A northern masterpiece

What do you get when a successful entrepreneur meets the bohemian north of Ibiza? Can Zama, a stunning modernist home with a boutique hotel feel

Entrepreneur Nicko Williamson first discovered Ibiza in 2008, seeking a break from London after a hectic year with his first business. He was seeking relaxation, stress relief and an escape from London – unlike other young businessmen his own age, clubs, parties and hedonism were the last thing on his mind.

“I’d always wanted to go to Ibiza and immediately fell in love with the relaxed vibe and beauty of the place. We just explored beaches and restaurants and I decided straight away I’d need to come up with an excuse to spend as much time as possible here.”

And thus the idea for Can Zama was born. “I came up with the idea of building a house which would be a mixture of fun and somewhere to go to relax plus a business,” explains Nicko. “The business side was that we always planned to rent out the house when we weren’t using it.”

After finding a beautiful piece of unspoilt land in the north of the island, it didn’t take much persuading for Nicko to convince his business partner Peter Thompson and his wife Karine to jump on board, who in turn enlisted renowned British architect Mark Guard and talented Portuguese interior designer Rosarinho Gabriel to work on the project.

“The whole process took about four years from when we first put a deposit down on the land to the point when we put the furniture in at the tail end of 2013 when I managed to throw my 30th birthday party there,” says Nicko of the project’s journey to completion.

“Mark picked up on the original way local farmers built their houses; in units,” explains Nicko of Can Zama’s traditional design. “They would start with one and add on room units as and when their finances permitted it and as the family grew. He applied those precepts albeit radicalised into modernity.”

With the modernist structure in place – a vision of all-white and floor-to-ceiling glass windows – the partners set about adding warmth to the six-bedroom house, softening its aesthetic through the use of reclaimed Spanish wooden doors, warm, wooden detailing and pops of colour throughout the décor thanks to the creative and quirky vision of Rosarinho Gabriel.

“She has a sharp sense of humour and though she likes to work in modern houses with simple unobstructed lines, she knows the importance of warmth. Her sense of colour is outstanding – she would mix things you would never think would match or work,” says Nicko of the results: a shimmering array of colour and warmth counteracting the purity of the architecture.

After the project was completed, and Nicko, his fiance Justine, Peter and Karine started to spend time in the villa, more personal details were added, turning the modern abode into a home away from home. “Sluiz gets raided – often. We have a lot of rugs and pieces from KsaR, and we have more art on the way. It’s still fairly new – so we’re going about decorating gradually.”

When Nicko and Justine are in residence, the house is full of life, with big lunches for groups of friends, and many guests coming to stay. Today, the couple are in the process of planning their October Ibiza wedding at Can Zama, and you couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting, with the striking lawn allowing up to 120 guests, stunning views out to the Mediterranean and its close proximity to the beautiful church of San Miguel.

Windows retract into the walls to open up all the living spaces, and plenty of terraces, shaded alfresco dining areas, a new barbecue area and of course, the gorgeous pool and deck area allowing as much time to be spent outdoors as possible. There’s even an outdoor chill out zone with a fireplace for those nights when you just don’t want to drag yourself indoors!

The gardens of Can Zama play homage to the Mediterranean landscape, with plenty of fruit trees, olive trees, a herb garden plus wild herbs like rosemary lining the property’s edge. “We didn’t want a manicured garden,” says Nicko. “We want to soften the big white house as much as we can.”


This extraordinary private house is one of the exclusive places to stay in White Ibiza´s villa collection. Find out more today.