Story and Photography Michael Paul / Living Inside
Caroline Legrand, a Londonbased interior designer, and her two boys, aged 10 and 12
To create an airy, monochromatic effect, Legrand used vast slabs of blanco Ibiza, a local marble. The bright, light surfaces provided an ideal canvas for the designer’s sophisticated Seventies design.
Caroline Legrand says of her new home on the hip island of Ibiza: "The energy of the place is truly magical. Every day when I meditate at the heart of the land I feel deeply grateful that I am custodian of this little piece of paradise."
Set in a tranquil oasis of scented pines, swaying palms and perfumed orange blossom, Can Mimosa, named for its large mimosa trees, is a rare jewel on an island in the Mediterranean Sea better known for its nightlife, electronic music and indulgent lifestyle than for its tranquil refuge.
"I feel a deep connection with nature and the earth here," explains Legrand. "I love the trees full of birds, the sub-tropical flowers and cooking with the produce from my organic vegetable garden and orchard."
Belgian-born Legrand, a successful London-based interior designer, originally owned a home in St Tropez but had been coming to Ibiza for many years with her two children to visit friends and enjoy the social side that the third largest of the Balearic Islands, 80km from Valencia, offers.
"I rented for the first time for four weeks last year and realised that this was my favourite place in Europe," she says. So with a firm budget in mind she began house hunting in the Porroig and San Jose area, close to Ibiza town and within easy reach of the airport and the island's most beautiful beaches. "I was extremely lucky to see this house first and was just blown away by the land and the beauty of the gardens," she says. 'The first thing I did was touch the ground ... an instant connection. I saw another 10 houses or so in various locations, but this house had already stolen my heart."
Legrand's vision for her holiday home was clear from the outset. "I wanted to keep the interior cool in both senses of the word while keeping an easy connection with the outdoors. After all, it's a summer house so it had to be light and airy but avoiding that all-white, rustic Nordic look which is so popular on the island."
So Legrand did it her way, using a palette of uniform creams and off-whites with a touch of caramel, tobacco and stone here and there. It suited the monochromatic marble surfaces (blanco Ibiza, a local marble) which presented an ideal canvas for the sophisticated Seventies vintage vibe she envisaged. Natural materials and textures, as well as organic fabrics, were important additions, too. Shaggy rugs, organic wool curtains along with cork wallpaper in the cabana add warmth and a retro quirkiness.
"My interior design scheme really started when I arrived in Miami the week after I bought the house," Legrand says. "I saw a few pieces which formed the core of the interior and it built from there." Legrand took three days combing the design district and the vintage stores on N 125th Street, visiting every single store in Miami and Palm Beach until she had discovered the right furniture.
She also sourced items in London, mostly the Conran Shop for its simple designer items, and then went to Maison et Objet in Paris to buy the china and glassware, as well as lamps and chairs from Pols Potten in Amsterdam. Other items like a vintage German vase collection and chic sofa pillows came from Absolute Flowers & Home, owned by a friend.
The result is a carefully curated mix of beautiful vintage and designer pieces from legendary names such as Pierre Paulin, Milo Baughman, Harvey Probber, Claudio Salocchi, Tom Dixon and Roger Capron which she has combined with evocative artworks from Peter Beard, David Benjamin Sherry, Ryan McGinley, Christopher Wool, Adrian Stern and Claudio Conti - all very stylish and different for an Ibiza home.
With the interior of the house sorted, Legrand turned her attention to the outside. Her first project was to convert the unwanted garage into a comfortable guest cabana, adding a gym at the rear. "I incorporated large glass windows to create panoramic views of the garden so I could recreate a bit of a Palm Springs feel," she says.
The inspiration for the outside bedroom for her two boys, aged 10 and 12, came from a tear sheet she pulled from US Vogue. "It had a cool beach chair from Mollusk Surf Shop. I googled the site and suddenly had my vision … surf shack chic. Thanks to those surf dudes, in one hour I had my boys' room all designed. The excitement among them was surreal."
Legrand decided not to paint the inside of this room, choosing instead to keep the natural wood to add the vintage feel that would work with the retro pieces she had bought in Palm Beach. A classic, sculptural surfboard found in Cornwall adds drama while a large vintage Scrabble board from Restoration Hardware, a Christmas present, also ended up as a wall piece. "The boys adore this room. It's become their perfect hang-out with their friends. Maybe the supersize TV and Xbox has something to do with it, too."
As entertaining is an important part of Ibiza life, Legrand then focused on designing a garden chill-out area with a huge wooden dining table and outdoor kitchen-cum-barbecue along with a cool sunken seating area centred on a dramatic pine tree with the centrepiece a table made of Yosemite wood. "It was hard to think vintage for this area," she says, "but it had to go with the style of the whole house so simplicity was the key. Adding two vintage rattan Palm Beach chairs kind of pulled the story together."
Legrand's practiced eye has resulted in a practical yet elegant summer home that balances glamour and earthiness. Her aesthetic is based on a simple premise. "I want to live with things that give me joy every time I look at them," she says. "That's why everything is vintage ... mostly 1970s with a little Sixties here and there and a few Eighties pieces in the living room. I love the fact that all is recycled from other people and other countries." A deeply spiritual and eco-sensitive person, through renovating this home in Ibiza, Legrand has at last found where her heart belongs. "I have fallen in love with the land … being here makes me really happy."