antiques and vintage finds that are scattered throughout the rest of the house,” Susana gushes.
Image above: The family’s kitchen. Photography by Lupe Clemente.
Image above: Susana opted for mismatched dining sets. This is her family’s holiday home after all, so a bit of whimsy and fun were a must. The portrait is of a “gitano,” which is Spanish for “gyspy.”
Image above: Red was Susana’s favorite color growing up, so she was thrilled to give her two children Maria and Pepe a scarlet bedroom.
Image above: A 19th-century painting of a military gentleman in the children’s room.
Image above: A closeup of the room’s Toile de Jouy wallpaper. It’s from French fabric house Manuel Canovas.
Image above: “What I love most about our home is that it’s the perfect place to spend our holidays!” — Susana Ordovás Image above: The 1,400-square-foot home was built in 1905 in traditional Spanish style. It features two bedrooms, two bathrooms and is located in the Chueca neighborhood of Madrid.