All things bright and balearic: The sun-drenched Ibizan retreat of designer Ben de Lisi

‘I grew up dreaming of owning a holiday home with billowing, diaphanous curtains draping around the windows,’ says Ben de Lisi, standing in his whitewashed sitting room surrounded by colourful Grillo Demo artworks, mid-century furniture and Picasso-esque ceramics from the 1950s. ‘For me, Villa Ella, named after our first frenchie dog, is that place.’

‘Red is my colour – I am drawn to it and use it to punctuate throughout,’ says Ben. The painting, Bambino by Grillo Demo, was commissioned by Ben and contrasts with a simple red and white wooden collage from Alfies Antique Market ( Image: Ali Framel

After being introduced to Ibiza by friends, Ben started looking for a holiday home on the Spanish island. The calming allure of the north, away from Ibiza’s club scene, appealed to him.

Ben designed a cantilevered teak sunbathing deck to conceal a set of rounded steps at the pool edge. ‘When renovating, you have to work with what you have. I love how we have transformed the look of our home.’ For similar French garden chairs, try Image: Ali Framel

A traditional finca or beachfront villa could easily have been on the cards for Ben and his partner Gerardo [who’s the business director at Ben de Lisi], but instead the couple opted for a rural 1960s single-storey property in the hills amid a two-acre plot flourishing with orange, lemon, almond and fig trees, bougainvillea, palms and wild herbs.

Powder-coated aluminium chairs and a raffia floor cushion, all from La Maison de l’Elephant in Ibiza ( add a modular effect to the square seating area. The geometric cushions are from Sluiz ( in Ibiza. Image: Ali Framel

‘Fashion and interiors are inextricably linked – with both, you play up the assets and play down the detriments,’ says the American-born designer who is highly regarded in both fields.

‘I love how the Eames chair complements the red Acapulco chair,’ says Ben. The Acapulco is from Sluiz ( For a similar floating wood burner, try Firemaker ( Image: Ali Framel

‘I am impulsive but also particular. The offer was dependent on undertaking specific renovations that would create the finish I wanted without changing the footprint.’

As you enter the house through the pergola, a wall of seashell-covered mirrors creates a dazzling display. To the left, a fish pond adds an indoor/outdoor feel. The Mexican-inspired rush-seat chairs, vibrant striped cushions and stag heads are from Sluiz ( Image: Ali Framel

The solution? A contractor was employed who understood Ben’s vision completely – three months later the work was complete and the couple – along with their french bulldog Tea – moved in.

‘I first saw this kitchen screen 12 years ago at Alfies Antique Market, but sadly didn’t have the space for it,’ says Ben. ‘When we found this house, the screen, to my amazement, had been sold back to Alfies!’ Image: Ali Framel

Internal walls and dead spaces were reconfigured to optimise bathroom and bedroom space. Sunlight filters through a new entrance hall pergola that interlocks the original structure of the house and links to enticing new outdoor zones, including the ‘sexy sofa’, a raised platform for sunbathing at one end of the pool; a post-dip cantilevered teak deck and an open sitting room at the other end.

With lush plants and an open-top pergola offering a glimpse of blue skies, the entrance hall has a tropical feel. An old department store mirror adds a chic contrast to vintage footlockers found on the island. For similar lockers, try Streett Marburg ( Image: Ali Framel

‘I am an avid collector.’ says Ben. ‘Paintings, sculptures, antiques – important pieces chosen at Battersea and New York art fairs, juxtaposed with simple island finds. My interiors always feature whitewashed walls and congruent flooring.

In the guest suite, the bed is covered in an intricately hand-quilted throw that Ben bought from a local beach seller. Embellishments include cushions and lamps by Ben for a former high-street collaboration. Image: Ali Framel

‘Apart from that, there are no rules – our home speaks volumes about Gerardo and me. It’s personal and everything has a story.’

Ben’s approach is effortless, understated and elegant. The contemporary console and Bertoia chairs are from Lots Road Auctions in London ( Image: Ali Framel

Rustic finds are mixed with colourful bohemian textiles, striped Turkish kilims, abstract art and African bongo drums, a recent present. Furniture, fireplaces and lighting add a contemporary edge to the space with Ben’s Acapulco chair by Olsson Jensen a favourite. By contrast the bathroom and kitchen are kept pared down.

The raised sunbathing deck was actually designed to hide the pool filter equipment. Old railway sleepers lead up to a mattress-covered platform, which is dressed in colourful throws and cushions made by Ben. Image: Ali Framel

‘Ibiza is where we switch off, but it’s also where I’m at my most creative. I still pinch myself and never take it for granted,’ says Ben.

The new QVC collection designed by Ben will be launched live on TV in September. For more information, visit

Report by Ali Heath