By Ailis Brennan published
‘We looked to the location of the property for inspiration, from the outstanding quality of light to the varied landscape of Ibiza,’ said Tara Bernerd of her recent collaboration with Spanish architect Jordi Carreño.
‘I adore the mix of textures, from the rugged hills that give way to the more cultivated elements of the island and eventually run on down to the silver sands of the beaches themselves.’
The British designer behind some of the world’s best homes worked with award-winning Carreño on the interiors for Can Cocotero, a villa on Ibiza’s Sabina Estates, an ecologically inspired private community of villas with a five-star clubhouse.
‘Our brief was fairly open in that we were to design a unique, six-bedroom family home,’ said Bernerd. ‘Whilst the villa should be luxurious, it should be a relaxed, contemporary luxury.’
Bernerd worked on the project throughout its three-year construction, and the end result is a stunning home that marries striking architecture with comfort.
‘We always try to consider how a space is going to be used throughout the day and into the evening. Both inside and outside the property we have kept the palette light and airy, with natural linens in pale tones, intermingled with striped fabrics and richer navy blue tones and mid-khaki-greens.’
From a sunken games room to an outdoor living room and even a private cinema, Bernerd gave us a tour of this island paradise.
‘We built on architect Jordi Carreno’s vision for the building, which on one side mimics the local stone buildings so typical of the island, whilst the garden side is a dramatic contemporary statement, looking like it is hovering slightly above the ground,’ said Bernerd. ‘We sought to meld these two very distinct characters together through the interior design.’
The front entrance is a clue to the marriage of tradition and modernity that unfolds throughout the rest of the house. While the front is clad with roughly cut Ibizan stone, it is beset with large, single pane square windows, and a feature front door designed in a contemporary style and made with richly pigmented Iroko wood.
At the heart of the house’s ground floor is a large open plan living area, where glass runs the length of one side of the room while local stone clads the opposite wall, and a central sunken staircase leads to the lower ground. This spectacular architectural feature is overlooked by a dining area equipped for up to 12 guests.
‘I have always enjoyed the mix of contemporary furniture with antiques,’ said Bernerd, in a nod to her dining room ideas. ‘Throughout the property we have been careful to select beautifully crafted, quirky pieces of furniture, from side tables in light oak, or blown glass, to mid-century lights. For the dining table we have chosen a Conran-designed oak Pendle table and paired this with Wishbone chairs, a beautiful classic design by Danish designer Hans J Wegner.’
On the other side of the dining table is the kitchen area, a small but neatly designed space with handleless, floor-to-ceiling cabinetry for maximum storage, built-in drinks fridge and a marble-topped island with seating for relaxed breakfasts.
‘The original plans saw the kitchen closed off from the main salon,’ explained Bernerd, of the project’s changing kitchen ideas. ‘However, by introducing smoked, cognac-coloured glass Crittall doors, it allowed us to open up the space for more day-to-day usage, whilst also being able to close it off for those occasions when you are entertaining and wish to separate the kitchen.’
Designed with texture and intimacy in mind, the living room creates a cozy corner amid the sprawling space. ‘‘The focal point in the room is the Bonaldo B-Peanut sofa, which exudes an air of relaxation, yet at once brings structure to the space,’ says Bernerd.
Completing the living room ideas is a custom hemp rug from Luke Irwin, a pair of Fly tables by &Tradition with oiled oak bases and Pietra de Fonseca stone tops, and a mid-century Stilnovo floor lamp.
‘Facing the sofa are a pair of Sergio Rodriguez armchairs in wood and leather,’ added Bernerd. ‘The finishing touches are artfully curated cushions in a variety of fabrics and textures.’
‘Leading down from the living room, we envisaged the lower ground floor to be an entertainment area for all the family,’ explained Bernerd. It certainly is that – head down the floating cantilevered staircase and you’ll find a versatile space that includes a wine room, pool table, a seating area with an L-shaped sofa, and a custom bar.
‘For the villa we have designed the bar in the entertainment room to be a focal point in the space,’ said Bernerd. ‘The lower part is finished in a light oak that has been fluted, and the top is a stunning piece of marble, which we have had finished with rounded edges to soften the design.’
The fun doesn’t stop in the games room – head behind one of the connecting doors and you’ll find the villa’s own private cinema. ‘It’s something we are designing more and more of,’ said Bernerd. ‘We worked with the overall pale palette and adapted it for a cinema space.’
Cozy stepped daybeds await moviegoers at this screening, with tufted upholstery in a denim blue fabric. Lighting is kept low and warm thanks to a mixture of wall sconces, hidden ceiling lighting and LEDs fitted into the wooden bookcase at the back of the room.
The connection between the outdoors and the indoors continues into the bedroom ideas – each of the six individual suites has its own private terrace (including the one that is home to the live-in housekeeper).
‘On the garden side of the house there is a master suite with a five-piece bathroom and walk-in wardrobe,’ said Bernerd. ‘The room faces onto the main garden, as well as having its own private terrace with outdoor hot tub, to the side of the villa.’
In the bathroom, the Crittal doors with brown glass appear again as fronts to walk-in shower spaces, while a wall-to-wall mirror above the floating double vanity reflects the garden beyond.
The guest bedrooms are just as elegantly designed as their master equivalent. In this one, the single pane square window is given a window seat with khaki green scatter cushions to match those on the white bed with upholstered headboard, the color tying in the greenery from beyond.
Each of the four guest bedrooms boasts its own four-piece shower suites. In this example, the cognac glass Crittall doors return again in Bernerd’s bathroom ideas, but are this time accompanied by crisp grey and white decor in the form of zigzag striped tiles and a freestanding white bath.
While the pool runs almost the entire length of the house, it is really only half the story when it comes to the multifunctional garden area.
‘As the villa is set in its own extensive gardens, we designed the outdoor entertainment spaces too,’ said Bernerd. ‘This includes the seating area set beneath a pergola – where we have hung basket-weave lampshades, so typical of the island – and the dining area with an outside pizza oven.’
‘This was envisaged as an outdoor living room ideal for entertaining on warm summer days, set in the garden overlooking the pool. We were keen to marry the design of the outdoor spaces with the design of the interior, to create a harmonious whole.’
Architecture / Jordi Carreño
Interior Design / Tara Bernerd
Residential Development / Sabina Estates
Photography / Ana Lui
I started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. I then spent three years at the Evening Standard on the GO London team, covering restaurants and bars, and getting to eat and drink a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful things around the city. I left the paper in 2020 and went freelance, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures. A little less than a year later, I started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing me to fully indulge my love of good interior design.
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