We are living in a world where borders are becoming invisible and people are becoming multinational. But even though we move around across different borders and are living amongst different cultures and religions, we are born into and raised by a certain culture that most of us can’t seem to shake off. We take it with us and try to integrate it and make it fit with the culture of the city in which we are ‘guests’.
And Barcelona is no exception. With every day that passes the city becomes more and more international, gathering people from all over the world, though still holding on to its Catalan roots: the culture, the traditions and the norms.
Surviving as an international company in a melting pot like this requires a constant ability to adapt. Being aware of every single client’s cultural background and respecting this by acting accordingly is crucial. But it is not only when you interact with the clients that you must be aware of the cultural differences.
Small kitchens and big bedrooms or open kitchens and small bedrooms?
Whether to greet your clients with a kiss on the cheek, with a hug or a handshake is not the first thing to worry about when interacting in a multicultural society. In order for us to get clients as an international real estate company mainly focusing on international clients we have to know what they want, what they are looking for, and what appeals to them – factors that most certainly change depending on the culture of the client.
At Casamona International we especially see how the wishes for interior design is influenced by culture. The way that we use our houses and apartments varies from culture to culture, making the criterions for bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens very different. It also makes the task of selling a Catalan apartment to a Scandinavian rather difficult, simply because what appeals to the two are very different.
Walking into a Catalan apartment you will most often see a small and closed kitchen in which the woman can to do the cooking by herself, a big master bedroom symbolising prestige, a single bathroom, and in general small rooms with no thought for the possibility of natural light entering.
Walking in to a Scandinavian or American apartment you will experience the opposite. Here you will find an open kitchen and dining area often with an open connection to the living room, for people to interact while cooking and eating. There will be small bedrooms making the opportunity for two bathrooms; one private and the other for a guest. In every room there will be as much natural light entering as possible.
We find that these differences in how to use one’s apartment are based on the obvious differences in culture. In the Scandinavian countries we like our homes to look nice and be cozy for when we invite friends and family over. There is also the fact that the weather isn’t as warm and sunny as in Spain, so we spend more of our time inside, making the interior design crucial in order to have a good living environment. In Spain people go out to meet friends and family, generally spending more time outside: a such the home environment is less important.
We make the changes necessary
At Casamona we love to break down these barriers of cultural differences in order to reach out and please our international clients. We have different ongoing and finished projects where we make the entire transformation of a Catalan apartment by remodelling it and making it into something that Scandinavian and American people would rent or buy.
One of our finished projects
We found an apartment with a perfect view over the sea on Passeig de Joan de Borbó which was for sale as an estate of a deceased person. It was in a terrible shape, the apartment smelled bad and the windows were old and leaky. It had a small kitchen, two large bedrooms, a living room and a single bathroom. But the location and the view were both perfect!
We bought the place and made a plan for a complete renovation. This included taking down all the walls and making new rooms that all would have a view and light entering. We made two small bedrooms and two smaller bathrooms making room for an open kitchen and living room. We put in new, bigger windows in the entire apartment which makes it seem a lot bigger than its 60m2.
The unique thing about this particular apartment is how we divided it into 3 parts that can be closed off or opened, the kitchen and living room being one part and the two bedrooms with a bathroom each being the two others. Today the apartment is worth 50% more than before we renovated it.
Pictures before the renovation
Pictures from when we started renovating the apartment