Filmmaker and photographer Anders Hallberg originally hails from southern Sweden, but has found his own way to connect to his roots in his Mallorca home.
Having grown up in a Swedish commune, Hallberg lived in New York’s SoHo for many years, photographing editorial features and ad campaigns starring the likes of Kate Moss, LeBron James and Dustin Hoffman, and directing award-winning commercials for brands ranging from Cartier to Lexus. Then, in search of a slower-paced life, Anders decided to move his family to the Balearic island on which his everyday life has, he says, “gone full circle.”
For the past three and a half years, a typical day in the Hallberg household has started with Hallberg waking up with the sun. “[I] usually feed the sheep and make sure they have water before our day starts,” he says. “Then I pick oranges, make juice and prepare breakfast, before driving the boys to school.” Life at Casa La Huerta – the home’s traditional name, which means the orchard house – is paced according to the seasons, and designed to accommodate both immediate family and visiting friends.
Of course, this enviable home was not conjured out of thin air. Creating Casa La Huerta required much time and effort, in addition to creativity and care. The original house was for sale “almost 13 years ago when I first started properly looking for a house in Mallorca, but it disappeared from the market almost right away,” recalls Hallberg. “I spent the next three years looking at many, many different properties around the island but couldn’t find a place that was as good as this [one]. And then, magically, [it] was re-listed, still untouched, and I managed to purchase it.” Perhaps magic did have a hand in it.
One of the big attractions of the house for Hallberg was the fact that it had not been renovated. Furthermore, he soon learned that “the whole property had been split in two about 100 years ago [and] after acquiring the first portion – the most complete part of the house – I also made an offer to the family that owned the other half.” Ownership of the latter had been passed down over generations and in the end, Hallberg had to get into contact with seven different people, “some [of whom] who had no idea that they owned part of a property in Mallorca,” he explains. It was obviously a lengthy process and while it was going on, he reveals that the family “spent most of our holidays here, getting to know the house and how we best enjoyed living in it.”
Once he became the owner of the whole property of Casa La Huerta, Hallberg knew he would “combine the two properties, turning it back to one big house, the way it was originally intended.” The project, he says, was a unique challenge, and having renovated homes in both New York and Sweden previously, “[I] knew not to play it safe but rather explore options that were unique and special.”
Which is why, when the time came to renovate, he contacted Mallorca-based architecture and design firm, Moredesign. The ability to “push the limits when we looked for solutions” to the challenges posed by the project was something Hallberg knew Moredesign was very experienced with, and he was certain from the start that their heritage expertise and sensitive, hyper-local approach to design would enable Moredesign to “make our dreams come true.”
The core of that dream – more prosaically expressed in the form of a design brief – was to “create something very welcoming and with a warm, cozy feeling,” says Hallberg. Oro Del Negro of Moredesign agrees. “The brief was to preserve the farmhouse features, explore inventive ways to enrich rustic yet comfortable living, and keep it raw and real,” he explains. Casa La Huerta had been a working farm in the past and is situated close to Santa Maria del Camí, a beautiful town in central Mallorca with a very rural feel that also plays host to the island’s largest open-air local food market, where everything from livestock to leather goods, organic produce, local cheeses and honey is on offer.
So, the aim was “to keep the soul of the house intact,” continues Hallberg, and this was done following “lengthy and very creative discussions about life in general on the island. It was obvious that we all cared very much for using traditional building techniques and sourcing as much material as we could locally.” Oro explains that Moredesign has spent decades developing a sense of what is “practical, ecological, long lasting, headache-free” in terms of Mallorcan buildings, and that at the start of a new project, this usually needs to be carefully explained to clients. Not this time, however: “This project was entirely the contrary of complicated,” he recalls. “It was an instant symbiosis of ideas and friendship, total trust.”
No wonder, then, that the finished house has such a dreamy yet lively feel, as well as a palpable atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Hallberg says it has long been his desire to be able to have lots of family and close friends to stay, and that now that this is indeed possible, “we keep hearing how well they sleep and how much they enjoy being here, which is the best to hear.” He adds that, with seven bedrooms, the house is frequently filled with visitors, and “there have been times when half a year or more has passed during which someone is always staying with us, which makes for a lot of social interaction and beautiful memories.”
Photography by Greg Cox.
For more like this home in Mallorca, be sure to check out Mercedes Lopez Coello’s rejuvenated home away from home.
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