Before and After: Elena’s Madrid Flat

Elena is a young professional woman who knows what she likes. She lives in a one bedroom apartment that she has been owning for a couple of years but only recently got to taking the time to decorating it. The flat is modern and consists of a rather narrow living room, a nice bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. She contacted me shortly after having a custom wall unit and bar table ordered. She was planing to have a painter come before everything was installed and was looking for advice on colors to choose.

Emerald Green Interiors E flat*

Let me show you a few before pictures. You can see that the right wall of the living room was left in apparent brick which are a shade of warm grey. Elena had also purchased the metallic bronze leather sofa a year ago so we needed to find colors that would work with both fixed elements as well as with the new wall unit which was ordered in grey similar to the wall with mustard yellow accents.

Emerald Green Interiors Elena flat before 1Emerald Green Interiors Elena flat before 2

For the bedroom Elena had already in mind to use a shade of darker blue. She wanted it to match the bright yellow bed linens she uses most of the time and wasn’t afraid of going dark for a feature wall behind the bed.

Emerald Green Interiors Elena flat before 3Emerald Green Interiors Elena flat before 4

We chose a beautiful muted dark blue (NCS 6020R90B) for the bedroom feature wall. It is elegant and soothing and has enough strength to balance the yellow linens. For the styling of the after pictures, I used my own Ikea Ranarp work lamp as well as cushions covers from the Svartall collection, whose graphic small scale patterns I love.

Emerald Green Interiors E flat 7*

Emerald Green Interiors E flat 12*

In the living room Elena had thought of using a mustard color on the wall behind the sofa since she had chosen mustard accents on her newly ordered Molteni & C. wall unit. I advised her against it as the color wouldn’t have worked with the color of the leather couch and, suggested that the use the same blue we had chosen for the bedroom. Not only does it really highlight the special metallic finish of the sofa, but also creates a symmetry effect in the flat: In both rooms we now have a blue feature wall and yellow accents. I would also add that when working with smaller spaces using less colors makes it easier to create an ensemble that is coherent.

Emerald Green Interiors E flat 4*

Emerald Green Interiors E flat 14*For all the other walls I helped her choose a light grey in the same range as her brick wall. I am delighted to say that Elena loves the result. I do have to get a few more pictures of the living room with the new wall unit. She was so kind to let me come to take pictures just before leaving for a long weekend and we didn’t have the time to style and take pictures of everything.

Emerald Green Interiors E flat 5*Emerald Green Interiors E flat*

Here again the after view of the living room with the new bar table and gorgeous stools. The blue adds so much character to this flat. I often see clients who are afraid of using strong colors in small spaces but I strongly recommend it. Thank you Elena for your trust and for letting me take those pictures.

* Photography and styling by Corinne Kowal

What a dramatic difference the coloured wall makes. It really brought so much warmth and style to the room. Elena must be so happy with the result. Mel xx

A wonderful work with awesome results. I love that blue, Corinne!
Very well done!

Lovely! I love the blue throughout the house. Floors were poured in our place today, so hopefully back in it before not too long. Will be in touch.
Jessica recently posted…May, The Dramatic RoundupMy Profile

Thank you Jessica. This must be such an exciting time for you even though it mean some logistical headaches.
Corinne Kowal recently posted…Room and Flower N.4My Profile

Urban Jungle Bloggers – Balconies & Window Sills

I am back with the April edition of Urban Jungle Bloggers, a tad late since it’s April 29th but hey! I actually took plenty of pictures two weeks ago just before leaving on a week break for the kids holidays. However I only managed to take them really late in the evening and therefore relied heavily on my shutter speed to get as much exposure as possible. I started editing them as I though I would publish this post on the 21st but realized that I really needed to edit them too much and wasn’t getting the result I was looking for. So I let it go and took new pictures this past Sunday upon our return, with much better lighting conditions. Besides some cropping I didn’t edit them at all.

