It was an interesting conversation over dinner one night that inspired Circa Ibiza creators Grace and Michael Saunders to swap North London life for an Ibiza country escape in 2013. “I remember the feeling so well,” says Grace, who had been undergoing a major lifestyle change, embracing wellness and yoga after an inspirational trip to India. “I just wanted to come away and live in a simple way, take us all out of our comfort zones and embrace Spanish culture.”
With the support of Grace’s father – an original “expat bohemian” who had bought and renovated a classic farmhouse in the hills of San Juan in 1988 with his late wife – the couple’s dream move was made possible by an opportunity to rent the family-owned finca, and within a week the decision was made, the kids’ school had been informed and the wheels were in motion for an open return ticket to Ibiza.
The traditional finca – completely secluded and camouflaged into the rolling green hills – dates back over 300 years, and was discovered by Grace’s father Jeremy via a handwritten ‘for sale’ ad on the wall of a San Juan café, around 15 years ago. At the time, the cattle farmer who owned it was still living and working on the land, while the property was as rustic as they come. Over the years, it has been completely renovated, with respect to its authentic Ibicenco design (including a donkey pen that has been transformed into a cool casita) and the gardens have been lovingly replanted with the paradisiacal, lush flora and fauna you see today.
Having swapped big, soaring bedrooms in London for intimate, shared nooks, crannies and spaces, life in Ibiza has been a radical change for the duo and their children Bella, Gabriel and Raphael, however they wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s not always easy,” admits Michael, who compares life in the campo to living in a 1950s remote home at times – although internet was rapidly installed upon their arrival in August of 2013 to ensure they weren’t too out of the loop! “For every one minus, there are 10 pluses. We’ve upgraded it to work for us.”
“I feel like we’ve become our best selves here,” says the naturally bohemian Grace, who describes the family as “complete northern hillbillies” and can’t imagine ever wearing high heels again. “I think it’s really enhanced our relationship,” she continues. “It’s been the most incredible journey so far. Daily life is magic, and everything we do here is family led – nothing compromises that.”