‘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.’
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.
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.
‘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 am impulsive but also particular. The offer was dependent on undertaking specific renovations that would create the finish I wanted without changing the footprint.’
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.
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.
‘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.
‘Apart from that, there are no rules – our home speaks volumes about Gerardo and me. It’s personal and everything has a story.’
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.
‘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 bendelisi.com
Report by Ali Heath