Emerald Green Interiors Urban Jungle bloggers April- 6

Emerald Green Interiors Urban Jungle bloggers April- 1

This month’s theme was “Balconies and window sills”. Since moving to Madrid, we now have the chance of living in a house and we even have a garden. We do have lots of windows and window sills but every single window in this house has grids which doesn’t make it very convenient to add plants since the grids are set between the window and the sills. We do however have a terrace which I used for this exercise. We had two very large white planters left abandoned and before adding some content to them I decided that they needed some color. I rather randomly chose two leftover interior paint samples from Farrow & Ball and painted them with my son one afternoon before heading to our local garden center.

Emerald Green Interiors Urban Jungle bloggers April- 10

I selected an assortment of succulents in various shapes and sizes and also purchased a larger agave with a matching terracotta pot. The large blue planter you see on the picture originally hosted an olive tree over ten years ago on my tiny fifth floor Paris balcony. It has since moved with us but remained mostly unused. The pot with the typical Spanish floral pattern was also in the garden when we moved in. I don’t know if it belonged to a previous tenant but it was begging to be used. I planted some lavenders in those two large planters already three months ago and it is growing nicely.

Emerald Green Interiors Urban Jungle bloggers April- 9

Emerald Green Interiors Urban Jungle bloggers April- 2I shot those pictures in the afternoon when the sun shines in the garden and I love how it is reflected on them. Those little succulents make me very happy and I especially like the funny curly one in the blue planter . Did you notice that the leave edges of two of them even match the eggplant planter color?

Emerald Green Interiors Urban Jungle bloggers April- 7

Emerald Green Interiors Urban Jungle bloggers April- 4

Thank you Judith and Igor for another great theme and for getting me to get some more stuff done around the house. I look forward to next month’s challenge.

For those wishing to know, the Farrow & Ball colors I used for the planters are Brinjal (eggplant) and Bowler Hat Blue. This last color is exclusive to the Brussels showroom as it was created for the walls of the Magritte museum.

Wow Corinne! These images are so pretty! The light in your garden is beautiful and I love how the colors of the planters and plants all match perfectly well. Super color-coordinated! Even when the lavender starts blooming it will match to the color scheme <3 Thanks for playing along again this month!
Judith recently posted…Urban Jungle Bloggers #8My Profile

Thank you for your kind words Judith. I am sorry I couldn’t join last month. I hadn’t even thought about the lavender!
Corinne Kowal recently posted…Room and Flower N.3My Profile

Wonderful Corinne! Your outdoor space looks like the perfect home for the succulents! Thank you for joining us again & hugs from Israel!

What a lovely garden you have, you must be in bliss there after no outdoor area. I honestly didn’t think you’d get many houses in Madrid – are you far from the centre? Those succulents look so happy and I love how the light captures the cob webs. Beautiful! M xx

Thank yuou Igor and have a wonderful time in Israel! It’s great to have a garden Mel, especially with one and another soon to be active child. We had actually a nicely sized terrace in Brussels but we didn’t get to use it very often due to the Belgian weather. We now live in a residential area slightly outside of the city center. It takes about 15 min by car to be at the heart of the city so it’s not bad.

I love this series – I have seen it on Igor and Judith’s blogs. Your version is great – what a beautiful set a photos x

These are beautiful images Corinne! Perfect lighting this time. Do you use a macro lens? Which? And I love the web on that one succulent!!

Thank you Trisha and Libby.
Libby, no I don’t use a macro lens, just the only one we have which is an all purpose lens. I simply got close and zoomed in :)
Corinne Kowal recently posted…Urban Jungle Bloggers – Balconies & Window SillsMy Profile

Room and Flower N.3

I hope you had a lovely Easter Weekend. In German narcissus are called “Osterglocken” which translates to Easter bells. So I thought that it would be fitting to have the new installment of Room and Flower featuring narcissus. I usually start by finding a room picture but this time I worked the other way around.

I hope it inspires you to have more flowers in your home. I am spending a few days with my parents and their blooming garden is certainly inspiring me. You can catch a glimpse on my instagram feed.

