The Gorgeous Milan Apartment Shared by Two Design Stars
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The Gorgeous Milan Apartment Shared by Two Design Stars

Inside the 1920s apartment of architects Fanny Bauer Grung and David Lopez Quincoces.

By Laura May Todd | Photography by Federico Ciamei
Mon, Sep 6, 2021 12:13pmGrey Clock 6 min

The issue with running a design gallery, according to architect Fanny Bauer Grung, is eventually having to part with the furniture. “This chair has been the source of problems,” she says, pointing to a simple wooden seat with angular armrests and a woven back. A flea-market find, it now sits next to the white marble fireplace in the Milan apartment that Bauer Grung, 32, shares with fellow architect David Lopez Quincoces, 41, her partner in life and work. The chair used to be on display in the couple’s design space, Six Gallery, where it caught the eye of a client. It wasn’t for sale, though, and the client left the gallery nearly in tears. “It’s a piece that is so dear to me,” Bauer Grung says, “so it had to come home.”

Lopez Quincoces and Bauer Grung in their kitchen.

Bauer Grung and Lopez Quincoces, who together run the design firm Quincoces-Dragó & Partners, opened Six Gallery during Milan Design Week in 2018. The space, in a former monastery in the city’s Navigli district, soon got the attention of trend watchers and high-end collectors alike. While the private homes that the couple’s firm designs can be glimpsed only on the pages of shelter magazines, the gallery allows an up-close look at their approach, a mix of sophisticated Italian glamour and loose Scandinavian minimalism. The couple’s latest project, their own apartment, is the most refined expression of their style to date.

A Pietro Russo sconce is mounted next to a vintage mirror reflecting an artwork by Lopez Quincoces’s mother, Susanna Dragó.

With the windows open and neighbourhood chatter wafting in, Bauer Grung and Lopez Quincoces describe an ordinary evening at home. “I’ll be cooking—lately I’ve been making paella—and someone will be sitting on the counter drinking wine,” says Lopez Quincoces, referring to the canaletto walnut and black granite island they designed. He hadn’t cooked in almost 15 years because in other apartments the kitchens were too dark or separate from the dining areas. This place, on a quiet street in the city’s Chinatown, is different. The ceiling’s plaster mouldings are the only remnants of the walls the couple tore down to create a single roomy living area. “Now we have this space, it comes pretty naturally,” says Lopez Quincoces. “You want to cook and share; invite friends and have dinners.”

The living area features Tom Lovelace works over the fireplace, a Paolo Piva coffee table, a Gio Ponti side table, an Ingo Maurer wall lamp, a sculpture by David Murphy on a custom-made pedestal and a pair of Gio Ponti armchairs.

Depending on the company, conversations can be peppered with Spanish, English, Italian or French. Connecting the dots among every place Bauer Grung and Lopez Quincoces have lived, the lines would roughly intersect in their adopted city. Born in Paris to Norwegian parents, Bauer Grung was raised in Rome and educated in London. She arrived in Milan in 2012 to take a job at the design firm Lissoni & Partners, where she met Lopez Quincoces. Originally from Madrid, he studied interior architecture at the Politecnico di Milano, then joined Lissoni, where over 13 years he climbed from interior architect to partner.

“We can take a week to discuss whether an armrest should be white or ochre, but on the big picture things we have the same instinct.”— Fanny Bauer Grung

In 2008, while at Lissoni, Lopez Quincoces opened Quincoces-Dragó (the name combines his grandparents’ surnames). At first, it was just a nights-and-weekend project, but when Bauer Grung signed on, she soon took it full time, and Lopez Quincoces joined her in 2017. By now, the couple have designed countless projects together—homes from London to Rome, a private club in Tuscany and Dr. Smood cafes in New York and Miami. Their own home was the easiest. “We can take a week to discuss whether an armrest should be white or ochre, but on the big picture things we have the same instinct,” says Bauer Grung.

