If ‘Mediterranean Minimalism’ Is a Thing, This Dream House in Spain Is It
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Name: Jan Dönhardt and Kathleen Boonen and kids
Location: L’Ametlla de Mar, Spain
Size: 915 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years
If you’ve ever dreamed of making olive oil from your own olive trees outside of a breathtakingly beautiful, rustic house in the Spanish countryside, boy, is this tour for you.
Jan and Kathleen have been together for more than 25 years, and first met in France. Jan is originally from Germany, and Kathleen is half Belgian and half Dutch, and after meeting in France, they moved to Madrid, and then later to Barcelona. They now have their own business, LILA AND TOM, an agency specializing in campaigns, look books, press kits, catalogs, and more. Through years, countries, and clients, they’ve honed an impeccable eye for style, as evidenced by this Mediterranean minimalist home in L’Ametlla de Mar.
The couple enjoys working together, and, seeking out new challenges, they found this house two-hours from Barcelona. They were searching for a retreat from their hectic lives in the city, and this property reminded Jan of when he lived in Ibiza with his parents.
Thankfully, though it’s a rustic house—there’s no television or internet here—the house’s systems weren’t rustic; the plumbing and electrical were in great condition. This allowed them to add their own personality with smaller aesthetic changes, such as painting and decor.
When it came to furnishing this house, the couple didn’t spend a fortune at all. They took some things from their home in Barcelona, but they also got to snatch up great finds when some friends sold a house in Ibiza and let Jan and Kathleen take what they wanted! The couple loves to restore old, found objects and use items in different ways than they were perhaps first intended. The result is a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind hodgepodge of upcycled goods lovingly displayed and expertly curated.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Style: Flea market style! We love to restore things and reuse them!
Inspiration: Life. What we do, what we see, from friends, experiences…
Favorite element: The hammock we have in the room as a bedside table. It was a gift from a friend to install in the garden, but Kathleen thought it could be preserved inside. So she decided to hang it from the ceiling next to the bed.
Biggest challenge: The little swimming pool. There was a big hole of more than two meters deep, and it was very dangerous for the kids. So, with the help of a friend who is an architect, we built the little wall with a bench on the inside, so now we can sit all together and have drink at sunset around the big hole, which is still there, full of water.
What friends say: They love coming and spending time with our family! Every year we do a big party for all of our friends and have an amazing time.
Biggest embarrassment: The kitchen. It is a little small and we did not make the changes we wanted to do.
Biggest indulgence: No biggest indulgence. All we have here is reused from other places!
Best advice: To live in a place before you make some changes. It is better to feel what the place needs or what you could need while living in it.
Dream Sources: WallaPop and Flea Markets.
LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM
- Benches pillows – Maisons du Monde
Thanks, Jan and Kathleen!