Room & Flower n3


* Source: RoomFlower

Hi Corinne

I am a fellow byw student, and thought I would pop by to look at your blog, I love your flower arrangement, its beautiful.


Dear Emma, thank you so much for your comment. The flower arrangement is not by me. The source is listed below the picture. I only try to match two pictures together :) Have a lovely day.
Corinne Kowal recently posted…Urban Jungle Bloggers – Balconies & Window SillsMy Profile

Hi Corinne.
I very like your idea of “Room and Flower” and how you arrange a pictures.

A Flat with Vibrant Color choices

Every color consultation is different but it is safe to say that there are two types of clients: The first ones already have an idea in mind. It might not the most precise or refined one but it already says a lot about a client’s taste and serves as starting point for the consultation. Sometimes the original idea ends up been carried out because it works well in the given space and in other cases the final color scheme might not include it at all. The second type of clients doesn’t have any ideas and wants me to offer suggestions. In that case I take a longer moment to observe the space and its specifics and usually start showing a few colors that fit. Those first colors I pull out are usually toned down ones and not outright bright. They help me to get a feel for what the client likes based on his reactions.

A couple of months ago I met a young Madrid-based entrepreneur and did a color consultation with him. He is the latter type of client and wanted to hear some suggestions. After the first few samples I started to pull out, the direction became pretty clear. Every time the reaction was: “it’s too bland, sad, don’t you have something more vibrant, lively?”. So I pulled out some color for true color lovers but the reaction was still the same and it finally took the most vibrant colors of my color fan deck to get him hitched. Here is the result with a few mood boards including furniture and accessories.

Emerald Green Interiors PAW Living room

The living/dining room will end-up being a hidden homage to the apartment’s tenant’s origins who is half British. (hmmm maybe this is why we ended up with all this color.)

Emerald Green Interiors PAW bedroom

The bedroom is very colorful with a lovely shade of green. It is calmed down with lots of white and natural elements and will have a lovely vertical succulents garden installed on one wall.

Emerald Green Interiors PAW Office

The office will be a bright yellow think tank for new ideas and projects. Besides yellow being known as a creative color it is also the color of of one of this entrepreneur’s successful ventures.

What do you think of so much color? It might not be for everyone but here is a small secret: If you use vibrant colors, keep the room’s color scheme monochromatic and add a lot of white and eventually light wood and natural accessories to lighten up the color effect.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Designer Focus: Agence Double G

It’s been a while since my last designer focus column. The April edition of the French Elle Decor focuses on color and has a wonderful cover featuring the work of Paris based Agence Double G. Founded in 2005 by Flora de Gastines and Anne Geistdoerfer the agency has received some serious press coverage for their projects; a single look at their portfolio and you’ll understand why. The two associates have worked for both Jean-Michel Wimotte, one of the most famous French architects in charge of the renovation of the emblematic Lutétia Hotel in Paris which closed its doors on Monday, and India Mahdavi the designer known for her colorful and playful realizations. De Gastines and Geistdoefer’s love of color is obvious. They use if with confidence, combining it with graphic patterns, exquisite materials, and textiles to create contemporary and easy-going homes brimming with personality.

Emerald Green Interiors Agence Double G 2Emerald Green Interiors Agence Double G 7

Emerald Green Interiors Agence Double G 1

I am in love with their combinations: The furniture’s clean lines and the fantasy of the rounded accessories; The geometric patterns with the softness of the washed linen. The balance and contrast is just right: unexpected and interesting but not overpowering.

Emerald Green Interiors Agence Double G 6

Emerald Green Interiors Agence Double G 3

I can’t wait to see more of their colorful and inspiring work and wonder how their style will evolve in the future. I am signing off for tonight as I have a photo shoot tomorrow at a client’s home. I will share the images with you next week. I wish you a great Easter weekend if you have holidays. My oldest son is on vacations so the days are quite busy but I will probably be back before the end of the week with  a new post.

* All pictures via Agence Double G

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