Barcelona’s Borrel Apartment Renovation Turns Dark and Narrow into Light & Spacious

Borrell Apartment designed by EO Arquitectura is a large-scale renovation of an apartment located in the Eixample quarter of Barcelona, Spain. Eixample is a section between the old city and what were once surrounding small towns.


The renovation consisted of restoration of traditional elements combined with new materials creating an overall lighter and more spacious environment.


“Originally, the apartment presented a decayed and dark image due to the excessive subdivided rooms. The patio is very narrow and it scarcely receives light. Except for the two rooms next to the main facade, the apartment was barely illuminated by natural light,” said the designers.



In order to maximize natural light in the apartment, architects removed walls and changed passageways that were creating unnecessary divisions in the space and preventing natural light from flowing throughout the entirety of the apartment.

“The outcome is a linear succession of three big spaces of different proportions associated with the structure of load-bearing walls. Each space has a specific use with its own identity (living room/kitchen-dining room/bedroom) and the openings between them allow them greater freedom of relationship.”


The only remaining partitions are those in the hallway which were traditionally used as servant quarters annexed to the patio.


“They [servant spaces] are located between the day spaces and the night space in order to give more privacy. The structures of the building are load-bearing walls parallel to the facade with few openings that darkened the rest of the apartment. We realized a big opening in one of the intermediate bearing walls taking advantage of two existing doors, in order to improve light and spatial flow.”

Some of the restorations to the apartment included joineries, ceiling mouldings and other traditional elements. New materials such as the metallic beams were left exposed to emphasize the alterations made to the original design.


Additionally, the exposed beams used for the openings of the walls change the style of the apartment to a more contemporary look.  To further accentuate a lighter and airy feel both the old and new materials are painted in white.


The wooden floors are made of natural oak bringing both texture and warmth while balancing any sterile appearance potentially created by the white walls and fixtures.


The interior design and decor contributes to the updated appearance with mid-century modern furniture designs such as scandinavian inspired tables, molded fiberglass armchairs and side chairs with wood legs.