Spanish style home decor

Spanish culture has influenced architecture and home design across South of Europe, Southeastern United States and, obviously South America.

Exposed wooden ceiling beams, stucco-like wall paint, dark wood features with iron elements, patios and colorful tiles are some of the most prominent characteristics of a Spanish-style interior design.

However, whether you’re living in Madrid, Barcelona or anywhere in the world, it’s quite easy to add a touch of Spain to your home décor.

Let’s analyze some of the main characteristics.

 

Fireplace

acute-mountain-1544277_1920

Fireplaces are both functional and decorative elements and this style often features them with decorative mantels and frames. Ornate patterns and lines are used to make the fireplace stand out and sometimes contrast with the rest of the room.

 

Catalan ceiling

sergi-pons-2

The Catalan vault, is a type of low arch made of plain bricks often used to make a structural floor surface. It is built by laying bricks lengthwise over a wood form or “centering”, making it a gentler curve than has generally been produced by other methods of construction.

Of Roman origin, it is a traditional form in Catalonia (where it is widely used), and has spread around the Mediterranean area and the world through the work of Catalan architects such as Antoni Gaudí and Josep Puig i Cadafalch.

Patio

patio-1192247_1920In Spanish-style homes, the patio is usually a covered space that traditionally serves to protect from the heat during the ‘siesta’ hours.

In particular, the Andalusian patio, typical of the Southern region of Andalucia, is a stone patio typically decorated with flowers and plants. It is an architectural fusion of the Roman and Andalusian world.

 

 

 

Colorful tiles

annie-spratt-477619

Spanish homes are often decorated with tiles that usually cover just the bottom half of the walls and there’s a clear line that separates the surfaces.

The tiles are very colorful, especially in the South, most frequently displaying earthy tones and shades of brown, red and blue sometimes combined and used to create strong contrasting effects.

 

 

 

Wooden window shutter

StockSnap_JBA0TU6048The so-called ‘persiana’ is made of wood and is usually painted in green or brown.

It helps to keep the heat away and to keep quiet during the traditional ‘siesta’, the after-lunch pause that lasts between 2 and 4 hours..

 

Which Spanish-style element would you choose for your home?

Advertisements

Materials and colors that can make your office a warmer place

Materials like wood and their importance 

Wood can last for 40 years or 60 years, it needs the right maintenance to conserve, the experts say that the wood can give a warm feeling in places like stores, offices and houses. It also brings a touch of sophistication and elegance, for being such a neutral material.

1602

The colors

Neutral colors can make your place look bigger, and if you combine them with cold colors then you can get the perfect amount of calm in your working place.

1603.jpg

This was the inspiration for the decoration and environment of our office in Barcelona.

 

 

2018 is a good year to invest overseas

Have you considered investing in overseas real estate?

Then 2018 might be a good year to do it.

Overseas real estate can be an exceptional addition to your investment portfolio for various reasons, such as diversity, stability, or simply increased returns.

Certainly, Barcelona is one of the top destinations in 2018, especially after the recent political tension is coming to an end as both sides are interested in peaceful solutions.

Location, access and connectivity, cultural diversity, foreign investments, tourism, climate, food and people’s friendliness are some of the key factors that make this city so attractive.

But let’s analyze some of the major points that you should consider when investing in overseas real estate.

 

Diversity

If you have all of your money invested in your country, it is inevitable that all of your investments will go down in case of a crisis.

It is therefore advisable, to distribute some of your savings into different “baskets”, and overseas real estate should be at the top of your list.

The strongest aspect of investing in overseas real estate is, indeed, the word overseas: by making an investment abroad you are protecting your money from any instabilities or mishaps that may happen in your country of residence.

This is the nature of any economic and business cycle around the world.

There is another great aspect of investing in overseas real estate. While stocks and bonds are still good ways to get good returns, they carry with them an inherent risk that a real estate investment doesn´t have.

There are for sure many valid reasons behind the common sentence “The value of real estate will never reach 0”.

Real estate is a great investment because it is an investment in a hard asset: hard assets are much more resistant to market fluctuations and they have an inalienable value that will never go away.

 

Good Returns

Finally, owning overseas real estate is a good move financially. The gains you make from an investment in stocks are basically limited to capital appreciation and dividends.

But think about the gains you can make with overseas real estate. You will certainly see capital appreciation, especially if you buy into a growing market, such as Nicaragua, or, in Europe, Spain and Portugal.

Surely you can make more money with your property overseas by renting it. A rental income on an overseas property is an excellent way to make extra money. And in some cases, the money you would earn in a rental income could be more than the money you would earn from dividends of an equivalent investment.

 

Stability

More than a financial expedient, overseas real estate investments provide a sort of personal stability: a place you can go to if ever the need should come up.

