A Stunning Spanish Home Reflects Russian Roots — House Call

Name: Olga Komarova, husband, and three kids
Location: Valencia, Spain
Size: 1,076 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

In 2013 my husband and I inherited this flat from his grandmother. It is situated in a historical seaside area of Valencia—Cabanal. This is a very special place that holds many peculiar buildings in modernismo style (the Spanish version of Art Nouveau). We tried to treat the location and personal history of the apartment with respect; we saved old floor tiles and put Brazilian parquet where the original floor was missing.

When decorating the apartment we consciously decided not to follow any style. We love traveling, have lived in many different countries, and had a very versatile collection of different artifacts and pieces of art. Besides, we inherited many different objects from my husband’s family—they have no particular artistic value—but we cherish them a lot. I also adore antique shops and flea markets. In this way, we are slowly filling our home with personal and nostalgic things from different places and stages of our lives without giving it a second thought if they match—if we love them one by one they have no other choice than to go together. And I believe they do, the old Spanish rattan chair and Chinese chest of drawers. The Spanish porcelain lamp and Russian embroidery cushion.

The deep turquoise color of the living room honors my home country; this color is very typical to the interiors of empire Russian manor houses. Russian art covers the walls. And a true Russian house is unimaginable without a piano; my girls and I just love playing and singing.

I don’t really like word “interior.” I prefer “beautiful home” or “elegant way of being.” This is what I do; I adore going to other people’s places and observing their surroundings. There is always an extraordinary person behind any beautiful home. In fact there must be a person behind any interior, otherwise it is nothing but decoration. I am not afraid of overwhelming spaces and their imperfections—the lack of books and art on the walls—this is what frightens me most. Roughness of the walls, imperfection of ceilings, a wardrobe’s cracked lacquer—these are signs of life and there is no sense in hiding them.

I love the idea that there are many things in my apartment that were already here long before I came. Now we are here, but who knows where we go tomorrow; my ceiling lamp, old dining table, and tiles will still be here as the house’s guardian angels.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Eclectic, free, effortless, personal, elegant.

What is your favorite room and why? Living room because it is full of art and very flexible—we move out two tables and serve great dinner parties for our big multinational family.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Be free, flexible, not afraid of making mistakes. Train your eye—go to a lot to museums and read constantly.

Thanks, Olga!

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