Carnival of colour: fashion designer Isabela Capeto’s Rio apartment
Home & Gardening

Carnival of colour: fashion designer Isabela Capeto’s Rio apartment

I’ve always dreamed of living in front of this view. I think it’s such a luxury to have this postcard in my living room,” says Isabela Capeto of her flat overlooking one of Rio de Janeiro’s most iconic landmarks: the Sugarloaf Mountain.

A fashion designer, Isabela moved here eight years ago. She was completely mesmerised by the view and also fell in love with the original vintage style of the 1940s building, which has wooden parquet floors in two shades, as well as high ceilings and lots of light coming in through the large windows.

“When I found the apartment, I was enchanted by all the possibilities of the generous space. Nowadays, I am living here on my own, but I am always surrounded by friends, because I love to host,” she says.

Isabela, the owner of a handmade fashion brand, which is full of embroideries and exclusive patterns, has taken care of all the decor in the apartment herself, unceremoniously mixing colours and prints of fabrics from her own collections.

‘I have works of art that have been with me for a long time. I don’t get rid of anything, I always renovate’: designer Isabela Capeto. Photograph: André Nazareth/Inside Living

“I’m always researching trends and, when I travel, I end up filling my suitcase with cottons and linens, many from Marimekko, the Scandinavian brand, which I adore,” Isabela says. “A large part of this arsenal that I collect around the world ends up being incorporated into the look of the house.”

And every three years or so, she likes to completely change the decor of the apartment. “Renovating a home is a creative exercise. I’m not afraid to mix things up,” she says. “I think that working with fashion has given me a lot of confidence and makes this process easier and it feels completely natural.”

Isabela transformed the apartment into a meeting place for friends by widening the connection between the rooms, removing clutter and making circulation easier. Every weekend, she fills the vases with flowers and places plants from her aunt’s garden around her home.

The kitchen, one of her favourite areas, is filled with works of art. “I love the colourful mix of pots, bowls, fruit and flowers,” she says of the room.

Comic effect: the main bedroom with framed artworks on the wall. Photograph: André Nazareth/Inside Living

In the living room, the striped green and white fabric that lines the back wall is from Entreposto. The blue painting is by Dutch artist Gerben Mulder, while the sofa and Mole stool by Sergio Rodrigues have come from her own shop in Rio.

In the kitchen, she has hung lots of small paintings by unknown artists, which she bought on a trip to Mexico, while the old armchair and lamp were bought at a local thrift store. The ceiling figures were painted by the tattoo artist Bernardo Perpétuo.

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In the bedroom, the bed is dressed in fabric from one of Isabela’s collections. The bedside table is an old desk that has been repurposed. On the back wall is a panel by the Brazilian artist Monica Costa, as well as a painting by comic artist Tiago Carneiro da Cunha. The rug is Indian. The blue bathroom has cupboards with lattice doors, a reference to the 1940s, when the building was constructed. The curtains are made from old sheets and the rug is from Portugal.

Isabela is also an informal art collector, and has been buying paintings since she started working as a graphic designer.

“I have works of art that have been with me for a long time,” she says. “I don’t get rid of anything, I just renovate it. I still have some iconic furniture, like the sofas, table and chairs by Sergio Rodrigues, a famous modernist designer, who was the architect of my first store.

“I’m a great fan of decorating with soul and history. And this house completely reflects my life and trajectory,” she says.