What’s Old is New in Gracia

The neighbourhood in which I live in Barcelona is called Gracia which means grace in Spanish. I love the metaphor of it… living in grace, with grace, by grace, on the edge of grace.

In Gracia, we live in apartments, in quaint little boxes piled up on top of each other in six-storey high buildings that stretch on for blocks and blocks. Whether the apartment is rented by a foreigner or has been owned by a Catalan family for generations, one thing that most of the Gracia-apartment-people share is the inheritance of a few pieces of furniture that are simply not our style. In Gracia, it’s out with the old and in with the new as people cart out their unwanted antiques… outside their building, out to the curb, out to the closest garbage bin. Then, in a big-city waltz as old as the city itself, other apartment-dwellers swoop by and pluck up those previously loved items and transport them to a new home. It’s one of the most efficient recycling programs I’ve ever seen and we became the newest members when we acquired this old wooden table. Many Barceloneses, having sent their (incredibly beautiful) old stuff packing, then fill their apartments up with Ikea furniture.

In our little corner of Gracia, a number of antique stores have popped up. Their mission? Perhaps it is to fight the power of the great and mighty Ikea. This little store is on our walk home from the train station and, just yesterday, DP stopped to take a look at this fantastic old mirror.
“60 Euros!” he exclaimed.
“Take a closer look,” I said.
“Oh. I missed a zero. It’s 600 Euros.”

Needless to say, my little picture will have to do as decoration.

When it comes to furnishing your home, do you love the old, the new or an eclectic mixture of the two?


  1. Nomadic Matt,Gracia is at the end of Passeig de Gracia… away from Rambla de Catalunya. If you saw Gaudi's Casa Batlló or the Pedrera (also called Casa Milà) on Passeig de Gràcia, your were very close to this neighbourhood. It used to be its own town and it's far more Bohemian than the area between Gracia and Plaza Catalunya. It's a great neighbourhood in which to live… always something cool going on.

Leave a Reply