Ibiza house & garden: Ibiza homes – Aloe Valley
Interiors and portrait photography by Gypsy Westwood
Munich native Silke Muennighoff made her first trip to Ibiza when she was just 17 years old. Her boyfriend at the time would borrow his father’s motor boat and they would cruise across from Barcelona, get a moped and scoot around the island soaking up the natural beauty spending their evenings on the dance floor at the legendary Ku Club, before returning to sleep on board the boat overnight. “It was so much fun,” she says of those carefree days. “Now it’s still fun… but different.”
Her connection to the island has never waned but as her life shifted focus, her experience of it has naturally changed. From 2000, Silke visited the island every year with her best friend and their brood of children. Eventually, her friend bought a house here. That was the beginning of a deeper relationship with the white island. But with young children and a burgeoning business, it would be a little while before Silke was in a position to finally make the move.
“We were ready to go back home,” Silke says. “The agent begged us to take a look at one last place. When my partner saw the photos, he thought it looked like a bunker and said no way.” The agent convinced us to look anyway and so they took a drive to the hills beyond Santa Eulalia. “When the gate opened into this valley we were, like ‘wow!’”, remembers Silke. “And there, in front of the house was an aloe vera plant in flower. I took it as a sign. I had goosebumps.”
She named the property Aloe Valley, because the core of her business revolves around that special plant, and inspired by the flower she saw on that very first day. That view as the gate opens is just as striking today, except where there was once just the concrete bones of an unfinished house is the beautiful villa Silke has lovingly created for herself and her family.
With a singular vision, Silke has created something rarely seen on an island whose interiors have a penchant for neutral colours. Aloe Valley has a playful ambience; a sense of lightness that proves design should never be taken too seriously. “With colour, you can always bring happiness and smile,” she says. It’s a refreshing outlook on interior design and turns the villa into a home bursting with joy.
The central living space has a classic Mah Jong sofa as its focus. Upholstered in bright Missoni prints, its puzzle-like shape can be reconstructed to suit the occasion. The sheer curtains, made by Ibiza-based interior designer, Bitgit Marte, in shades reminiscent of precious gemstones flutter in the breeze floating in from the wrap-around windows. The living room feels a little like a tree house, perched up high overlooking the gardens and pool towards the forested valley.
Mixed in with all the modern trappings of a contemporary Ibiza villa are pristine examples of mid-century furniture and quirky pieces of art. A brass, waving happy cat sits in a glass enclosure on a black plinth. “I saw it at Tim Raues’ two Michelin star restaurant in Berlin and I loved it,” says Silke. Balinese fishing traps, painted black, hang at various heights in a corner.