Cover The pastel tones of the furnishings connect to the hues on the artwork by Max Cobalto from Alzueta Gallery

Designed by The Room Studio, luxuriant greenery and spirited Spanish culture inspired the renovation of this holiday home in Costa Brava

If you Googled “Cala Sa Tuna”, you would perhaps pause a little in envy at the images of beach-goers lounging by crystalline emerald waters, sun-bleached sand, rising green hills and moored boats. It is no wonder that this picturesque cove in the Begur municipality of Costa Brava in Spain is a popular holiday destination.

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“It is an area of marine origins, where preserved fishermen’s huts and boats have not lost their charm,” says Meritxell Ribé, who founded The Room Studio with Josep Puigdomènech in 2005. In this setting, a family from Kuwait with two teenage children found a charming house built between the ‘60s and ‘70s, and asked the Barcelona-based design firm to refurbish it.

“The goal was to create a Mediterranean house with a modern, minimalist interior,” says Puigdomènech. “The clients were looking to incorporate iconic modern and contemporary pieces throughout the home, which features rounded elements and windows inspired by old fishing boats.”

The team retained the curved building’s pristine white skin, only repainting it for freshness, while reworking the layout to suit the family’s lifestyle. The firm also used a single floor finish throughout the entire house, while the exterior flooring and facade elements that were timeworn were given new life. 

“The general lines are clean and continuous, avoiding irregularities and seeking purity,” says Ribé. Spirited colours and assorted textures create the desired Adriatic feel. Guided by the sinuous architecture, ambiences and styles flow from one room to another throughout the interior.

The ground floor features a row of three rooms including an entertainment zone. Curved walls create a holistic relationship between architecture and interior design, and craft compelling trajectories through rooms and bathrooms. Additionally, an outdoor platform creates an inviting space to take in the views.

The first storey’s plan is equally fluid. Structure, rather than furniture, subtly demarcates the living, dining and kitchen areas. An island counter is also an appropriately sized companion to the custom-made dining bench.

The study nook shares the entrance foyer—“nook” being an apt description given its position being tucked beneath a slanted glass ceiling. It evokes a cosy hideaway beneath the foliage that frames views from this idiosyncratic window.

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Large floor-to-ceiling openings along this entire level fill it with natural light in the day. “It has been designed in a diaphanous way so as not to lose the dialogue between the different areas, as well as the sights of the Sa Tuna cove,” says Puigdomènech. As the spaces follow the curved plan, the penetration of light varies, making it a “living house”, he adds.

A winning aspect of the interior design is the deft coordination of the home’s various shapes and colours. They combine into a vivid whole rather than clash with one another.

Many pieces echo the architecture’s form, adding softness to hard corners and gently navigating narrower areas where walls bend. For example, a Dipping Light table lamp from Marset and a wire-framed Platner armchair from Knoll set a cheerful entrance scene.

This colour play continues in the living room, with pieces such as the marble-topped Enoki side table from E15 and a crimson Circus pouf from Normann Copenhagen atop a CC-Tapis rug. The Colony rattan armchairs from Miniforms connect to the woven texture of the Wagasa pendant light from Gebrüder Thonet Vienna in the dining area, amplifying the vacation vibe.

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Vibrant paintings by artists Claudia Valsells and Max Cobalto adorn the entrance and living room walls respectively. “They are strategically placed to highlight the most colourful parts of the house. In addition, they combine perfectly with the other design elements,” Ribé shares.

Tactile wallpaper wraps the bedroom walls, uplifted by accent cushions and bedlinen in ochre, terracotta and blue—a colour palette inspired by the seaside locale. In the bathrooms are glazed ceramics from Costa Brava in shades of blue and grey; a mural in the master bathroom features fish that appear to swim along the rounded walls.

Another detail that takes its cue from the building’s curves is a new internal staircase. It leads upwards to a roof terrace, where an outdoor room filled with white fabric and timber outdoor furniture beneath a pergola made from a salvaged boat sail invites lounging. Walls of trees and an azure ceiling complete the commune with nature.

This story was first published in the February 2021 issue of Tatler Homes Singapore, available with our compliments on Magzter