High on a hilltop in the north of the island, Aimee Hodgson finds the space and tranquillity that balances her busy day-to-day life as Creative Director for the Mambo Group in Ibiza. Immersed in nature and sound-tracked only by cicadas and birds (and the occasional bark of her dogs), her eco-friendly home is at once playful and nostalgic; a sense of childlike whimsy fills the rustic space – which is the very first open-plan style home to have been built in Ibiza more than four decades ago. For Aimee, it is home; a cocoon within a heavily wooded forest that indulges her deep desire to connect with nature. Aimee first visited the island at the tender age of just eight years old with her best friend’s family. Over the years that followed she would visit often and by the time she was in her mid-20s, her sister Danielle – who had married into the aforementioned family – had moved to the island permanently. The sisters had been inseparable since they were tiny and Aimee, who was working in fashion as a hair and make-up agent in London, felt the distance between them was too much. “I’d come out to Ibiza and see my sister living a great life on this beautiful, amazing island,” she recalls. “It just didn’t make sense to me that I was living in London when I could have more of a connection to nature.”
Although she’d always had visions of living in the countryside in France, it seemed Ibiza had cast its spell on Aimee and in 2012, she made the move herself after successfully interviewing in London for a role at Pikes. Creative director Dawn Hindle of Ibiza Rocks saw Aimee’s creative potential and brought her into the eclectic company fold. Here, as Aimee went from Dawn’s PA to Executive Assistant and finally Creative Producer, she found her niche in Ibiza. It wasn’t an easy transition on the home front – she had a string of disastrous experiences including two burglaries and a house fire – but Aimee was not deterred. Finding her current home was another serendipitous blessing; it brought her closer to her sister (who lives at the bottom of the same camino) in addition to her workplace. “I completely felt a connection with this house,” says Aimee. “The view, the peacefulness and the location. Even when we’re really busy with work, it’s so convenient because we can see each other on the way home for dinner without having to make the effort to meet somewhere!” After the robberies in her previous homes had left Aimee with next to nothing in terms of possessions, she began creating her new home from scratch. Nothing was bought or sourced with the idea to style a space specifically – it’s more about the unique piece itself.
“I think that’s why things are so higgledy piggledy” laughs Aimee, although in reality, each room looks like something that’s leapt off a Pinterest board. “I think more about the actual thing than the end result. I don’t particularly like hoarding things, but I buy a lot of things for nostalgic reasons – I’m quite a sentimental, repurposing kind of person. I buy things that have a story or remind me of something.” This is felt strongly in each room of the house, with each objet begging the questions: Where is it from? What does it mean? “It’s not too intentionally styled. Everything has been added over time or thrown on.” In the living room, soda streams are balanced on a top shelf because they had them growing up. The painting of the man and his chicken is a reminder of the chooks her mother would have in her kitchen. The lava lamp is a flashback to teenage years and ceramic cacti remind her of the ‘Taco Tuesdays’ she and her friends would regularly host – ironically on Fridays. The ‘30’ speed limit sign was a cheeky gift from a former boyfriend on her 30th birthday and the handpainted gourds a gift from the artist Mr Wim, who stays with Aimee when he visits the island, leaving his mark on various objects (including her bedside table) as a way of saying thanks. Smurfs piles into a glass dome from a Pikes buying trip at Kempton Market remind her of childhood. And the list goes on…
The house itself is one-of-a-kind, built by the bare hands of the owner – who is also an artist – in an interesting, organic circular shape. The mosaic above the bathtub is actually the blueprint of the house, which also happens to run on solar power. In the winter months, the house stays warm thanks to clever heated elements throughout the rooms that take the warmth from the fireplace and pump it through to radiators. “Even though it’s amazing when all the doors and windows are open and you get a breeze through in summer, it’s also a great during a storm,” says Aimee. “You get all cosy inside and you can see the lightning and feel like it’s right on top of you.” In winter, Aimee likes to invite friends to come and stay, create a roaring fire, cook and basically bunk in for the weekends, while in summer she’s more of a beach girl in her spare time. “In summer, I’ll swim every day after work and then when I’m at home it’s like a total disconnection,” she says. In the past year, Aimee moved from one family-business to another, taking the position as Creative Director of the Mambo Group – a job that has her constantly moving between the many businesses that fall under the group umbrella, including Casa Maca, Hostal La Torre, Las Mimosas, Cala Gracioneta Chiringuito and of course, the iconic Café Mambo.
In this new role, Aimee’s knack for creativity comes to the fore. Working on conceptual and branding standards across many projects, she works closely with the Mambo family behind the scenes to bring their visions for the company’s new and future projects to life. From consulting on décor to overseeing graphic design, Aimee knows the importance of paying attention to even the smallest of details in order to relate to the customer and brings this into all aspects of her work. Buying trips to Marrakech are on the cards for the winter months, which will no doubt see more additions make their way into her own home too – a happy occupational hazard. Despite opportunities to shop around the globe, Aimee is not materialistic by nature at all. Far from it – she believes the most valuable asset of her home is its location and her favourite thing about it is walking in the woods each day.
“I’ve realised that for my own happiness, I need to be close to nature,” she says. “I walk around barefoot here and quite often naked. I have outdoor showers and I love that connection with nature.” With her two dogs as constant companions by her side (one small, fluffy and snuggly and the other enormous, fierce and protective), Aimee has all the more reason to spend time outside in the forest behind the house. She’s quick to point out that she’s not a total hippy however: “I just think the most consistent thing in this world is nature,” she concludes. “Respecting that and understanding how you can use it – I think that’s really important.” From weekend DIY furniture projects with loud music blasting to catching snakes in her water tank, repainting the inside of her pool or watching the sunrise over Formentera, Aimee Hodgson is a woman with a strong sense of self, creativity and nostalgia, with a gorgeous, lovingly created home that truly reflects her unique personality and style. Photography by Gypsy Westwood Photography