The homeowners sensitively overhauled the tired interiors of Finca Arcos to honour its architectural heritage.
There’s something irresistible about a house with a history. And you don’t have to venture far in Ibiza to find one. Traditional farmsteads are scattered across the countryside, their characteristic whitewashed exteriors standing in stark contrast to the landscape.
Though abundant, these fincas – in their original configuration at least – aren’t always conducive to modern living. Small rooms and even smaller windows put them at odds with the open-plan, light-filled living spaces that hold architectural sway today.
What these ancient dwellings lack in light and proportion, however, they make up for in character: knotted Sabina beams latticed across ceilings, cool stone floors underfoot, worn away over centuries.
It was Finca Arcos’ past that first captured the imagination of Georgina and her husband William. “I loved the courtyard with its ancient cobbles and the Bougainvillea that grows around the arches,” she recalls. “It’s a beautiful suntrap in any season.”
Structurally sound, the couple set about refreshing the finca’s dark interiors to let in more light. “Because it’s an old finca with so many beautiful details, we wanted to keep the design authentic and true to its roots by retaining as many original features as possible,” says Georgina.
A museum Finca Arcos is not, however. Its original charm has been successfully combined with all the comforts of a modern home, from high-spec appliances to rainfall showers. The finished result allows the quirks of its weathered bones to shine through. Old stone floors in the living room have been kept as well as the original Sabina ceilings, with newer finishes chosen to complement and accentuate the old. The smooth uniformity of the kitchen’s polished cement floors acts as a foil to the time-worn terracotta and the curved edges of the plaster shelving.
We wanted to keep the design authentic and true to its roots.
“We’ve accentuated what was there,” decides Georgina. “It can be quite difficult to configure these old fincas because the interlinking rooms mean you always have a door or a staircase to contend with, so we had to really work with the space.”
A fortunate discovery brought some clarity to the layout of the living room. After knocking out a fireplace, the couple found a beautiful old stone wall lurking underneath, which they exposed to create a snug. “Hopefully, we’ve managed to make the most of the space so it feels like an open, high-ceilinged room when you walk in, but then you’ve got an area off to the right with the TV, sofas and a fire that’s cosy all year round,” reflects Georgina.
With original features uncovered and a new kitchen and bathrooms installed, Georgina turned her attention to the interior finishes. “When we took everything out of the house at the start of the renovation, we had a completely blank canvas – everything was white walls. I wanted us to keep the style and feel of a traditional Ibicencan finca and be quite minimal, but still warm and reflective of its surroundings.”
Georgina’s chosen aesthetic favours the understated. Her vision of “white linen beds and headboards, rustic furniture, lots of wicker and natural materials like rattan, jute, wood and marble” was guided by simplicity – and achieved by mixing the new and the second-hand.
After nearly 18 years on the island and a previous house build project in Es Cubells under her belt, Georgina is no stranger to sourcing interior gems. It’s a task that also plays to her strengths as a former fashion magazine stylist in London and co-founder of a photographic and film production company in Ibiza. “I love interiors,” she enthuses. “I’ve worked on a lot of photoshoots as a set designer where I had to source props and furniture for campaigns, so I’ve built up contacts at furniture shops on the island.
Throughout the finca, pieces have been curated with characteristic flair. Stone and onyx basins, coffee tables and chairs found at Ksar Living are combined with textiles and objects from Es Cucons La Tienda and linen sofas and lampshades from Absoluthome. These discoveries sit alongside second-hand treasures unearthed at Ibiza Troc and the Sant Jordi flea market.
I love how peaceful it is here, how you can truly get away from it all.
This synergy between old and new is matched by the interplay between inside and out. Crittall-style glass has been added to the living space off the kitchen to dial up the brightness. “The old houses have really small windows, which is great in summer when you’re trying to keep the heat out, but that means there’s typically not a lot of light,” notes Georgina. “We wanted to make it more liveable.”
Outside, the terrace overlooking the pool has been rendered to improve the flow with the house and a pergola added to provide some shade from the sun, which floods the plot all day thanks to its south-facing position.
From here, as far as the eye can see, orange, lemon and apricot trees punctuate the sweeping Morna Valley setting – views that don’t get old, no matter the century. If you look carefully, you might even spy the wild peacock that makes an appearance among the branches from time to time.
It’s this relationship between living space and landscape that Georgina and William believe gives Finca Arcos its appeal. “The light at dusk – the way the sun sets over the countryside – is amazing,” she reflects. “I love how peaceful it is here, how you can truly get away from it all, and the interiors of the house reflect that.”
Finca Arcos is available to rent. Minimum 14-day booking period.
Photography: ©Ana Lui