Orfila Flat by
Schneider Colao


Surfaces of marble and hardwood spread through the rooms of this renovated apartment in Madrid by Spanish architects Schneider Colao (+ slideshow).

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

The residence is located on the third floor of a 19th century apartment block and the architects have removed some of the original walls to create larger bedrooms and a central living room.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

Unusually, a walk-through shower runs along the side of the living room, but can be screened behind a set of sliding doors.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

"The owners practice yoga and meditation," explains architect Jesus Colao. "They wanted to simply define wet and dry areas, rather than feel they were constantly entering a different space."

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

The shower walkway stretches between bathrooms on opposite sides of the apartment, including one that opens out to the main entrance.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

"Traditionally many Moorish homes, not limited to religious buildings, had a fountain for cleansing prior to entering a home or shop," said Colao, to explain the idea behind this arrangement.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

Marble floors and surfaces can be found in each of the wet areas, including a terrace at the rear of the apartment that features an outdoor sink.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

Dinesen hardwood covers the floors of the two bedrooms, while softwood beams create ribbed ceilings over the bathrooms.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

See more stories about apartment interiors, including one in Milan with a wireframe staircase.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

Photography is by Diego Dominguez.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

Here's some text from the architects:

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao Architects

Located on a quiet street in the Chamberi neighborhood of central Madrid, the Orfila flat is a gut renovation intervened within a historic 19th century apartment building. The original 200 sq. meter flat contained a winding maze of rooms which were gutted to design a structural framework allowing for an open plan which brings together various domestic programs including sleeping quarters, office, living space, open shower, kitchen and terrace.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

3D axonometric plan - click above for larger image and key 

The project materials are addressed simply using naturally treated Macael marble throughout the flat and Dinesen hardwood floors in the bedrooms. The massive nature of the marble surface offers a continuous artificial landscape that fuses washrooms and public spaces into one.

Vertical openings were enlarged through structural means as much as possible and a terrace was extended beyond the existing limits of the property to maximize natural light.

Orfila Flat by Schneider Colao

Plan - click above for larger image and key 

Project Team:
Schneider Colao (Architects)
Jesus Colao (Lead Design Architect)
Beatriz Pérez Pérez de Iriarte (Design Architect)
Julia Lillo García (Design Architect)

  • urbane.abuse

    The walk-through shower is simply fabulous.

  • I want to live here! Absolutely love the choice of marble and a walk-through shower next to the living room is a novel but also brilliant idea. Some great inspiration here.

  • Bri

    Absolutely stunning.

  • wolf

    Kitchen like Pawson’s private house.

  • Concerned Citizen

    So, the brilliance of this plan with no interior doors, is that the bathroom smells permeate the entire apartment, and the high humidity of the shower invades the living space, forming mould and mildew on all the upholstery, not to mention the water overflowing the shower and entering the living area.

    Also, the first whiff the guests have upon entering the apartment is directly from the adjacent bathroom with a large opening.

    I just don’t see how this could be considered a habitable space.

    • JCM

      Dear reader, Madrid has a year round humidity level of under 25% well under the recommended 50% for comfort, thus the added daily humidity produced by showers helps a bit in maintaining the interior environment more comfortable.

      All defined wet spaces in this house have concealed air tight doors which provide privacy in the toilet, shower and bathtub. Any time new ideas are tested in novel designs old ones must be accounted for as is the case here.

      It is fully functioning home full of both comfort and a few surprises.

      Nonetheless architecture is meant to be experienced life and not reviewed graphically. A pity you can’t spend a weekend there to truly judge for yourself. I think you might enjoy it.

      Best Regards,


  • urbane.abuse

    @ “I just don’t see how this could be considered a habitable space”.

    Well, for starters you mustn’t be a tight-lipped puritan.

  • 3DD

    I like the use of materials. White marble and timber work very well together. The picture of the terrace looks amazing. Great space to spend relax.

    I don’t really see the point of this open shower though. I would have preferred to have it somewhere next to the bathrooms, to have a bigger living room with unobstructed windows.

  • chybee

    The paleness of white marble makes it look like a morgue. In terms of relaxation it can be an alternative. Not the one you may call well deserved.

  • Really nice design and composition of spaces. Very good use of colors, materials and textures, white zen color.

    Very good job. Congratulations from Barcelona.

  • Simone

    What a beautiful cemetery to live in!