WORDS & PRODUCTION Laurence Dougier PHOTOS Nicolas Mathéus
Opening to a wild landscape with the sea as its horizon, this Spanish home is about simplicity, peace and memorable times spent with family and friends.
Location, they say, is everything – and “they” would certainly give this one the thumbs-up. With the sea on the horizon, and framed by dry-stone walls softened by pines, olive trees and palms, this idyllic four-hectare estate is situated on Menorca – one of Spain’s Balearic Islands clustered in the Mediterranean.
Known for its sandy beaches, warm waters and megalithic stone monuments, as well as a population that loves a good music fest (including the International Organ Festival) and its unique wine-based gin, Menorca is certainly one of the ideal places on the planet to build a family getaway. This property, originally a farmhouse, was once owned by a family from Barcelona, who had the temerity to divide it into three separate flats. Thankfully, the beautiful home has now been remodelled and restored by its new owners, who proved to be far more sympathetic to its origins.
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Somewhat ironically, behind this return to glory is a Parisian family, who entrusted the job to the architects and interior designers at Atelier du Pont. The studio entirely redesigned the volumes, the flow and the fittings, and worked closely with decorator Agnès Comar to select furniture for the interiors. “Small rooms were lined up one after another – like the layout of an ocean liner,” recalls architect Anne-Cécile Comar of Atelier du Pont. “We redesigned everything, and broke it down to accommodate a joyful tribe.”
Entry into the home is via a large hall that extends upwards over two levels beneath an exposed roof structure. Off here are seven bedrooms that stretch between the garden level and the first floor, named after Snow White’s dwarfs, and each with its own en suite bathroom. The lounge is on the first floor, which allows for superb panoramic views over the sea and the olive groves. Below, the kitchen is a lively room, open on either side to welcoming spaces furnished with large tables for family meals, and to accommodate the many friends who stop by.
Atelier du Pont ensured that much of the home – although freed from the weight of shadows and wrapped in whiteness – retained some of the Menorcan architectural tradition of making the windows relatively small. It’s a common characteristic of Mediterranean houses built to withstand hot summers, with the small windows helping to keep the shadowed interiors cool. The only departure from this rule is in the kitchen, where big doors allow the sun to stream in, and open out onto the garden to both the east and the west.
Used as a holiday home by its Parisian owners, the home’s outdoor spaces enable summertime inside-outside living. From a dining area beneath an olive tree and the summer lounge under the pergola laden with bougainvillea, you can see the sea, and the dirt road that winds its way towards the crystal-clear water. More than just a perfect location, it’s a place to immerse yourself in relaxed bliss and serenity.