A Minimal Home in the Mountains of Spain Is the Embodiment of Cottage Core

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Name: Sonia Sanz and Francesc Soria, daughters Gala, 4, and Uma, 7
Location: Rocafort de Bages — Barcelona, Spain
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

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Finding this house was definitely a life-changing decision for Sonia Sanz. She was working in her own home decor shop called TOC TOC, but when COVID hit, she wanted to start all over in a new project, so she decided to buy a little cottage to start a bed and breakfast. With a little effort “and help from destiny,” she says, Sanz found this little century-old house, only 20 minutes from her actual home.

Since she bought it, Sonia and her family have been trying to maintain its originality and identity. They have lived in the house as a family to figure it out and see what it needs in order to be comfortable before trying to rent it out.

“We love to come and live in the house in a simple and natural way, with no TV or microwave,” Sonia says. Their hobbies are to take care of the garden, read, walk through the forest and “definitely enjoy the small things in life.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Rustic, Mediterranean, and minimal.

Inspiration: Books (“Wabi Sabi Welcome” is my bible), magazines (Milk Decoration, Cereal, Kinfolk), social media (Instagram and Pinterest), and places where I travel.

Favorite Element: Without a doubt, the kitchen. It’s where we spend most of our time and enjoy every meal as a family. When it’s cold outside, we set the fire in the chimney and we use it to keep us warm.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was to create a comfortable house while keeping the original elements of it. We didn’t make structural changes, we just updated the electrical installation, repaired the climate control system, and did some painting. The patio was in bad condition, though, and is the part that mostly changed since we bought the house.

Proudest DIY: My bedroom cabinet. I found it in a flea market! I didn’t think it was the most beautiful cabinet I had ever seen, but it was really functional with a lot of storage. I painted it with chalk paint.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? There is a little sink down the corridor on the first floor. It doesn’t work and I really don’t know why the old owners had it there, but we decided to keep it because of its originality.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Most of the furniture is from flea markets. I have been searching for unique pieces to decorate the house. My favorite findings are the two tables that we use as desks in two of the rooms and the little wicker cabinet in the living room.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: The key to having a tidy house is to not have too many objects. This was one of my first thoughts before decorating this house. That’s way it never looks untidy, even with two kids. We don’t even have toys in here, the girls are always playing in the backyard with their friends.

Does your home reflect your home country/city in any way? Totally! It has that Mediterranean vibe. Though we are in the mountains, the sea is only one hour from here.

What are your favorite places to shop for home décor that can only be found in your country? I love Carolina Blue, where I bought the ceiling lamp of the living room. I also like La-A, the Empordà, The Eleven House, and Última Parada. In Manresa, where I live most of the time, I like G. General Store, an independent store, and of course, my old shop TOC TOC.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? It’s important to be yourself and don’t get carried away by fashion or trends. I love things that are timeless. It’s worth it to buy things that will last forever, and those unique elements will give originality to any home. Lastly, you can sleep in just a mattress on the floor while you figure out your ideal bed!

House Paint — Autentico Paint’s Velvet “Casablanca”

Thanks Sonia , Francesc, Gala & Uma!