This project was an exciting challenge for Justine Knox. It involved a full renovation of a small, second-floor apartment in the historical quarter of Palma, with all the logistical hurdles of restricted-access cobblestone streets and narrow staircases. Many of the projects in Justine’s portfolio are spacious new builds with practical and contemporary architectural designs and right angles. This flat was a completely different story, with an absence of 90º corners and trapezoidal shaped rooms. Moreover, COVID rendered impossible the holding of the usual face-to-face interviews so crucial for Justine to ascertain the style and aspiration of her clients; this had to be done virtually, through emails, zoom calls and mood boards. Nonetheless, the clients in the UK and Justine managed to forge a warm relationship and clear understanding of what was wanted. It helps that the client, a professional makeup artist, is a creative person, thus excited about the quirkiness of the property and its potential.

The brief was to transform this old and tired flat into a modern home, with a predominance of black and white. Seeking to avoid the clinical harshness of b/w décor, Justine chose eggshell and anthracite instead, for a softer feel.

The flooring was completely replaced, with some areas in black and white geometric patterned tiles and others with oak wood. Doors were replaced throughout: some in wood and others in black iron and glass and the windows were painted black to match. The use of black skirting boards, wall sockets and switches keeps everything uniform and contemporary.

The new kitchen, at one end of the open-plan living area, is made of oak, with white Silestone surfaces on countertops, splashbacks and framing to the floor the back units and island. The clever design provides a surprising amount of storage space in all the cabinets. The black household appliances and barstools match the contemporary black hanging lamps above the island, complementing the lighting under the cabinets and ceiling spots.

The lounge area opposite the kitchen is set off by the addition of a feature stone wall cleverly up lit to highlight the warm Mallorcan sandstone, a contemporary but comfy lime green sofa, a statement Missoni armchair and locally sourced artwork.  The French doors open out to a small inner courtyard, with tiled flooring, all weather wooden bench seating and table and chairs.

Along the corridor, with the same tiled flooring, are the bedrooms and bathrooms. The doors leading to the cloakroom-guest bathroom have been replaced with black bespoke wooden sliding doors on metal runners. These open up to a small but elegant space with black stuccoed walls, a small antique cupboard has been converted into basin storage with brushed bronze fixtures and fittings.

The guest bedroom is a bijoux b/w space, with under-bed storage and white walls. The master bedroom is larger, featuring a bespoke wood and iron wardrobe, shelving and sideboard, as well as under-bed storage. The master bathroom features black stuccoed walls, a black marble basin and tiles in the shower, a glass shower screen, floating oak counter and brushed bronze wall sconces, for a touch of sophistication and warmth.