Returning this historic Spanish property to its raw state and introducing traditionally crafted fittings, has created an open-plan bathing space fit for modern sensibilities
Pared-back elegance for a modern bathing space in an historic Spanish property.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE HISTORY OF THIS BUILDING?
This stunning property, on the Spanish Costa Brava, started life as two 16th-century signal towers built to protect the nearby Castle of Calonge from pirate invasions. The main residence between the two towers was added in the 17th century and, within sight of the beach, it is now a weekend escape for my clients who have three children.
HOW DID YOU ALTER THE LAYOUT?
The building is of historic importance so we couldn’t touch the towers, but we removed internal walls and a second staircase to turn the first floor into an open-plan bedroom, bathroom and dressing space. The remaining staircase comes up into the main bedroom and is shielded from view by a panelled wall that creates a natural division between the basin area on one side and a shower and WC on the other. Inside one tower we’ve created a library, while the other hosts shoe storage, both with freestanding shelving. The children’s bedrooms and shower room are on the ground floor.
WHY DOES THE BATH TAKE CENTRE STAGE?
This is one of my personal obsessions; I hate baths that are set against a wall, enclosed or otherwise hidden. For me, the bath should always be put on display and Drummonds’ designs are works of art. As our clients love to
bathe, they didn’t need convincing. Positioning the sofa next to the bath provides a visual separation between it and the dressing area beyond, as well as a handy place to leave clothes or to sit and chat.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN SURFACES?
We exposed many of the stone walls, but there are elements of white-washed plaster, around the basin for instance, to provide a cleaner, more hygienic surface. This is also the only place where marble was used – it doesn’t work in most of the house but here it adds an elegant note. The flooring is antique oak, sourced from the UK. We chose it for its natural imperfections, but we had a terrible job trying to explain to the local workmen that the irregularities were desired and didn’t need repairing.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE RESULTS?
The design style for me is rough luxury. There is innate authenticity in restoring a building to its natural state. We removed decades of crumbling plaster and unfashionable tiles, took out the ceilings and reinstated beautiful old rafters. The sense of space is also luxurious. As a self-contained floor, with a sliding door at the top of the stairs, there was no need to consider privacy. It gave me the freedom to give the fixtures the space they deserved in a way that allowed them to shine.
A stand-alone wall of limed oak boards hides where the staircase comes up into the room.
Ana Engelhorn, director, Ana Engelhorn, 00 34 659 786451, anaengelhorn.com.
A double marble basin adds elegance and sophistication to the otherwise rustic setting.
Made by local carpenters, the wardrobe is painted an earthy Mediterraneaninspired green.