Decorating your home, inside and out
Text: Cat Weisweiller - Interior photos: Conrad White
Ibiza resident of 35 years, Laila Van Deurs, has been in interior decoration since the mid eighties – having spent her formative years in fashion design: “I love fabrics, so it was a natural progression from clothing people to clothing whole houses.” ibiCASA decided to pay a visit to her showroom since 2000, ‘Il Giardinetto Casa’, to gather some interior decoration insights.
Thanks to Laila’s years of carefully honed fabric selection, her showroom is an Aladdin’s cave of fabrics and designs including Designers Guild, Andrew Martin, Pierre Frey, Ybarra y Serret and Malabar. Prices cover the full range from €20 to €400 per metre. The question is where to start? As with many things, the bigger the initial investment, the greater the long-term sustainability of the product – the price working in direct relation to the quality of the design. “When choosing your soft furnishing fabrics, many factors need to be taken into account. For instance, is it for a rental property? In which case, durability and washability are the key factors. Or, if it’s for your own pleasure, a greater investment in the more salubrious designs is a justified self-indulgence.“
“Interior decoration moves in cycles, like fashion. Often the colours and patterns dominating fashion will be reflected in interior decoration. For instance, floral prints are back in, as are colours. The outside environment always affects interior decoration; as such, in Ibiza, the urban look is out – many presently favouring the seaside look of whitewashed wood and white linen with red and blue stripes.”
Laila is also passionate about “reviving” old furniture with decorative art and specialised painting techniques. “Many people have inherited properties that need bringing up to date – lightening up, freshening up – but they’ll often want to retain certain sentimental pieces. An imaginative re-work of these keepsakes brings them singing back to life.”
Laila, who is regularly called upon for design consultancy is no stranger to the importance of every choice a homemaker makes, even down to the window dressing: “It is easy to underestimate the importance of things like curtains – unfussy, lengthy swathes of plain fabrics will add infinite depth and, thus, an added feeling of space to a room – giving that extra touch of magic and opulence.”
Laila advises that all design should adhere to a simple principle: “In every house, there should be a style thread running through – from the original architectural plans right through to the finer details of the soft furnishings. All aspects of design should reflect the dwellers personalities, lifestyles and needs and leave them feeling good. If this is achieved, people love their homes so much that they never feel the need to go out…”
Just across the street, you will find Il Giardinetto Casa’s decorating partner, ‘Toldos Santa Eulalia’, run by Nicolai Floccari and specialising predominantly in outdoor rain, sun and wind protection designs since 1991. Nicolai took the business over from his legendary late father, Luciano, four years ago. Having, from the age of 18, spent many years at his father’s side learning the trade, Nicolai stepped in already armed with his father’s same enthusiasm and expertise in the field.
“In outdoor design, there is a misconception that awnings and sun sails serve only for restaurants and other commercial businesses. People are often surprised to hear that our trade is in fact made up of 80% private and only 20% commercial clients.” This statistic illustrates how things have moved on in recent years, with access to increasingly sophisticated outdoor design solutions including electronic awnings with built-in sun / wind / rain sensors, lights, heating and even music. Not to mention intricate overlapping design concepts offering maximised effectiveness and visual impact. This weather resistant design technology is not restricted just to awnings; it stretches far and wide to car ports, tipis, Rajasthan tents, retractable fencing, add-on spare rooms, automatic window shading systems and roofed pergolas…
Suffice to say, the list of what is available is now endless. As are the materials on offer – from the ever trusty canvas to state-of-art micro-perforated PVC which, whilst waterproof, is able to breathe, offers added luminosity, and is easy to wash; the latter proving particularly pertinent here in Ibiza, where we wage constant cleaning battle against pine pollen and mud rain.
Whilst showing me an image of a Toldos installation of the largest sun sail on Ibiza, Nicolai proudly explains, “It’s 216 m2 in size, and is held up with only four poles.” When I stop to question the relevance of the “four poles”, he is quick to point out that the unobtrusiveness and aesthetic quality of weather protective design is just as important as its functionality. It seems that outdoor living installations are becoming a bit of a celebrated art form and, as such, have certainly earned themselves a place in any prospective house design plan. •