In many cases, purchasing real estate in a foreign country can be the first step to obtaining residency and passport. This is true in Spain, where more and more Chinese and Russians (among others) are buying properties in order to obtain their residency and a valid permit to live and work in the Schengen area.

 

Contact us for more info and a personal assessment!

 

 

 

Adapted from:

http://www.escapeartist.com/blog/why-your-next-investment-should-be-in-overseas-real-estate/

 

 

 

Festivities around the world: a relocation know-how

With a global-mindset increasingly important in contemporary society, it is appropriate to look at some of the major cultural, religious and national holidays that affect different parts of the world.

Nowadays, Christmas is probably the most commercialized and widely known celebration in most Christian cultures and many Western countries. Together with the New Year, which is actually based on a pagan celebration, most countries enjoy a ten-day period of celebration with their families or take this opportunity to travel.

But there are other major celebrations occurring around the world, religious and not.

Let’s look at some of them:

 

Golden Weeks (China & Japan)

China National Day is celebrated on 1 October, but many companies and government agencies stay close for the whole week to allow families to get together. Given the huge geographical size of the country, many people need to travel for several hours, or even days, to reach their families on the other side of China and some of the worst traffic jams in the world are to be seen on China’s roads during the Golden Week.

A second holiday week surrounds the Chines New Year festivities which coincides with the new moon between 21 Jan and 20 February.

Also, Japan enjoys a similar Golden Week in late April early May. The country celebrates a number of remarkable and important dates: Showa Day on 29 April (commemorating Emperor Showa Hirohito 1926-1988), Constitution Memorial Day on 3 May, Greenery Day on 4 May and Children’s Day on May 5.

 

Persian Nowruz ( Iran and central Asia)

Nowruz literally “new day” in Persian, is the name of the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by the Iranians and other ethno-linguistic groups, as the beginning of the New Year.

Although having  Zoroastrian origins, Nowruz has been celebrated by people from diverse ethno-linguistic communities for over 3,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, and the Balkans.

Scientifically, Nowruz is the day of the vernal equinox and marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the first day of the first month (Farvardin) in the Iranian calendar. It usually occurs on March 21 or the previous or following day, depending on where it is observed. The exact moment the sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated every year. Families gather together, usually at the eldest family’s member home to eat traditional food and observe the rituals.

 

Semana Santa (Spain & Hispanic countries)

The Semana Santa, Holy Week in Spanish, is celebrated the week before Easter in many Catholic and Spanish-speaking countries. Festivities are characterized by street parades and processions in the streets and usually, many businesses close down for the whole week.

The Spanish southern region of Andalucia is quite famous for its religious celebrations which are very accurate and almost lavish.

 

Dia de los Muertos (Mexico)

During the Dia de Los Muertos Mexicans honor loved ones that have passed. Homes are decorated with altars, flowers, and pictures of the deceased ones.  Prior to the Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Gradually, it was associated with October 31, November 1, and November 2 to coincide with the Christian celebration of Allhallowtide: All Saints All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day, most know as Halloween.

Traditions connected with this celebration include building private altars called ofrendas, preparing the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. 

 

Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. The Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam and it lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon.

During this period, all adult Muslims are expected to fast during daylight hours from dawn until sunset and refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids and smoking as an act of purification and cleaning the soul.

 

Five interior design ideas from around the world

If you are thinking about decorating your home or just giving it a new outlook, you can get inspiration from other cultures and how they use few distinctive elements in their home interior design.

Here is our top-5 inspiration source, which is, of course, just a start…there is much more to discover.

Japan

The classic Japanese home design is minimalist and essential, concepts which are believed to have a deep connection to ancient Zen philosophy.

Houseplants, large windows and a low table surrounded by pillows can inspire a feeling of tranquillity and connection to nature.

d415b471f5641b30e8ebe48ea1490edf

India

Indian interior design often displays a mixture of warm-colored fabrics to create a sense of welcome in the home.

Together with intricate patterns, a mix of warm colors, such as deep red, purple and mustard yellow, reminds of the colorful spices that are used to prepare food.

Moreover, the home design is never complete without an incense burner and the use of a selection of Hindu idols or elephant statues.

gorgeous-indian-interior-design-8-essential-elements-of-traditional-indian-interior-design

Italy

The typical design of an Italian home includes most probably a fireplace and a comfortable colorful couch in front of it.

This cozy setting easily allows people to feel at ease while talking after a long lunch.

Italian style is famous for its elegance and the high-quality furnishings, such as wood or paintings that remind of Renaissance design and architecture.

pexels-photo-276572

South Africa

Wooden tribal masks, animalistic designs, and colorful fabrics are common elements of South African interior design.

Minimalistic details, such as print rugs help to display not only the unique side of the nation’s indigenous culture but also emphasize the rich splendor of the African continent.

