As if a floor-to-ceiling wall of books isn’t enough to coax a wistful sigh from any bibliophile, this renovated 1950s home in Madrid tacks on a cozy, elevated hammock as a reading nook, accessible via library ladder. Spanish design firm Eque y Seta wanted to freshen up the formerly dated home for a modern-day family, making it lighter and brighter and adding a few fun features for kids and adults alike to enjoy.
While the living room hosts more traditional floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in dark wood tones, making hundreds of titles accessible to anyone who wants to lounge on the couch or take a seat at the dining table, the library has a youthful appeal enhanced by lots of natural light. Taking advantage of the double-height space, which might be awkwardly narrow for many other uses, the hammock simply consists of white mesh strung onto a metal frame, which is attached to the built-in bookcase.
Reading nooks tend to be dark and isolating, encouraging you to settle in with some blankets and maybe even a flashlight to take in all that tiny text. In contrast, this hammock feels connected to the room around it, yet no less inviting. Daylight streams in from the glass doors leading to a balcony, and an adjacent staircase offers access to a lofted bed under a spacious skylight.
The three rectangular floors of the home are arranged in a staggered stack, topped by gabled roofing, with the library on the third floor. The rest of the home continues this minimal yet comforting feel, with little illustrations painted onto the walls of the children’s bedroom. Skylights penetrate all the way down to the ground floor and windows gaze out onto the garden, creating the atmosphere of an atrium throughout the full height of the home.
According to Egue y Seta, the key ingredients in transforming the old townhouse are high ceilings, comfort, and a splash of natural light, with a dressing made of authenticity, creativity, and a passion for books, stories, and film. “Serve generously and prepare yourself to share with family and friends a delicious home with a happy ending and a savory aftertaste that manages to convey the personality and lifestyle of a well read couple and their fairytale children.”
“Once upon a time there was a house to which we accessed by climbing up a few steps that led us into a porch and a front yard where flower pots blooming with lavender awakened our senses: a small garden that surrounds the house up until its northern side where we’ll find the terrace with its swimming pool as nowadays enchanted pools have rather little use,” say the designers. “Behind two generously sized sliding glass doors and at the very heart of this house’s ground floor there is a large living room filled with famous authors and their characters who look at us askance from every corner of the thirty vertical square meters of custom made solid wood bookcase recovered from the family’s previous home.”