Famed Spanish interior designer Isabel López-Quesada recently took on a major design project with an incredible historical significance. As our title suggests, López-Quesada took on the challenge of redesigning e reinventing the former apartment of Hollywood legend Ava Garder. Let’s check out this project in more detail!
First of all a brief Hollywood history! Ava Gardner’s had many love affairs, one of them was Spain – a place she found irresistible for its “earthiness” and “whimsy” (not to mention its handsome toreadors). In the mid-1950s, the Hollywood legend purchased an apartment in Madrid’s El Viso neighborhood where she lived for a while. The apartment eventually was sold, but its legacy lived on! The new owners decided to renovate it and hired famed designer Isabel López-Quesada to complete this task. To renovate such a storied property would be any designer’s dream, but for Isabel López-Quesada, it was more than that – it was a necessity.
The Spanish designer, whose romantic approach to interiors was chronicled in her 2018 book Isabel López-Quesada: At Home (Vendome), decided on a new layout for the house so that she could create something elegant and clean, with a neutral base that would allow her to play with colors. So she began by making some major alterations to the floor plan. A narrow U-shaped staircase was replaced with a gorgeously curved one in unfinished oak, its sleek iron balustrade topped with brass handrails. One of the former reception rooms on the lower level became the main bedroom suite, complete with a sunlit walk-in closet. The upper level now has bedrooms for the children and a family room that opens onto the sprawling terrace, where the overgrown tops of neighborhood trees provide not just shade but also the delightful sense of being in an urban forest.
When it came time to decorate, she unleashed her signature eclecticism. López-Quesada is the kind of designer who can nod to British clubhouses, French country homes and Park Avenue apartments within a single space, weaving it all together into an effortlessly chic atmosphere. In one corner of the drawing-room, she placed a camel velvet sofa with midcentury lines under a marine-hued abstract painting by Donna Huanca and paired it with two 1960s Pierre Paulin Mushroom chairs reupholstered in black.
Meanwhile, on the rooftop terrace amid a garden designed by Fernando Martos, López-Quesada created an enchanting space furnished with pillowed sofas and wicker armchairs. One could easily imagine Gardner there, drinking sangria with Luis Miguel Dominguín, the dashing bullfighter who was her paramour, and entertaining friends with music until sunrise.