Home Tour: A Bali-Inspired House is a Surprising Find in This Stylish Vacation Home
“Ibiza inspires a sense of calm. It’s a place where visitors can focus on the important things in life,” says London-based architect Thomas Griem. Postcard-worthy beaches and world-famous nightclubs aside, the Spanish isle is also a tranquil oasis that entices flocks of world-weary holidaymakers to unwind and seek refuge from the hectic bustle of the city.
This sense of serenity was what Griem and his architectural and interior design practice TG Studio intended to capture when designing Can Bikini, a country estate nestled on the north of the island. The clients, who are property developers in the UK, intended to use the villa for family vacations as well as rent it privately to their close friends.
Enveloped by nature, the 2,700sqft main villa is surrounded by two hectares of lush gardens, and accompanied by two guest houses. “The brief was to bring calm and luxury to the finca (Spanish ranch), and (create) an easy flow that blurs the lines between the outdoors and the indoors,” says Griem.
With views this captivating, the designer naturally took a cue from the lush surroundings for the design concept of this holiday home. “When we were first flown out to Ibiza to look at this traditional ranch, we were inspired by its setting within the pine forest, with its far-reaching views of the sea and the setting sun,” recalls Griem. “But internally, it was a mess. It needed rational functioning, lots of love and a twinkle of luxury to make full use of its potential and let it be fully enjoyed throughout the changing seasons.”
In case you missed it: Home Tour: A Picture-Perfect Ibiza Villa with Striking Architecture and Plenty Of Charm
To channel a laid-back feeling befitting the island, the main house features a minimal colour palette that reflects its bright white facade, which is typical of Ibizan homes. A pared-down colour scheme throughout the three-bedroom property ensures that the “walls, ceilings and floors are rendered invisible so that the individual pieces of furniture, art and the landscape become the focus” of the abode.
“We wanted the house and interior to be calm and connected with nature, and introduced natural materials reflecting the location,” explains Griem. The team layered materials such as linen and jute with cotton rugs throughout the home, while wooden elements are paired with rugged textures; these include exposed metals that are left to oxidise naturally to create patinated finishes, as well as the local stone varieties selected for the facade and flooring.
“(One of my) favourite aspects is the use of locally sourced materials,” says the designer. “(These include the) orange-tinged rough stone warmed by the Mediterranean sun, the uneven undulating surfaces of the white render reflecting the sunlight, and the dark rusty metal of the entrance door.”
The villa’s idyllic charm is further highlighted by the open-plan living area, which features a large fireplace as its focal point. Here, a massive sofa further contributes to the symmetrical composition, while creating an inviting space that the family and their guests can gather around.
“It was important to give the living room a sense of belonging and identity; it needed to have its place against the surrounding landscape,” says Griem. “A room you want to be in when the scorching heat is too much to bear; a snuggly place when the cold draws you in, and you want to gather by the fire.”
The artworks that line the walls were brought in by the clients, who wanted to pepper the home with the art they had kept in storage in their London residence. The only exception is a black-and-white photo that hangs in the living room; the gleaming disco balls pay homage to the party capital.
To the side of this living area is a cosy nook that used to house a bread oven many years ago. Once employed as a storage space by the home’s previous owner, the designer saw its potential and decided to transform it into a reading nook; yellow windows and a playful array of accent cushions add visual interest to this space.
A dining area is located at the other end of this sprawling, open-plan zone; it’s furnished with a large wooden table and a pair of benches. The old kitchen was demolished to make way for a sleek replacement. Black granite countertops and a mirrored backsplash form a pleasing contrast with the white walls, while flame-red bar stools by the kitchen island create a stylish breakfast spot. Gaggenau appliances add a modern touch.
As with the rest of the abode, the bedrooms within the main house were designed to offer a sense of calm. “The bedroom is the refuge of every house, and particularly in a holiday house where the clients will have guests more often than in their main residence. Here, the bedrooms needed to be as calming as possible—the focus was peacefulness and rejuvenation,” says the designer.
The synergy between the outdoor and indoor spaces is amplified by extending the villa’s natural palette outdoors. Working with a local landscape designer and gardener, Griem sought to maximise the verdant views.
“Inspired by nature, the floor finishes are either smooth or rugged; cemented pebbles meet smooth local limestone and textured wooden flooring,” he says. “The furniture was made locally with rugged hardwood and linen upholstery. The outdoor areas are decked with textured materials and feature modern furniture.”
The secondary buildings in this estate allow the owners to host more guests; looking out to the lush foliage of the pine forest, the atmosphere in these rustic structures differs completely from the main residential building. One cottage, nicknamed the Bali house, is a hit with both the owners and the design team; it exudes a rustic charm with exposed wood, natural stone, and rattan furnishings.
“Our client inherited the cabin from the previous owners, who actually imported it from Bali and shipped it to Ibiza in a container,” Griem shares. “We loved the look but it missed (a sense of) warmth and luxury. So we used African-inspired wallcoverings, upholstery fabrics, artefacts, furnishings, cushions and throws to add comfort and character to this cabin.”
While the project wasn’t without its challenges, primarily wrought by the rain during the island’s winter season, Griem and his team managed to deftly complete the home’s transformation within a year. The clients, who formed a trusting relationship with the designer and only visited the villa after it was completed, were immensely happy with the final look as well.
“Our philosophy is that good design is a combination of function and style,” says Griem. “(In this home), we created a relaxed space for city dwellers to unwind and enjoy nature.”
- PhotographyPhilip Vile