She says the gallery plays an important role in that process: “It’s like a laboratory for us.” A typical mise-en-scène will include vintage Scandinavian and Italian furniture, anonymous pieces picked up abroad, contemporary glass from up-and-coming artists and collections the couple have created together. (Lopez Quincoces also designs for brands like Living Divani, Salvatori and Acerbis.)

An antique Japanese screen hangs over their Piero Lissoni for Living Divani bed, flanked by Marcel Breuer lamps.
In the couple’s bedroom, two Joaquim Tenreiro chairs sit under artwork by Jan Groth.

“Fanny’s design sense represents the essence of Scandinavian aesthetic, with pure and clean lines and a sense of harmony and order,” says Marie-Rose Kahane, the designer behind Yali Glass and a co-founder of Venice’s Le Stanze del Vetro exhibition space, who shows her work at Six and often accompanies Bauer Grung on research trips to the glassmaking factories of Murano, Italy. “When [her design sense] meets up with Milan, and the Italian tradition of design, something extraordinary comes out.”

A vintage lamp is installed on the closet ceiling.

In the couple’s apartment, the glamour of 1930s Milan, particularly the Villa Necchi Campiglio and its architect, Piero Portaluppi, was a major influence. “We wanted to have old-school moments—in between the Orient Express train or, like, a big old elevator,” Lopez Quincoces says. The home’s previous owner was an elderly woman who was selling off her vast portfolio of apartments and donating the proceeds to the Catholic Church. She was happy to get rid of what she considered a fixer-upper: a rundown, century-old walk-up. What the couple saw, instead, was a jewel in the rough: an untouched 1920s apartment in all its original splendor.

Many of the home’s furnishings—a pair of Gio Ponti armchairs, lamps Marcel Breuer designed for the 1925 Paris expo, a centuries-old Mauritanian rug, a pair of Ingo Maurer Uchiwa appliqué lamps—found their way there through the gallery or were repurposed from their previous apartment. The curved metal Piero Lissoni dining table, for example, was stripped of its matte-green paint, revealing a reflective raw steel. “We took it to a craftsman to remove the paint, but when it was returned it was still too dark,” Bauer Grung recalls of the process. “David is a perfectionist, so he stripped the rest of it by hand.”

They reshuffled the apartment’s original cloisterlike layout, while keeping its turn-of-the-century details, like herringbone parquet floors and art deco–inspired doorframes. “We needed the space for our growing family,” says Lopez Quincoces, referring to the arrival of their daughter, Uma, in 2019.

A view to the study, with its David Rosen desk and Apparatus light fixture.

Where the hallway once ran, three vestibules—two closets and a central office space—now act as buffers between public and private zones. “There is no passage in the house that isn’t used for some purpose,” Bauer Grung says. Each vestibule is hewn from solid walnut and lacquered a glossy burnt umber. All along the office’s concave ceiling, fine strips of inlaid brass sketch geometric patterns in the grain—a complicated carpentry feat. The pair credit their studio’s decadelong relationships with artisans in the woodworking hub of Brianza for the expertise. “There is no machine that does that,” says Lopez Quincoces, describing how they rendered the softly rounded corners. “It was all made by hand.”

A custom-made Quincoces-Dragó mirror and sink in a bathroom.

“I wanted a house full of detail,” Lopez Quincoces says, “small things Uma will remember when she grows up. I have similar memories of my childhood. I wanted her to have the same.” One thing he didn’t anticipate, though, was how much time they would spend inside. “The last piece of wood was put in four days before the first lockdown,” he says, of the renovation. “I never expected our wardrobe would become Uma’s playground,” recalls Bauer Grung.

Now they are eager to return to the gallery to play out ideas that have been percolating in their time away. For next year’s Salone del Mobile, they will launch their latest furniture and objects. “We’re excited to show some collections that we haven’t shown before,” Bauer Grung says. “When we design for ourselves, it’s always the best result.”


