Magic in Marbella

As many of you know, Friday is normally At the Movies  but because I delayed my post intended for yesterday to include the wonderful Valentine’s selections from Assouline, I will be presenting that today. If I can, I will post an At the Movies entry over the weekend, especially since Oscars are fast approaching.

We are ever so slowly getting infinitesimal hints of spring. Even though there are still feet of snow on the ground, the days are getting minutes longer and the light just a hair brighter. With these encouraging hints, I was inspired to show you a house I’ve always admired in the lovely city of Marbella on the Costa del Sol. This house, in the hills above the city within a cork plantation, has spectacular views overlooking Gibraltar, Africa and the Ronda Hills. Built from scratch, it was designed by Hugh Henry of the well known and respected British firm Mlinaric, Henry and Zervudachi. Because the cork trees were protected, the house had to be sited around them, creating an intimate relationship between inside and out. The house is shaped like a cross with terraces surrounding on all sides and as you will see, the decor echoes the symmetry of the architecture. Here is the center hall running through the middle of the house, lit by a cupola

The decoration of the house, executed over 10 years ago, is as elegant and chic now as it was when new – a testament to the power of timeless design. Take for example the dining room. The Louis chairs with their faux suede front and checked backs, look totally contemporary.

And of course the exquisite de Gournay wallpaper is still a favorite of many

Although all the rooms are painted white, several are designed specifically to complement each other. Take for example the lovely light drawing room. Doesn’t that chandelier remind you a bit of the one in the Doyle auction?

The airy color scheme is in direct contrast to the darker more masculine design of the library. I adore everything about this room with all its fabulous tailored details – the gold inline on the dark bookcases, the busts, the amazing gigantic print. And that Claremont check is a fantastic graphic pop of color against the otherwise neutral coloration. You wouldn’t be surprised to see this room in a magazine now – great design stands the test of time!

The guest and master bedrooms are also studies in contrast. The guest bedroom is light and feminine with ornate references seen in the silver leaf bed and silk hangings.

The master is more austere with dark accents – the steel bed with simple cotton hangings, the painted bombé side tables and black framed prints. And did you see Joni’s post at Cote de Texas yesterday about the campaign beds? This would have fit right in.

The checks of the guest room are echoed in the charming bath

While the master is cool, elegant and sophisticated

There is a simple serving pantry with ample storage that accesses both the dining room

and the spectacular terraces that surround the house

All photographs by Simon Upton

Can’t you imagine lounging out here enjoying a glass of wine with some tapas? Hopefully soon we won’t have to travel to Marbella to do that!

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47 Responses to Magic in Marbella

  1. Jennifer says:

    The de Gournay & terrace stopped me in my tracks. So stunning. What a gorgeous home!

  2. The seasons are turning, the crocus ( I call them the amuse bouche of spring) are starting to bloom in my lawn. I LOVED the wallpaper.

  3. So so gorgeous! I could just live in any one of those rooms! :)


  4. What a beautiful home… I actually had to look through twice, just be sure I didn’t miss a thing! I really enjoy the care that has been taken in putting each space together—I would love to be transported to that blue bedroom—how heavenly it is… on the other hand, the library looks terribly inviting as well. Thank you for sharing this wonderful place with us…

    I hope you are having a great evening,

  5. Greet says:

    This is a very beautiful house! A few years ago there was an article in, I might think, The World of Interiors, and I scanned all the pictures of it because I just loovveed this house! So thank you for reminding me about the house!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Dash says:

    Gorgeous! reminds me of the many summers I spent in Marbella as a child, I don’t want to sound like a smart ass but Marbella is not an island it is on the Costa del sol, which is on the southern coast of mainland Spain.
    Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

  7. Kathleen says:

    I love to take my time, and look at the wonderful details of this home. Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I love the timeless touches! It’s interestingly grandiose and simple at the same time – perfect combination!

  9. I could not agree more with you about great design stands the test of time. Still impressed about how many actual “trendy” Decó guidelines are just aggiornamentos of designs created a decade ago or more, watching this house interiors. Would you think that there’s a kind of repeated pattern, that every 20 years or so there’s a “refreshed” revival of the past trends? Thanks for this post, it was a pleasure reading it! Have a lovely weekend my dear. Xo

  10. pve says:

    I think I need to go to Marbella….today! What a grown-up home!
    Lovely shades of cool for all that heat.

  11. Jane Schott says:

    What a terrific place. Each room is filled with designs that I have always wanted to do. Like the two banquettes on either side of the fireplace. I have always thought that was so smart.

  12. Simply stunning and a far cry from the house we stayed in when we visited Marbella in our twenties! I wouldn’t leave the property – even to swim at the beach… Happy weekend, Q!

  13. What a stunning property! Happy weekend!

  14. absolutely gorgeous! just came back from 2 day-trip in London ans saw your lovely comments. Thank you! Happy weekend!

