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Bloom Studio’s Kit Maplethorpe and Sarah Elkabas on bringing Finca Mirabelle back to life by honouring its past as much as its present.

“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness,” Frank Gehry once said. He could have been taking about Finca Mirabelle. Set in pine forests outside Ibiza Town, the bucolic farmhouse strikes a balance between old realities and new ideas. Following a sensitive restoration by architecture and design practice Bloom Studio, it’s just as at home in the landscape now as it was a century ago.

For Bloom, the answer to enduring architectural appeal hinges on simplicity, functionality and a predilection for natural materials. Taking the lush surroundings as a starting point, organic forms have guided the revival, allowing the finca’s rustic charm to take centre stage. “There were so many existing features to work with,” reflects founder Kit Maplethorpe. “We picked those out and tried to breathe that into the whole house.”

“Essentially we kept the shell,” adds lead interior designer Sarah Elkabas. “It was very evident from the beginning we were never going to make this a modern house. We were always going to maintain that original Ibicencan finca feeling by keeping those quirky original features and, where possible, accentuating them.”

“The craftsmanship has to be perfect as it makes the existing features pop and feel at home once more.”

- Kit Maplethorpe, Founder of Bloom Studio

Embracing the “higgledy-piggledy” nature of the framework, they set out to bring practicality to the space. True to form, the studio adopted a holistic approach, with architecture and design given equal footing. “We’ve made it much more polished,” explains Kit. “We rendered the façade to emphasise the archetypal finca style, which is all very smooth, soft curved edges.”

This undulating aesthetic continues inside, from the curved banquet seating in the reception room to the niches that add character and tactility. Straight lines and angles have been rounded, while whitewashed walls and stone floors create a calming, understated feel. Any interventions have been sympathetic. The matte black finishes and iron doors, for example, contrast the neutral backdrops but are still in keeping with the original architecture.

Meanwhile, considered lighting has been used to accent heritage features. Integrated wall lights emphasise the thickness of the structure and a mixture of downlights and uplights illuminate a rollcall of spectacular wooden ceilings. “When we first came here, you could hardly see any of the features,” notes Kit.

“You want to maintain a balance of that rusticity but ensure it’s functional for the world we live in.”

- Sarah Elkabas, Lead Interior Designer

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And this is a house where the features deserve attention. In the bedrooms, hefty, knotted Sabina beams crisscross the space, adding definition and a cossetted, comforting feel. Elevating the inherited framework, two of the bedrooms have been reworked to incorporate indulgent in-room bathrooms, featuring freestanding stone bathtubs and basins that bring a quiet luxury. “It’s always a fine line with houses like this. You don’t want to go too far the other way and make it too rustic,” notes Sarah. “You want to maintain a balance of that rusticity but ensure it’s functional for the world we live in.”

Walk into any room at Finca Mirabelle and the inherent beauty of the materials shines through the wood and stone and uneven surfaces. “We really wanted to breathe a sense of natural, organic neutrality to it,” says Kit. Modern touches like the taps and the bathtubs have been made to feel like they belong, in no small part thanks to the local artisans who worked on the project, using resources from the island. “All the windows and internal doors were fabricated on Ibiza; the carpentry and ironwork were also carried out by local craftspeople. Everything sits in here looking like it’s been there the whole time.”

In the pursuit of timelessness, the layout was another important consideration. There’s an openness to the living spaces, that isn’t necessarily a guarantee in an old finca. The roof light in the living room and the sightline through the newly installed kitchen to the terrace create a seamless flow. Outside, terracotta tiles underfoot continue the lived-in, tactile quality that defines the interiors. “We often use the same materials inside and out, but we chopped and changed a bit here due to the environment,” says Sarah. “It works well because there are a lot of layers to the landscape.”

For Bloom Studio, it’s the small details that can make the biggest difference. “The rounds, the arches, the wood choices – they completed the puzzle and work really well,” muses Kit. The practice is no stranger to working with old fincas and has perfected the formula with each project. “Obviously they’re all different in terms of their unique features, but the recipe for putting everything together is the same. It’s all about warm textures and how the finishes intertwine. The craftsmanship has to be perfect as it makes the existing features pop and feel at home once more.”

“At Finca Mirabelle, the essence of the building remains,” adds Sarah. “We haven’t ripped it down and started again, we’ve just enhanced it and brought it back to life.”

Finca Mirabelle is available to buy exclusively through Domus Nova for €5,750,000.