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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How Much House Can I Afford?

Expert tips for prospective buyers looking to purchase a home in 2024.

By Josh Bozin
Fri, Apr 12, 2024 3 min

For aspiring homeowners, be it a first-time buyer, downsizer, or investor, picturing your idea of homeownership bliss is the easy part. But before deliberating on furniture choices or scouting for that perfect neighbourhood coffee, understanding your purchasing power stands out as the most important step in ensuring your success in homeownership.

And with the Australian property market gaining momentum in 2024, there’s never been a better time to come to grips with your financial options.

In 2023, amid the changing financial landscape that saw rising interest rates and the cost of living skyrocket, among other factors, the total amount borrowed for property purchases across Australia was estimated at $300.9 billion, a 12.7 percent decrease from the previous year, according to PEXA’s latest Mortgage Insights Report.

Each mainland state also experienced a decline in new lending, according to the report, with Victoria and New South Wales seeing the biggest drops to $84.1 billion and $109.5 billion, respectively.

While this trend reflects the repercussions of such financial hardships on the everyday Australian, John Morello, director and auctioneer at Jellis Craig, said we’re seeing renewed confidence in the property market during the first quarter of 2024, particularly in Melbourne.

“Auction clearance rates have started the year strongly and consumer sentiment is rising. This lift is driven by cooling inflation and an improved outlook on interest rates. At Jellis Craig, as with the rest of the market, we are experiencing an increase in volume of property compared to the same period in March last year (up 28% in 2024),” Mr Morello said.

“Melbourne’s property market, in particular, is showing its ongoing evolution and resilience.”

PEXA’s report revealed that, while borrowing saw a decrease in 2023 in Australia, Australians still invested $613.0 billion in property purchases in 2023. In 2024, purchasing confidence is only going up, as prospective first home buyers, seasoned downsizers, and savvy investors look to capitalise on a flood of new property hitting the market, coupled with the lowering of interest rates across the board.

“With more certainty in the economic outlook, along with an increase in volume of property available, we are seeing these factors translate to early signs of a boost in confidence in both buyers and sellers,” said Mr Morello.

“Further encouraging data shows that whilst there is more property available to purchase, more people are inspecting property, again indicating that demand has increased broadly across our marketplace.”

If you’re in the market for a new property, the biggest question you must ask yourself is how much house can I afford?

A great starting place is to speak with your mortgage broker or financial professional, who can guide you on your lending options. This is critical, as you need to know what your future repayment options might look like, and ultimately, what you will typically be able to afford.

A useful tool for judging whether you can afford a specific property is to factor in the 28/36 rule — a rough guide that suggests you should not spend more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income on housing, and no more than 36 percent on all debts. Another useful tool is the idea of a debt-to-income ratio (DTI); a formula whereby an individual can divide all of their monthly debt payments by gross monthly income to arrive at a number that one can measure as a way of managing monthly mortgage payments.

Mr Morello emphasised the need to understand affordability and what’s feasible for each individual when looking to make a purchase, no matter the budget, on a property in 2024.

“It’s pivotal to work out what you can afford. Get your finances in order. Consider all associated costs with buying, and research what concessions and grants are available,” said Mr Morello.

“It’s easy for individuals to begin the process today. Start actively searching potential properties on a weekly basis, and research areas you are interested in. Check weekly sales results, attend inspections and auctions, to get a feel for the process. Just remember, it’s important to be really comfortable in understanding your living expenses, and what the ongoing expenses will be once you have bought a property.

“For example, mortgage repayments, council rates, water, power, owners corp fees, insurances, maintenance costs; if you are buying as an investment, the Land Tax payable on that property which is an ongoing tax. There’s many factors to consider.”

To see what’s possible for your specific circumstances, visit our Finance Portal for specific tools, guides and tips—as well as our own mortgage calculator—to assist you on your property journey.


35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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