April 5, 2012

Lorenzo Castillo's Madrid Home

In the heart of Madrid, decorator Lorenzo Castillo infuses a duplex in a 17th-century former convent with a supremely elegant mix of pattern and patina.

EDC040112Castillo01-art.jpgIt's only fitting that Lorenzo Castillo happened upon the Madrid apartment building that would become his future home while en route to El Rastro, the city's famous flea market. "Madrid's old neighborhoods harbor hidden treasures," he says. "It's one of the things I love most about the city."
Castillo was immediately drawn to the building. "It's very madrileño," he says—in other words, it's quintessentially Madrid—"with a neoclassical stone façade that is noble in scale but remarkably simple." The portera, or doorwoman, told him the history of the building, which was constructed in the 17th century and was once a convent: Located on the border between the now-trendy neighborhoods of Lavapiés and Barrio de las Letras, it became one of the most prestigious addresses in the Spanish capital during the 18th and 19th centuries. A new façade added in the 1770s by Ventura Rodríguez, the architect of many iconic monuments in Madrid—including the sculptures of Neptune and Cybele on the Paseo del Prado—heightened the building's allure.
Two days after Castillo's first visit, a half-floor apartment on an upper story was his. That was 10 years ago, when he was building a reputation as a leading antiques dealer in Spain. Now he runs his own interior design business, with assistance from his partner, Alfonso Reyero. Castillo's projects range from a historic Andalusian country house to a London restaurant slated to open this summer. He recently renovated Madrid's Santo Mauro, giving the hotel a five-star upgrade.
As Castillo's business has grown, so have his domestic needs. Nearly four years ago he sold that first apartment, along with his collection of furniture and art, to purchase and renovate an 11,000-square-foot space downstairs, spread over two floors.










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