Designer Sumari Krige has created a laid-back abode inspired by the jaw-dropping vistas that surround it.
PHOTOGRAPHY Elsa Young/ Bureaux
WORDS by Jo Leevers
This is a home with a dazzling international cast. It’s owned by a Dutch couple, was built by a Canadian-born architect and its interiors were created by
South African Sumari Krige. The house is hidden away in the rural hinterland of Ibiza, which is part of the property’s melting-pot character, too. So how did
this mix of styles come about? Interior designer Sumari Krige takes up the story. ‘The owners, Emile and Eva Kuenen, had been looking for an old finca on the island for
a long time, but couldn’t find what they wanted. Then they discovered that architect Rolf Blakstad had a reputation for building houses that draw on Ibiza’s old farmhouse
style, but embrace contemporary features. ’Traditional Ibizan homes tend to have small windows and rooms set low into the landscape, features geared towards keeping the interiors cool in summer, but today people yearn for views and indoor-outdoor spaces that make the most of the climate. ‘Luckily, Rolf is an expert at designing minimal, rustic homes that don’t look out of place in the setting, but work for modern life,’ Sumari says. When the house was at the earliest stage – all earthmovers, mud and men in hi-vis jackets – Emile and Eva made the wise decision to escape the building site and take a holiday. They headed to South Africa, which is where Sumari, co-founder of La Grange Interiors, came into the picture. After leafing through lots of interiors magazines, Emile and Eva kept noticing projects by La Grange, so when they spotted Sumari’s Cape Town studio and store, they did a swift U-turn. Although the house barely had its foundations in the ground, Sumari began to put together some ideas. As time progressed, her designs would gradually dovetail more consciously with the textures and structure of the building, but her initial inspiration lay closer to home, in the South-African aesthetic she’s known for and that had tempted the homeowners through her doors. ‘Emile and Eva already loved our take on raw, tactile surfaces, so I looked for texture in everything – from fabrics to stone sculptures.’ Sumari was also comfortable with creating a flow between the inside and outside spaces. ‘The South African climate means we have a strong indoor-outdoor lifestyle, ’she says. And once she arrived at this house, Sumari discovered just how much the architecture was centred around the setting. ‘You tend to move from one space to the next as the day progresses to benefit from shade at lunchtime or to watch the sunset from the courtyard. ’That sense of being in tune with the elements is reinforced by the building’s materials, which include bleached timber beams, gently curved walls and textured flooring. Those natural textures are then subtly reinforced by Sumari’s choice of fabrics and objects. ‘I very seldom use a plain fabric,’ she says. ‘A throw or rug might look neutral from a distance, but as you get closer you’ll notice a richness of texture. I’ll always opt for a more thickly woven linen or a raised pattern. ’The colours Sumari chose also reflect the setting, with deep greens, ochres and an almost plummy brown. ‘Although this home is in Ibiza, it was never going to be a typically all-white style. It’s in the centre of the island so those classic beach-house references weren’t part of the picture.’ The bedrooms show how Sumari’s colour palette works in a way that is soft but strong. ‘Each room has a key colour, be it a muted green inspired by the nearby olive groves, a rusty brown like the stonework or a yellow that I found in the meadow flowers,’ she says. But these colours always remain easy on the eye. ‘They are almost muddy, dirty versions of the colours – saturated but not loud,’ she adds. Sumari’s style suits the mood of this home, which is rooted in a traditional vernacular, but adapted to take in the vistas, scents and colours of the island. ‘It’s a country house that combines old and new,’ says Sumari. ‘That’s what makes it really relaxing.’