When the styling, construction and maintenance of Ibiza villas is your daily business, it’s only natural your own home becomes a calling card for your services. For Dutch couple Carmen Straatsma and Tom van Amerongen of Ibiza villa agency True Ibiza, this is indeed a reality, with every nook, cranny, corner, room and outdoor space within their Benimussa home a testament to their affinity for the business.
After a self-confessed ‘lifelong love addiction’ to Ibiza, the former magazine editor and marketing guru swapped their Amsterdam lives and abode for a more permanent place in the sun in 2009. Having previously completely refurbished their two-bedroom (plus two-bedroom guest-house) holiday villa – Can Palmeras, now one of the most popular holiday rentals on their books – into a modern bohemian paradise perfect for couples and friends, the arrival of their two children meant the search was on for a more family friendly home.
Conveniently they found it… just metres away from Can Palmeras!
“The new house was really just four walls when we bought it,” says Tom. “It was a shell, with no electricity or pool – nothing.” Like many properties in Ibiza, despite its need for a complete renovation, the house couldn’t be made any bigger due to legal restrictions, so the design had to be creative in order to make the most of the space.
With three bedrooms in the main house and a cool guest house built into the earth below the swimming pool, an expansive roof terrace, multi-level landscaped gardens and a beautiful outdoor entertaining area, today the modern villa has a feeling of laidback luxury that is also lived (and worked!) in.
“Originally, when we began decorating, I wanted everything to be all white, clean and modern,” says Carmen. “But when we actually started to live in it, I felt like it didn’t have my personality… My taste is more eclectic – I love ‘70s style and colour – so I started painting feature walls and adding more colour then it felt like somewhere I would live.”
Quirky décor and art sit alongside retro-inspired furnishings, exotic and oriental pieces and classic Ibicenco designs. Bali, Morocco, France, London and Amsterdam are on Carmen’s home inspiration hotlist when it comes to sourcing and collecting furniture and décor for her own home and also those of her clients, with a few trusted local secret places adding that special Ibiza twist.
Tropical gardens surrounding the villa pool give the property a distinct feeling of privacy, although Carmen and Tom admit this was not their original intention. “We wanted traditional Mediterranean gardens,” says Carmen, laughing. “But I’m from Holland – I really had to have palm trees around my pool!”