Raised by two aesthetes in an historic 1899 house in Hartford, Connecticut, Audrey Rose Smith had an art-filled childhood. Her father was a preservation architect, and her mother ran an art gallery, so their home was constantly hosted by artists and their work. It’s only logical that Audrey later became a gallerist herself.
It also makes the sense that she swiftly falls in love with a fellow creative. Only eight months after meeting Ecuadorian photographer and designer Vicente Muñoz, the pair jointly purchased their prewar Clinton Hill apartment in Brooklyn. They married soon after, partnering in matrimony as well as real estate without looking back.
Eight years later, the couple has cultivated a tight-knit and like-minded community in the neighborhood. Turn-of-the-century buildings by architects like William Tubby, Montrose Morris, and Ebenezer L. Roberts pepper the streets where they frequently run into friends and colleagues. “It feels like an art world sitcom,” Audrey quips. “The farmers market is really exciting.” —Morgan Goldberg
“I think of a house as a complicated machine in which something new breaks down every day: a lamp, a faucet, a lock, an electric socket, the boiler, the refrigerator…. But when we can forget about the responsibility of continuous maintenance, we feel happy. Then the other side of the coin, opposed to the responsibilities of ownership, is sheer gratitude.”
That was the thinking of Álvaro Siza, the great Portuguese architect who, at the age of 89, continues to inspire a younger generation. In their space, design duo Eugenia Rolando and Federico Patacchiola of Paros Architettura—a couple in life as well as at work—start from these very words to create subtly inventive places.
A prime example of their work is Casa Costantino, a small but elegant Rome apartment. The building, a 1960s structure in the Ostiense district, is a stone’s throw from the famous Garbatella area. The 700-square-foot apartment is all modern, and thanks to Paros Architettura, it’s been transformed from an old family home full of memories into a light-flooded environment with a contemporary feel. —Ludovica Stefan
Stéphane Monnet and Jeroen Dijkstra either have good luck, good timing, or simply the good sense to know when something just feels right. When they were apartment hunting in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Stéphane was seeking out distinctly European surroundings—since he was moving from Toronto—and they found them in a one-bedroom property, downtown. “With all of its flourishes, huge windows, and open spaces, it was a perfect fit,” says Stéphane. “It was already snatched up, but that deal fell through at the last minute.”
Set inside a building from the 1880s, facing a busy street on one end and a verdant courtyard on the other, their home has been recently restored to reflect what existed way back when. Intricate crown molding sprawled across the ceilings while wainscoting lined the lower half of the walls, and that artistry was painted in shades of green to contrast the white in between. Windows stretched over their contrasting outdoor views, and plenty of light streamed in. The couple also had a private balcony to share, in case they ever wanted a closer look at the birds, whose pleasant song woke them in the morning. —Kelly Dawson