This much anticipated design book At Home by Isabel López-Quesada is a personal and practical lesson in l'art de vivre. The three homes that López-Quesada designed for herself in Madrid and Biarritz are fresh, original, and highly flexible living environments. Gardens, terraces and courtyards relate to their interior counterparts seamlessly, essential for Mediterranean living.
Her decoration is sincere;
"She rejects the gratuitously pricey or the frankly pretentious in favor of humble domestic materials like antique lines, aged stone floors, porcelain, wicker baskets, quilts and weathered family heirlooms,"
writes Amy Astley in the foreword of the book.
López-Quesada's design characteristic is both inspiring and adaptable and has been a joy to discover.
French confit pots are usually used as kitchen decor, however in her summer home, they are displayed on the mantelpiece alongside modern art, an antique gilded mirror and a pair of vintage cement Medici garden urns topped with antique Christmas baubles. This superb mixture of antique, modern, indoor, outdoor, precious pieces and everyday objects makes a wonderful impact and is highly original.
Beside the minimalist fireplace, López-Quesada artfully contrasts a rustic collection of antique ironstone pots with an elegant Louis XVI gilded console table. Doubling as a vase, a large preserving pot overflows with grapevine and oak leaf hydrangea cuttings from the lush garden.
In the kitchen there is a familial theme - family portraits are displayed at head height creating a strong connection to the past while being an unexpected pairing with everyday kitchenware - a wicker fruit basket, cutting boards and mortar and pestle.
Antique furniture in a new context
López-Quesada combines design acumen with a deep commitment to re-purposing and minimizing waste.
In the master bedroom of her Biarritz home, she chooses an old kitchen table and timber secretaire as nightstands. Many decorators seek perfect symmetry in bedrooms - López-Quesada proves this to be entirely unnecessary - the only matching decor is the pair of lamps.
In the library of her Madrid home salvaged architectural elements are unexpectedly used - the stone fireplace is French and the lamps are re-purposed finials. Timeworn materials add depth and interest to this tranquil space.
A late 19th Century French comptoir or shop counter is transformed into double basins and used as an island so that the carved details that appear on all sides can be enjoyed.
In the lush courtyards of the Biarritz home there are numerous Greek, Spanish and French urns, olive jars and vases. Some are glazed bottle green such as the Anduze urns, while other antique jars have a wonderful weathered patina.
López-Quesada displays a large collection of vintage pots on an antique table and leaves all but one empty. This is a simple but stunning arrangement.
An impressive collection of antique fabric and linen is just as beautiful when in the cupboard as when out being used - tablecloths, serviettes, vintage tea towels can be found in most rooms in all of her homes.
Natural floral arrangements
Antique blue and white vases hold pink roses, tall glass vases appear tree-like and are displayed on the floor or on tables.
Other clear glass vases are grouped together, and fun ceramic vases hold colourful floral arrangements on outdoor tables.
López-Quesada has a vintage florist table that she uses for arranging flowers - she has great skill in creating natural and sculptural displays.
Recreate this look with our timeless collection of antique and vintage decor and furniture.
All photos by Miguel Flores-Vianna, designed by Isabel López-Quesada from the 2018 book At Home.
Buy the book here.