  15. absolutely gorgeous! just came back from 2 day-trip in London and saw your lovely comments. Thank you! Happy weekend!

  16. The Zhush says:

    This place looks heavenly…and yes, spring really can’t come soon enough!

  17. What an escape…
    Loved every moment
    of this warm and
    inspiring post!
    Happy weekend,
    xx Suzanne

  18. I love this house. Nothing more to say–it’s gorgeous. Stay warm, yes–Spring is on the way.

  19. Kathy says:

    A dream home for me….the study/den with the bookshelves and beautiful desk is my favorite…. Thank you for sharing this k

  20. I have never been to Marbella-its definitely on my list and has moved up a few notches after viewing your post! Gorgeous images-have a lovely weekend, Barbara

  21. q-
    These room with their neutral and muted colors are stunning. The dining tables are set so beautifully. This puts me in a spring mood too.
    Have a great day.

  22. What an amazing place. And it will look just as beautiful ten years from now!

  23. I want those black bookcases for my dining room, gorgeous and your book selections in your last post were wonderful. Love the two, wine and cocktails. Happy weekend. XO

  24. Decorated brilliantly 10 years ago! I could and would move right in and change nothing. A little design/house love for the weekend…thanks!

  25. That’s why I love traditional homes. The ones that are made properly will last for decades and will not look outdated. Sure you can change this here and there, but classic design is the best in my opinion. Besides, you save money, because you don’t need to change things all the time.

    Lovely antiques… this house is full of charm!

    Have a great weekend, Q!


    Luciane at

    Post of the day: DEXTER INSPIRED DECOR. (warning: it’s creepy!!!) :-)

  26. elle says:

    This is my ideal home. Beautiful colors, balance, inviting and livable, but my favorite is the wallpaper….. have a great weekend Q!

  27. Yes I certainly can imagine, feel myself relaxing already. That master bedroom is my favorite but I imagine the views are the best part.

  28. Kathysue says:

    This is a lovely home and I so agree, timeless at its best.

  29. annechovie says:

    You have just managed to increase my desire to travel to Spain by about another 5 levels…Hope your wknd is terrific!

  30. Now, that is a dream place! The elegance of every room is stunning. I would love to wake up in that bed and take my morning coffee on that terrace.

    Cheers to a fabulous weekend!
    xo Elizabeth

  31. Ahhhh, Marbella. I’ve always wanted to go. Once I heard Sean Connery had a place there it was one of my dream stops. One day. This is a beautiful home, beautiful post, Q. Thanks for sharing. Happy weekend. xx’s

  32. Danielle says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Oh spring we need you, so we don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to go to Marbella. Great images…lovin’ that entry table, so earthy, yet sleek! Have a wonderful weekend! xx Danielle

  33. gorgeous home….would love to be there right now….you can just feel how warm it is there….love the terrace…

  34. kathi says:

    Thank you for your comment this afternoon. It’s much appreciated! My favorite in your photos is the table with the pile of rocks (I think?) in the foyer and the sea life print over the fireplace.

  35. What a stunning place. I would never have guessed this is in Marbella. Have a wonderful weekend xx

  36. Debby Steele says:

    It’s all so AMAZING!! Just beautiful. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. xo

  37. Joni webb says:

    Omg. Do u know that I havemthis exact house in my clip files!!!!!! Can u believe that? I’ve loved this house for years. Classic design always paus off in the end.

  38. Love the master bath tile and that dining room! Beautiful, dreamy property. Timeless design.

  39. Judith says:

    This is a totally fabulous house, architecture, interiors, and landscaping.
    Thanks SO MUCH for posting it. I will look at it often and dream!

  40. hamptontoes says:

    Wow, what gorgeous and timeless spaces. Love that each room looks well thought out, practical and gorgeous!

  41. Beautiful, beautiful home and it just goes to show that good design is timeless!

  42. Just gorgeous! How I love Spain.

  43. What a home! I am speechless. Don’t even know where to begin… The de Gournay wallpaper is perfect in that dining room, the antique busts can move in with me any day, that vintage educational poster in the library is so pretty and the terrace – spectacular (not to mention the views).

    A lovely post.

    Happy Valentines weekend to you.


  44. Your photography and story are beautiful.

    Yes, please … a glass of wine right here would be so nice.

  45. DivaDebbi says:

    Utterly, completely divine! The highlight of my flu zapped day. Thank you for this detour!

  46. Flavia Borsani says:

    this house reflects exacltly my taste as well and…I was looking to find exactly this wall paper and was searching where I could find it because I don’t have the exact references of it except that it is de Gournay! Could you maybe tell me more about it? Which collection it is and where I could find it? I went in the de gournay shop in London and couldn’t find it!
    Thanks and have a great day!

  47. renateau lina says:

    a Paris il y avait une une boutique”de Gournay”. Moi aussi je cherche un équivalent ou une
    copie de ce papier peint photographié chez St Laurent, et qui vaut une fortune…

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