Ibiza living: Walking on a Dream – A Studio C pop-up concept
In the early springtime, when the Ibiza landscape was ablaze with the vivid hue of wildflowers and the sun bade its farewells early in the day, Carmen Straatsma of interior design consultancy Studio C and her friend and collaborator, Michelle O’Brien, hatched a plan. Both connoisseurs of style with a natural affinity for interiors, they had fallen in love with a collection of handmade rugs on a trip to Morocco and decided to ship them back to the white isle for future projects and sales. This decision led to the creation of Walking on a Dream, a joint project that saw the pair convert a rustic finca near Benirràs into a vibrant pop-up showroom, where each carefully curated item on display was for sale, hand-picked by the duo.
“We didn’t know what it would become when we started out,” explains Carmen. “At first, we thought we’d just sell the rugs we’d bought in Morocco, but then we ended up with more and more and more. There’s also always unused and extra pieces, from past projects or vintage pieces that hadn’t found a place in future projects yet, in my storage that I thought we may as well sell, and then all of a sudden we were emptying the whole house to make a gallery and dotting little installations all around!”
This stash of unused treasures is unsurprising when you consider Carmen, a former magazine editor, has a natural knack for interiors and now calls it her profession. Having honed her skills styling villas in Ibiza over the past seven years, she branched out to launch Studio C, an enterprise that allows her to take on a small number of exclusive projects each year. And while she has undisputed talent for identifying pieces that make a room pop, having Michelle by her side has added a completely new element to her styling services. “It’s fun to work together,” she explains of the Walking on a Dream partnership. “We balance each other out. Michelle was great at delegating so the process ran smoothly – in just three days we converted the somewhat tired looking rental finca into a design dream.
On the day itself – which was such a success that Walking on a Dream was extended to run over three weekends instead of just one – the duo proved to be even more of a perfect match, as Michelle was the queen of hostessing and socialising with guests, while Carmen was more hands-on with sales and style advice. Word of mouth continued bringing more inquisitive (and retail therapy minded) visitors each week to the space in the island’s north – despite the fact there was very little advertising aside from an Instagram burst and e-invite to direct clients, it seemed good news travelled fast.
Clients were enticed by the huge collection of one-of-a-kind rugs – Berbers and Kilims in all shapes, sizes and patterns – plus a mish mash of patterned cushions and throws, intricately woven raffia pots, newly upholstered, vintage design classic Togo Sofas by Ligne Roset (a big hit on the day, inspiring Carmen and Michelle to source more), brass lanterns, pom pom blankets and the miniature installations that saw high-end design and vintage wares seamlessly collide.
“We created a living room, dining room, outside dining area and chill out, in addition to the rug gallery to really let people experience the Studio C signature style,” Carmen elaborates. “All of a sudden, we had done a whole project instead of just selling rugs.” The result was a series of new clients who could buy on the spot, opt to arrange private viewings in their own home, or have pieces delivered to any location in the world.
The next Walking on a Dream pop-up event in Ibiza is scheduled for October 2017, in an all-new location which calls on the pair to showcase their wares in completely different ways – a challenge Carmen says she is looking forward to. Their Moroccan-inspired style mixed with quintessential vintage charisma is destined to steal the limelight no matter what style of home it’s displayed within – and discussions are currently taking place for the pair to find a more permanent space in the future. Between now and then, should the desire to inject some Walking on a Dream style into your home strike, private viewings and sales are still an option, with Carmen’s airy new interior design studio in Santa Gertrudis (behind Wild Beets) open daily and welcoming walk-in clients.