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Poised on a rocky promontory overlooking the sparkling blue sea sits this family home with panoramic views and stunning architecture that combine to highlight its spectacular location. 

The owners of this remarkable home on the island of Mallorca needed plenty of patience during their search for the perfect holiday property: it took three years of careful hunting to find the place they were looking for. At last they discovered the right house– built in the late 1950s by a renowned Mallorcan architect, Pere Garau, and situated on a rocky clifftop on the outskirts of Santa Ponsa in the Calvià district of the island.

The property’s location is nothing less than spectacular. Set on a peninsula-like site, it overlooks two separate bays, with views of the ocean on the horizon in one direction, and the small port town of Santa Ponsa in the other. This made it the perfect choice for the new owners, who have a large extended family and wanted a holiday epicentre at which everyone could gather from far-flung corners of the world and spend time together. While it is currently a secondary home, it’s envisaged that the house will progressively become a primary residence as the older members of the family retire.

Having been renovated by its previous owners sometime in the 1990s, the current owners inherited some unfortunate elements, including ugly aluminium windows that had been added to the façade, and a rather ‘cold’ interior that featured high-shine marble floors. The design-conscious owners determined right away on a substantial renovation, and called in Mallorca-based architecture and design practice Moredesign to work on the project.

Attracted by the practice’s minimalist and contemporary approach, which also features historic and location-appropriate rustic elements, the owners’ brief included a request to use the right raw materials to create simplicity and serenity in the space. Designer Manuel Villanueva says, “We wanted to create a place where people felt comfortable, where anyone would want to read a book, fall asleep, have an intimate conversation. And we wanted the house to fit gently into its surroundings while making the best use of both the morning and afternoon light.”

The renovation began in 2016 and included significant structural interventions to the pre-existing house. New staircases and passageways were added to connect the different areas of the home more organically, and it now features eight bedrooms, most of which are en suite, as well as substantial interior and outdoor living areas, a large kitchen, a separate laundry and a wine cellar.

Key to the overall success of the design is the way the house is orientated to the outdoor landscape that surrounds and envelops it. With its natural stone-clad façade and gently curving roof, the structure blends seamlessly into its rocky, cliffside site. The unsightly aluminium window frames have been replaced with a system in which the windows appear to have no frames at all. They are “almost voids”, says Villanueva, “which can be opened fully so that the house feels like part of the landscape.”

The design also reflects the influence of more naturalistic– and especially Brazilian – strains of mid-20th century architecture. “We are huge fans of [Brazilian architect] Lina BoBardi,” says Moredesign’s Oro del Negro, which comes through in “the use of stone cladding, the elongated roof overhangs, the massive openings, the open floor plan and the infusion of landscape [into the interior]”.

Overall, he adds, the design is all about “functional, pragmatic living”. This ‘blurring of borders’ between the interior and exterior, achieved via the huge windows and doors as well as by the fact that the floors of the immediate outdoor terraces are finished in the same way as those in the interior spaces, is precisely what the magic of coastal landscapes is all about, says Villanueva.

Also key to the success of this aspect of the architecture are the wide overhangs created by the home’s undulating roof structure. These generous eaves are “one of the greatest architecture elements in the Mediterranean”, says Villanueva, adding that these have been “forgotten” in recent times. “They protect from rain and especially from sun,” he says. “Being so far south means that the sun in summer is very direct, and these overhang permitted us to use the large glass windows without inundating the interior with sunlight that is too bright and hot.” Instead, there is a gentle, diffused softness to the natural light that floods the interiors.

The colour palette for the interior design is made up of soft beiges, bone white and warm greys. Microcement floors and pared-back soft furnishings, set off by contemporary artworks carefully chosen by the owners, create a minimalist yet welcoming interior. Natural textures and materials are employed throughout, including signature Moredesign elements such as untreated wood, hand-carved stone and locally manufactured encaustic tiles.

Cleverly balancing indoor and outdoor space, softness with sharp, clean lines, and the contemporary with the organic, this house epitomises all that is most special about coastal living. Its exceptional design fits perfectly with its breathtaking location, and the result is a home in which its owners can enjoy a great deal of sun-drenched, relaxed and restorative time.

Photography Greg Cox · Words Noreen Johnson · Styling Tille Del Negro

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