Ask designer, decorator and former Mango creative director Damián Sánchez about his favorite spot in his vibrant, contemporary holiday home, and the answer comes quickly. “Definitely the space where the oak table sits beneath the magnolia,’ he says, ‘although I do spend lots of time in my kitchen when I’m here, preparing my signature dish, los arroces [the rices].”
This is the sort of vacation home that’s the complete antithesis of the rustic shack: it’s elegant, exquisitely decorated and appointed, and every aspect of it has been as carefully thought through as the equivalent part of an urban residence. The result is that whether you want to celebrate a special birthday with a group of friends, spend half a day crafting something special in the kitchen, or indeed simply relax under that magnolia tree, this house will come to the party.
The stone-clad, three-story structure, which is situated just outside Soller on the idyllic island of Mallorca, needed a complete renovation when Damián bought it in 2009. “There had to be a total reorganization of space, as well as the renovation of the bathrooms and paving of some areas – plus a big update was made to the garden too,” he says. “My aim was to create a space that reflected its roots in the countryside in which it’s set, but also had the comfort of a more modern home.”
Arrive at the house today, and once you have navigated your way through the manicured grounds (filled with fruit trees that were once part of the extensive orchards that long existed on the property) the ground-floor entrance hall provides a warm welcome. Also on the ground level are the living room – which was reconfigured to lead directly out onto the beautifully laid out and furnished patio and pool areas – as well as the dining room, kitchen and pantry.
Trained as an industrial and interior designer, Damián has been working in this field for 25 years and his design experience is very much in evidence. The entrance hall and living room are spacious and elegant, and feature confident splashes of color – especially red – that add plenty of energy. Boldly embroidered and patterned scatter cushions – from one of Damián’s design ventures, the online decor store A Casa Bianca – are piled on the couches; the living-room hearth is accented by a stunning red artwork and a bright red sculpture; and gleaming chandeliers adorn the space too. The work of Mallorcan artisans also features here, with locally sourced objects ranging from a set of red ceramic pomegranates to a range of beautifully simple lead-crystal candleholders.
The state-of-the-art kitchen is somewhat quieter in terms of color, but a collection of handmade ceramic plates (discovered by Damián at the famous Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen flea market in Paris) adorns one wall, adding a vibrant and artisanal touch to an otherwise sleek, smart space. The plates are, he says, among his favorite items in the house. In the adjacent dining room, the bold pops of bright red return in the form of a set of classic metal Tolix chairs.
In Damián’s first-floor study, a classic Eames office chair (in a shade that’s pretty close to that of MAC’s iconic Ruby Woo lipstick) and artwork by Eduard Arbós add yet more pillar-box-crimson touches to the house. Like many fashion people, he clearly adores this bold and energizing hue. “My life has always been linked to the decoration of houses,” Damián says, “and this has been intertwined with my experience in the fashion world, which started with my work at Mango.”
The two guest bedrooms on the first floor, which both have en suite bathrooms, are furnished in a slightly more low-key style. Here, as in the main bedroom upstairs, effortless elegance is the key phrase. The top floor is a single, restful, open-plan room featuring the sleeping space, a dressing area and bathroom – complete with a luxurious tub from which views of the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains can be contemplated. Handmade linen and rugs, a rustic brass chandelier and chunky wooden furniture in the sleeping area are offset by sleek, ultra-contemporary fittings in the bathing space.
Initially attracted to Soller by “the tranquillity, the scenery, the friendliness of the people of the area, and especially the light,” Damián says that he comes here “anytime that I have a break in my work, and I always try to spend a few days here over Christmas, Easter and in summer.” Not that he has much spare time – Damián’s latest project, based in Barcelona and launched in August 2015 with business partner and fellow interior designer Alfons Tost, is called Alfons & Damián. It’s an interiors shop, art gallery and interior design studio that, he says, treats every project as “a new challenge” and specializes in giving clients “unique solutions.” But no matter how busy his various business ventures become, Damián’s house at Soller will doubtless remain a place to retreat for much-needed rest and relaxation – as well as an ongoing source of inspiration.
Photography by Greg Cox.
Production by Sven Alberding.
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