Mallorcan Villa

WORDS Robyn Alexander PRODUCTION Tille Del Negro PHOTOS Greg Cox/Bureaux

A boldly conceived Spanish holiday home situated on the mountains close to the historic town of Valldemossa blends an urbanely contemporary sensibility with elemental ease.

On the one side lies a forest of Mallorcan holm oak trees. On the other, a sea view in which, on most days, the division between the Mediterranean and the sky becomes blurred into a single vista of blue. And in between is this arresting, almost sculptural, stone-clad house, which combines the relaxed simplicity of holidays with an elemental, otherworldly quality that is difficult to define, but extremely easy to admire.

Situated between Valldemossa and Deià on the scenic west coast of the island of Mallorca, this home may occupy a spectacular position, but the structure has not always been a match for its site. Originally built in the 19th century and extended during the 20th, by the 1990s it was burdened by ill-conceived renovations, and in a poor state when purchased by its present owners.

Architect Manuel Villanueva of Mallorca-based More Design was the lead designer on the renovation project that followed, taking on a home that was not merely unsightly but practically collapsing, and legally out of code.And because the island’s strict building codes mean a house cannot be completely demolished and a new structure built on the site, More Design had to come up with an architectural solution that incorporated the existing structure while conforming to regulations – and satisfying the clients’ brief.

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“The solution was to introduce a new structure within the existing building, then open up some spaces and demolish others,” says Manuel. The result is a home that is the same in terms of volume but an entirely different interior space. “It was also carefully reconnected to the surrounding landscape in a way that reduced its environmental impact,” he adds.

Mallorcan Villa
On one of the patios, a four-poster daybed made from reclaimed oak is the perfect spot from which to admire the view.

In terms of its design aesthetic, the new home was conceived as a dialogue between extremes: the mountain side, with its prevailing green, brown and orange tones, stone and oaks; and the other side, which is all about shades of blue and the breathtaking, unobstructed view of the Mediterranean. The site is very steep, so you enter the house on its top level – where the spectacular swimming pool area is also located – then walk down through it into the rest of the spaces, which also provide access to the lower sections of the landscaped garden.

Mallorcan Villa Designed by More Design
The interior of the spectacular infinity pool is laid with large-format, stone-finish ceramic tiles, with natural Santanyi stone from southeastern Mallorca used around the edges. More Decor – the interior-design arm of More Design’s business – created the pool loungers using reclaimed oak beams.

The house belongs to two families who regularly spend their holidays there, and features eight en suite bedrooms anchored by an almost gallery-like central living area. More Design conceived the house with two differentiated sleeping quarters – one for each family – with one situated across the top floors and the other on the lowest level. The middle portion, which features all the common areas, is shared, with the double-volume central space forming an especially lovely part of the home. Like many successful design elements, that double-volume space does double duty in terms of aesthetics and its structural function. Natural morning light, coming from the mountain side at the rear of the house, beams right through into the lower levels from the patio windows and openings on the top level.

Mallorcan Villa
In the lounge, the modular sofa, woven lampshades and rope chairs are all from the More Decor collection. The coffee table is a repurposed antique African bed, the ceramic vessels are by Mallorca-based ceramicist Dora Good, and the painting is by Spanish contemporary artist Guillem Nadal.

A key component of the home’s elemental appeal is its striking stone-clad façade, which the More Design team spent much time working on. The stone is laid with attention to varying the depth of the façade, so it already has “the visual appearance of the passage of time embedded in its skin,” says Manuel.

“This house,” he says, “is for a person who looks for a quiet location and enjoys spending time watching boats and time go by – but it also has a contemporary approach to art and architecture.” It’s also proof positive that a holiday home can be a sophisticated space that nevertheless enables its occupants to completely relax when they spend time there.

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