 

6858e04d0bf957031f0847121a670aaa--bohemian-interior-style-interior

China

With just a few objects placed in a room, such as Chinese calligraphy and a landscape or cherry-blossom painting, the indoor space strikes a fine balance by integrating nature into traditional designs.

One of the fundamental rules in Chinese interior design is simplicity, which helps to create a feeling of harmony and inner balance.

d2cd9a2652dbb88b82a6cf4a268318e9--ancient-art-japanese-calligraphy

Buy a home in Spain and pay in bitcoins

Buy a house in bitcoins, the most popular cryptocurrency and whose value has increased above 14,000 euros, it is possible as long as certain steps are followed and the purchase is recorded in euros. The question, for the moment, is whether it makes sense to get rid of an asset that has appreciated more than 1,000% and could still maintain its exponential path.

It is not yet a common currency in Spain, but idealistic ads are starting to appear in houses where part of the purchase can be done in bitcoins. The purchase through this payment instrument is totally legal, but must go through several intermediate steps, such as its translation into euros, and is subject by the Tax Agency to prevent money laundering.

The simplest process is to agree with the seller and set the exchange rate of bitcoins and euros. The exchange of bitcoins would be carried out before the public deed at the notary and in the deed would appear the price in euros agreed for the sale. The transaction is nothing more than an ordinary purchase, with only one previous step: the buyer has made the change from bitcoin to euros. The only exception is that the buyer who delivers bitcoins will have to pay for the capital gain that has been reported by the divestment in bitcoin and that, obviously, must prove the legitimate origin of the money.

The only one who would assume a certain risk when accepting bitcoins would be the seller, especially if the bitcoin, a clearly volatile value, depreciates from the moment of the transaction. If you obtain benefits you will have to pay taxes for the capital gain that has been reported to you.

The purchase with cryptocurrencies could be seen as a swap, the exchange of two goods, in which bitcoin would be no more than an instrument of value. However, as it is not reliable money issued by a central bank, notarial writing and management can not be done in bitcoin, but in euros. The notary can establish that the payment has been made in part or in full in bitcoin, although he should inform the Tax Agency if he suspects that bitcoins have illicit origin or not proven enough.

What differentiates a transaction with bitcoin from one to euros is that the receiver of the payment by cryptocurrencies will have to declare and pay taxes for the profits derived from the appreciation of the bitcoin when it diverts, something that in the case of a payment in euros does not happen , since it was not appreciated or devaluated in front of anything.

In cases of purchase with bitcoin, the cryptocurrency can be used basically as if it were cash, since it is totally anonymous. Among individuals, for example, there is no limit on the amount that can be contributed in cash, which could apply in the case of bitcoins. The Treasury, for its part, controls the illicit origin of cryptocurrencies and if they are used to launder capital, while working in a common framework that controls these payment instruments.

The sale of a house is taxed with the ITPAJD, if it is a used house, or with the VAT, if it is a new house. However, the tax base of these taxes is, in the first case, the real value of the property, and in the second, the total amount of the consideration. Even if the transaction is paid with euros or with bictoins, it does not affect the taxation of the sale on these two taxes.

Another thing is the alteration of the patrimony that becomes evident with the purchase of the house (before it had bitcoins and now a house).

What is clear is that until the bitcoin price stabilizes and investors begin to try to liquidate their holdings through brick investments, it will not be clear to what extent the status, taxation and framework can be clearly defined. legal that affects the bitcoin as a means of payment.

 

 

Adapted from:

https://www.idealista.com/news/inmobiliario/vivienda/2017/12/11/749215-comprar-casa-con-bitcoins-una-opcion-por-el-momento-poco-practica

 

Chinese interior design ideas

What do you associate with a Chinese home design?

Most probably is an image of calm and harmonious outlook with colorful details.

Using them in the right way and in right places is should be thought carefully to avoid an opposite effect.

Nevertheless, our recommendation is to follow your own vision and don’t be afraid to combine different elements. Surprisingly, some Chinese home design can easily be mixed with other styles and give a personal touch to your home.

Let’s see two of the main features.

Colours

The richness of colors is one of the main features of the Chinese design, and they are used especially in combination with wood.

Usually, red is prevailing, but also gold and black are quite dominant.

original-1-800

Minimalism

Simplicity in the combination of natural elements has always been appreciated in Chinese traditional design.

In fact, in the traditional culture, the presence of nature in everyday life has good effects on people’s mind and attitude.

In today’s busy life, often we feel that link with nature is missing.

Feng shui is the art of organizing spaces to increase positive energy or Chi in our environment. Originated in China, it literally means wind and water in Chinese and has had deep spiritual contents in classic philosophy and doctrines.

feng-shui-cures-bathroom-design-indoor-plants

Elements of animate and inanimate nature, like stones, wood and plants can have a beneficial influence in our home. Bamboo and bonsai trees suite the best in the concept of creating a spectacular effect.

 

 

What is your favorite Chinese-style decorating element?