Cover At the rear of the house, which faces the Mediterranean Sea, paths made from local Santany stone that has been ‘aged’ to obtain a pale, worn patina are a recurring detail.

Leonardo da Vinci, the artist who has embodied the very spirit of the Renaissance Era, is said to have uttered the words, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” While this may have been a rather revolutionary statement during da Vinci’s time—a period wherein ornamentation and embellishment were the norm—these words have become the ethos, the cornerstone philosophy for many contemporary designers and architects.

However, for many of us living in major urban centres in the 21st century, the act of simplifying one’s existence seems more like a utopian dream rather than a genuine possibility. This was probably why the owners of a recently renovated holiday home in Deià, a town on the west coast of Mallorca, decided to acquire this particular property—and also why they asked Deià-based design firm More Design to work on its rejuvenation with them.

According to More Design’s creative director Oro del Negro, their client—a designer who is the creative mind behind several hip fashion labels—and her partner, a famous musician, were instantly attracted by the extensive tract of land surrounding the house, as well as its magnificent exposure to the wild coastline.

“The site is well known as the old orchards of Son Bleda farm,” Del Negro says of the location. A key feature of the property was a summer cottage originally built in the ‘70s with a layout that was highly characteristic of the era: open plan with a very basic, practically rudimentary aesthetic. Unfortunately, this also meant that the architectural layout wasn’t just incredibly dated, but it was highly compartmentalised into small areas. It also turned out that building itself was showing signs of the wear and tear wrought by time.

Although the project was technically “a renovation, it [rapidly] became a full-blown new build, [albeit one] that respected the original footprint and volume” of the original house.

From the beginning, More Design felt that the most important aspect of the renovation would be keeping things simple. ‘“Discretion’ and ‘humility’ are words that come to mind,” the designer says. “[Both] the client and ourselves believe [that] bold gestures are often best exposed with an understated nature.”

Tatler Asia
Above The kitchen counter top and basin by artisan Juan Camposol are made from a dark grey cuarcita (quartzite) stone

As a result, the completed home includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms, as well as open-plan living, dining, and kitchen spaces. Neither the private nor the public areas are especially large—indeed, the house very definitely has the feel of a country cottage rather than a rambling holiday villa—but the use of multiple built-in furniture pieces and a restrained interior design scheme that prioritises natural textures and colours combine to make it seem cosy and contained while still being light-filled and laid-back. Wood, natural stone, wrought iron, and glass—complemented by locally sourced textiles and decor items such as vintage glassware and traditional woven-palm accessories—are used throughout the interior spaces. Every element has been carefully and sensitively selected, with the emphasis placed on subtle layering without any sense of clutter or confusion.

A sheltered, comfortably furnished veranda and a series of glass doors lead out onto the remarkably lush garden. The garden brief was to respect the mature trees in the wild forest on the lower part of the property, and to create a traditional Mallorcan patio with plenty of greenery close to the house. The planting was carefully designed by Katerina Christensson of the Garden Company.

According to Christensson, “Here, given the perfect situation surrounded by wind-protecting dry stone walls, we could plant a tropical, evergreen courtyard with typically cold-sensitive plants that might [ordinarily] be difficult to grow in Mallorca.” These include exotic banana trees (Musa ensete, or Ensete ventricosum) and the very fragrant red frangipani (Plumeria rubra) as well as a lime tree and a passionfruit vine. Rounding off the planting are some gorgeous ferns, with the Philodendron selloum’s poignant foliage combining with sago palms (Cycas revoluta) and slender lady palms (Rhapis humilis) to give the surrounding garden an exquisite tropical look.

An utterly tranquil atmosphere has been created both outdoors and inside the house. As Del Negro says, the most satisfying effect of how the finished project has turned out is the way “it appears rustic and simple yet preserves all the comforts life has to offer.” Whether its occupants are spending a relaxing afternoon reading on the veranda, clustered at the kitchen island preparing a meal together; or gathered around the interior fireplace to chat while enjoying a glass of wine on a cool autumn evening, the house enlarges and enriches these ‘everyday’ holiday pastimes.

This pared-back and holiday home is a perfect balance of simplicity and elegance.

This article was originally published in Philippine Tatler Homes Vol 23. To bring you all the latest interior trends and practical advice for styling your home, subscribe to Philippine Tatler Homes through here.

  • StylingTille del Negro
  • ProductionSven Alberding / Bureaux
  • PhotographyGreg Cox / Bureaux
  • Words(Additional) Marga Manlapig