Ibiza living: Amber Developments – Refurbishments that recreate history

International project management specialists Amber Development are known for results that are fast-tracked, completed on time and on budget. Often called upon to transform run down buildings or ancient fincas into modern dwellings that retain their authenticity, they fuse exotic, contemporary, traditional or urban style into their client’s projects, designed to fit any brief.

In the case of a recently completed villa, Amber Developments was delivered a brief that flipped many of their previous projects in reverse – to take an existing property and give it the appearance of being even older than it was. The clients had previously worked with director Gray Gillot on the completion of their 150-year old finca Can Bernat Tomas (read more about the project here) and upon completion of this first project, a second, newer finca on the land adjoining the original property was acquired. Their criteria was to refurbish and extend their second home in the same style as the first.

The major issue faced here was that the new finca was significantly younger, so to speak, than Can Bernat Tomas – by around 150 years in fact! This meant the appearance, structure and materials used were not in keeping with the desired aesthetic. And therein lay the challenge for Gillot and his team…

Armed with existing knowledge of the success of the first home renovation, Amber Developments set to work redesigning the core of the existing structure in order to enlarge the spaces and equip it with all the same mod cons as Can Bernat Tomas without the need to knock down the building and start from scratch – a factor that would have unnecessarily doubled the budget of the project. Two large teams were employed to work on the project – one internal, one external – to fast track the results in time for summer 2017.

The property was stripped from the inside out to create a blank canvas for Gray and his teams to work their magic. New stone floors were put in place and finished to the same standards as Can Bernat Tomas, traditional detailing such as ancient Sabina beams were added above doorways and in the ceilings to match the style of the neighbouring finca, while plastering was kept in a similar theme and elegant illumination followed suit.

As with Can Bernat Tomas, three very distinct areas were created for each of the owners – described as three English gentlemen with very different personalities – allowing their identities to shine in each deluxe bedroom and bathroom. A large living space with a snug area for watching television has been designed as a common area, while the kitchen is a purpose-built masterpiece equipped with all the highest spec appliances and fittings at the request of one of the owners, who just so happens to be a professional chef!

One of the most striking features of the property is the entrance hallway, complete with grand piano and contemporary lighting. Evoking the feeling of a stylish gallery space, the entrance has been designed for ‘wow factor’. The owners wanted to create a statement with this space – often one of the most disused spaces in a home – and have selected multiple works of art in a variety of styles and frames to perfectly offset the drama of the piano and fireplace.

Outside the finca, the entire pool area was redesigned, from re-tiling the swimming pool and installing new lighting to creating new terrace banquettes and the addition of an outdoor shower and separate toilet. The entire property was fitted with solar energy with lithium battery back-ups, meaning it is not only a stylish reformation but a sustainable one too.

With a rustic feeling of Ibicenco authenticity, there’s no chance the naked eye could detect the fact this finca is not centuries old like its neighbour. For Gillot, this result has been the most satisfying element of the project. After all, in a world where bigger is often considered better, slick and shiny is favoured over charming and traditional, being given the opportunity to not only respect, but to also recreate the island’s architectural heritage is a true honour.

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