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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.

“When you have the chance to live somewhere else you should take it,” she says. The time finally came when Silke’s older son moved out of home to pursue his studies. “I knew my younger son would soon move away too and suddenly our house in Munich would appear very empty.” By 2016, Silke’s business with Forever Living – the largest manufacturers of Aloe Vera products – was transforming and her daughter was just coming up to school age. It was the perfect time to relocate.

Silke had experience in building from scratch with her home in Munich and had already spent a lot of time in Ibiza. With a clear idea of what she was after and knowledge of the various peculiarities in local construction and property law, she and the man on her side embarked on a search, never once thinking it would be so arduous. “We looked at 30 places,” she says of the experience. “I was ready to give up.” Yet, her meticulous eye for detail and an unwillingness to settle for second best paid off in the end.

“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.

Silke was able to see beyond the unfinished structure and a garden overgrown with neglect. “It opened up so wide, the sun was everywhere but there were also nice shady spots,” says Silke. “There were so many options. There were so many fruit trees and flowers – I just loved it.” With the land zoned as rustic it was a real find too; very few plots are granted building permissions. Silke knew she’d landed a gem.

Engaging the architect, Dieter Poehlmann, who she had previously worked with in Munich, Silke started to see what she could make of the structure. “We brought the architect over three times. He made the plans and we talked a lot,” says Silke of the process of building her dream. “Once everything was legalised, I found the builders and started work.” Construction took ten months, during which time Silke began conceiving her concept for the interiors.

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.

Art features heavily throughout the villa and is not just hanging from hooks on the walls. A friend, the artist Anja Bolata, created the kitchen bar in an industrial style and painted butterflies on the walls of Silke’s daughter’s room plus a feature wall in silver leaf. Another artist, Lion Fleischmann, has rendered a graffiti-style mural of the four family dogs alongside the pool. Within the garden, two enormous reclining Buddha watches over the greenery with a satisfied smile. Silke’s eclectic vision works to create a place destined for fun. For her, process was not a business – it was her passion.

Part of Silke’s plan was to make Aloe Valley a place where she could invite colleagues, friends and family. “I need people around me,” says Silke. “I love to invite people over and spend real time with them.” With her sons coming into adulthood, she also wanted to create a place for them to come with their friends. And for her daughter and younger friends, she has created a playground filled with games. “With kids, everything is much more fun, happy and rich. I like to have family around.”

“I love Ibiza,” Silke continues. “It has a special energy. It doesn’t matter what is going on in your life – somehow, here it’s always positive.” When she takes her dogs for a walk along the beach in the mornings and returns home to her treetop house she understands how important it was for her to stay true to her vision. “I am so very grateful to have this and to share it with my friends and family. It’s just amazing.”

WHITE IBIZA VILLA COLLECTION

This extraordinary private home is available to rent through White Ibiza villas. Find out more today.