This Vibrant Barcelona Apartment Has the Most Remarkable Doorways

The combined kitchen and dining areas were another domain for Juan’s unique personality to be asserted. A general distaste for appliances and an obsession with meticulous details led Juan to dream up a plan to completely hide his oven inside a leg of the dining table. And the chairs around that table? Yes, all 12 are different—odes to his favorite design movements and makers. A 1960s chair by Borge Mogensen for FDB Mobler is particularly close to his heart.

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A piece by Reuben Beren James frames the modern kitchen cabinets and appliances.

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Juan’s favorite book finds prime real estate on his beloved coffee table.

The seamless flow and open floor plan are ideal for Juan’s youthful and entertaining-centric lifestyle. A frieze by Albert Riera Galceran anchors the foyer, marking Juan’s bold vision for his guests. Yet it also creates “a harmony on a subtle level. It brings everything together,” says Juan. The whole home is an exercise in juxtapositions—restraint versus generosity, quiet versus loud, experimental versus historically informed.

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Juan’s company, John Brown Projects, has always worked remotely, so a dedicated office space was important even pre-quarantine. “For my desk, I wanted to be surrounded by my favorite items collected throughout time,” he says. A Platner armchair by Knoll adds a mod touch to the room, and photography by Mahala Nuuk hangs outside the angled doorway.

Ultimately, everything you would want to know about Juan and his home can be found in his off-kilter iron doorway: a centerpiece of the apartment, the gateway to the main living areas. “I didn’t want to feel that my house was in perfect balance—perfect colors, perfect lines,” says Juan. “I wanted to break with this idea that straight shapes are always what we consider perfect.” And herein lies the true power of design. In this singular doorway, an entire lifestyle dogma is discernible.

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On a visit, Juan’s friend, artist Sandra Modrego, impulsively decided to paint the back of his front door, bringing instant life to an ignored utility space.

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Painted moldings create visual intrigue in an otherwise forgotten area.

⚒ Do It Yourself

Go big. Just because you’re in a tighter urban space, doesn’t mean you have to rely on small-scale art. Don’t be afraid to put large, statement-making pieces in an apartment. Cover an entire wall in a tapestry, like Juan’s by Josep Maynou, or invest in a sizable abstract work.

Get personal. A gallery wall can include more than prized artworks—mix in personal artifacts and mementos. Above Juan’s desk sits the front page of the Charlie Hebdo magazine published after the 2015 terrorist attack. “I was living in Paris at the time,” he says. “It was important for me to keep a memory of that horrible day.” Paintings by Berta-Blanca T. Ivanow and Ignasi Monreal are presented alongside casual snapshots of family and friends.

Trust your eye, follow your joy. A home should be an amalgamation of everything you love. Here, “every piece of art, design, and book has a story behind it,” says Juan. If you start the design process by collecting items that tell your story, it won’t matter if you’re sticking to a plan or a style—your space will end up coming together organically. “It is our individual eye that sees things as decorative and leads us to fit them into projects.”

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Wood and leather chairs by Heaps & Woods create an immediate warmth in the living room. Robert Rauschenberg’s Storyline II lithograph, one of Juan’s most prized prints, brings the room together with vibrant hues and a buoyant mood.

🛍 Shop It Out

V44 blanket by Viso x Michael Bargo, $600,

Mags three-seater sofa by Hay, from $2,545,

Pierre Yovanovitch: Interior Architecture book, $65,

Melting Pot single-base table by Dirk Vander Kooij, inquire for pricing,

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Juan in his natural habitat, surrounded by art and books.