For Sale Homestory by Christina Libuda | 4th September, 2020 | Prime Properties
Tucked away in the green hills of San Miguel, north of the island’s capital Eivissa, this summer residence offers sustainable living and luxury comforts. With solar energy and drinking water from its own well. The panorama is out of this world.
Ibiza’s hilly northern coast is regarded as one of the most coveted treasures of the Balearic island, with its romantic pine forests and tranquil villages like San Miguel. Life here comes to a standstill around midday. Far removed from the bustle of the tourist hotspots, the hippy spirit of the 1960s is alive and well here. Restaurants serve ecological farm-to-table cuisine, headstands are perfected between pines and palms in hidden yoga retreats, and local folk convene on the beach on Sundays to enjoy the sunset. The luxury of the simple way of life.
Surrounded by idyllic nature, six kilometres from San Miguel and four kilometres from San Mateo, lies this modern eco-residence. Hidden away behind unassuming gates leading off a quiet country road, the house with its white façade nestles amazingly well amid the blossoming scenery of the hillside plot, which spans some three hectares. That’s equivalent to about four football pitches; native farmland where palm, olive and fig trees now grow. The nearest neighbours are far enough away that they’re neither seen nor heard.
The interiors and terraces of this eco-friendly summer residence, when combined, span almost 870 square metres. It was designed and built by the Ibizan architect Rolf Blakstad, in line with traditional Mediterranean architecture dating back to the 7th century. “To this day, there’s hardly a more efficient way to keep a house cool in summer and warm in the winter,” says Blakstad, whose company Blakstad Design Consultants is specialised in environmentally friendly construction. Locally produced bricks form the foundations behind the smooth, plastered white walls, while rustic wood sourced from the surrounding forests creates beautiful points of contrast in the form of ceilings and doors. The house is connected up to the island’s main grid, but most of the electricity is generated by solar energy. In winter, the generator helps out from time to time. Drinking water is supplied from the property’s on-site well, which is also used for the pool. Waste water is filtered and treated for the irrigation system. So, in a sense, this is a closed ecosystem.
The living room forms the heart of this home. The whole day plays out from here.
Vast panoramic windows and sliding doors have been incorporated into the cooling walls of the property, forming connections between the airy, cuboid interiors and the various outdoor terraces, and inviting the sunlight to come flooding in. One’s view cannot help but sweep to the outside, where ancient trees and newly planted palms enclose the estate in soft hues of green. “The idea was to connect the interior and exterior here in ways that blur the boundaries,” says the Dutch businessman and current owner, Emile Kuenen. He had the property built in 2017 as a second home for his family. The light-flooded living room with a glass roof forms the heart of this residence. It is the space connecting the living area with the pool and the shady patio, which spans some 50 square metres and has a 450-year-old olive tree at its centre. Life is played out here under its branches on hot summer days. Anyone who lives on Ibiza, says Kuenen, is unlikely to be actively on the lookout for sunshine. “The house was designed so that you can walk around while always staying in the shade.”
„There’s a good vibe here. The stresses of life fall away as you cross the threshold to this home.“ KUENEN
After taking a dip in the pool, he loves more than anything to simply throw himself into the plush sofa cushions and relax. Like everything in the house, these are very easy to clean. “We wanted to be able to walk into the bedroom with wet feet and not have a heart attack if the kids happen to be jumping around on the sofas or guests are dancing on the table,” says Kuenen with a smile. The casual, summer-infused interior design, which bears the signature of the South African designer Sumari Krige, is both practical and beautiful. Kuenen fell in love with her style while visiting Krige’s interior shop “La Grange” in Cape Town and promptly commissioned her to design his villa. Rustic accessories and robust fabrics adorned with African patterns lend an enthralling ethno look to the otherwise minimalist style of the house, extending down to the lower levels that comprise a home cinema and fitness room.
It’s not just the cushion covers that make you feel immediately at home here though. “When I first came to the island in 2011, I was just captivated by the ‘Ibiza magic’, as they say here,” says Kuenen. The play of oranges and reds in the sky is truly majestic, and can be enjoyed here lying in bed in the mornings from all seven bedrooms, as well as the pool house. Then there’s the magic of the silence that lies over the property like a protective veil. Kuenen is sure of one thing: “As well as being eco-friendly, this villa is also soul-friendly. The stresses of everyday life fall away the very moment you cross the threshold to this home.”