WRITTEN BY Amber Wijnstok
The largest of the five small Balearic islands, Mallorca is known for its beach resorts, sheltered coves, limestone mountains and captivating stone-built villages. The air breathes wine, culture and history and so do the walls of these mediterranean character homes. Here we reveal what makes the Mallorcan architectural elements so bewitching, so you too can add coastal Spanish flair to your home renovation.
1 / EXTERIOR The beauty of Mallorca is a direct result of its architecture, which combines the legacy of traditional, current trends and eco-friendly building practices. The original stone architecture of Mallorca is very eco-friendly to begin with. It is common to find houses with a solid stone facade made of limestone from the nearby mountains or fields; whereas the coastal homes are usually built with sandstone, a traditional material extracted from nearby quarries. While limestone can certainly have a historical classic look, it can also fit in with modern designs and renovations giving the home personality. If you have access to natural materials like limestone or sandstone think of how you can repurpose it - perhaps into a garden wall, accent wall on the front of your house, or highlight a rock-face as a sculptural feature - either way the inclusion will add textural interest to your home.
2 / FLOORING Again the use of traditional building materials like big limestone blocks with rough flat textures, marble tiles and long strong wooden beams are used to create this effect on the island of Mallorca. If you want to add accents to your home, consider a limestone floor piece to divide rooms or incorporate small stone steps instead of wood for landings if you have levels inyour home. Putting limestone floors down will immediately lighten the space so you won’t feel the need for as much artificial lighting. The soft shades add elegance as well and reflect surrounding colours with limestone available in soft cream browns and grays. The contrast between the light limestone colors and darker flooring can have a powerful effect. Concrete floors can also achieve a similar result when used in combination with wood and stone dividers.
3 / LIVING The living elements of typical Mallorcan homes appear too luxury to be labeled rustic, yet the fittings and doors are positively 'Spanish countryside'. A custom stone bench with an in-built sink for the kitchen or guest bathroom ensures a Mallorcan style straight out of the travel books. Antique looking tapware in brassy tones would top off the thematic style. But try to keep it consistent throughout and find the right balance between modern and heritage. With an emphasis on entertaining and family-time, these Spanish spaces tend to be quite large and open plan, leading onto equally spacious terraces that overlook local vineyards. These balconies also allow you to embrace natural light as the Spanish do with large glass pane doors and windows, light reflective surfaces, pale walls and neutral decor palettes.
4 / ENTRANCEWAY Another detail that gives character to the Mallorcan house is the ‘batiport‘, a tiny walkway chamber that connects the front door from the outside with the actual door to enter internally into the house. This kind of ‘decompression’ room supposedly prevents the wind and cold or hot air coming into the home. Mirror this effect in your renovation with an entranceway where visitors can remove shoes and jackets and physically destress from the weather outside before entering your home.
5 / OUTDOOR Walled courtyards allow for privacy and make the most
of seasonal weather - sheltering from the wind, providing shade in the heat, allowing division for garden and veggie zones, and also creating a sun-trap in the colder months. If a sandstone or limestone walled courtyard is out of your budget, pull from the inspiration in other ways. Perhaps you could incorporate an entertainers fireplace instead. By building permanent seating up and out around a central point like a fireplace you can give your space life, guaranteeing year-round desire for guests to take up residence and enjoy the outdoors. While there may not be a vineyard for you to look out on from your soon-to-be outdoor space, there can always be a glass of wine.