Island paradise This holiday villa is the perfect tranquil hideaway
A WHITE WASHED VILLA SURROUNDED BY LUSH GREENERY MAKES A TRANQUIL HIDEAWAY FOR SARAH, A BUSY FASHION COMPANY CEO
Story KERRYN FISCHER Photography ELSA YOUNG
When fashion CEO Sarah arrives at her holiday home, located on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, she swaps the hustle and bustle of her busy corporate life in London for beautiful birdsong, barbecues and enchanting bushland views. “In summer the sounds coming from the garden are incredible,” she says. “During the day you hear birds and cicadas – and at night, my favourites, the scuffle of resident porcupines.”
With more than 23 years in the fashion industry working for brands such as Prada, Donna Karan, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Dundas, Sarah is something of a fashion heavyweight. As her career flourished and her professional life became busier, her trips to Ibiza became more frequent and she realised that the island offered a necessary counterpoint to her very competitive life in London – so much so, she began to look for a home there.
“The need to escape through travel runs quite strongly in our family,” she says with a laugh. “I grew up in England, but our parents instilled a love of Africa in us from early on, thanks to regular holidays there.” When Sarah first travelled to Ibiza in the early 1990s to experience the island’s legendary music scene, she felt an unmistakeable sense of deja vu. “I found an earthy sensibility here in the light, the seasons, the colours and even the landscape that feels quite similar to parts of Africa,” she explains.
But two years of searching for a holiday home delivered nothing. Until 2015, when her estate agent finally showed her a house near the centre of the island that captured her imagination. “It was way bigger than what I was looking for,” says Sarah, of the 320 square metre house on a gargantuan plot. “It had an awkward layout with a tower at its centre and a disproportionately large garage and storage room that blocked out most of the views – but I knew straight away it was right for me.”
That Sarah could immediately see how to capitalise on the home’s generous spaces and lovely proportions is what sealed the deal. Her surprisingly simple solution was to turn the layout on its head, transforming the former garage into a summer living area, the former storage area into a new kitchen and one of the downstairs bedrooms into an all-important entrance hall. The home’s original minuscule kitchen was incorporated into the ensuite bathroom of a guest bedroom downstairs, while the tower has a more low-key approach now thanks to the lopping off of its turret.
Laid out on two levels, the house features two living areas on the ground floor: a winter lounge that leads to the pool area and a summer one next to the kitchen have answered Sarah’s need for different spaces for different moods and periods of time, both inside and out. “The renovation process was quite serendipitous in that, although I didn’t need an architect for what I wanted to do, I did have to have sign-off from one and I was incredibly fortunate to have the expertise of Victor Beltrán, whose work resonated completely with what I wanted to do,” explains Sarah. The same is true of her builder, Bernard Wybo, who was so efficient that the entire process took just six months to complete. “The original house was incredibly well-built with solid wooden doors and windows that I was able to reuse by stripping them back to their lovely raw state.”
Sarah’s approach for the beautiful interiors was to create a calm, neutral space with lots of earthy textures and tones. “I like a combination of upholstery, wood, bamboo and ceramics mixed up with African artefacts and indigenous textiles,” she says. “I love the feeling of finding something special.” Those boxes ticked, all that’s left for Sarah to do is to relax and enjoy the results with her family and visitors in a place that is indeed, truly special.
pieces “I FAR PREFER BUYING VINTAGE with character THAN SOMETHING BRAND NEW OUT OF THE BOX” ~ SARAH
“‘I’VE ALWAYS LOVED VINTAGE one CLOTHING special AND thing USUALLY WEAR WHEN I DRESS RATHER THAN AN ENTIRE CO-ORDINATED LOOK” ~ SARAH