After a five week tour of Spain and the Mediterranean
coast, looking for the ideal location to live, we chose the quiet, dramatic
and tranquil location of Tijola in the lower Alpujarras. This beautiful,
mountainous region, is only a short drive away from the coast, the ski
resort of the Sierra Nevada and the stunning city of Granada. We then
set about looking for a property to buy. After much searching, it soon
became apparent that every property we viewed needed a huge amounts of
work to bring them up to the standards we expect in the UK. With this
in mind we chose a particularly run down property with a ruin attached,
which was in need of complete renovation.
Design inspired from visit to Mekness
Villa patio influenced by trip to Fez.
We engaged a local architect to design a special home, which
would take advantage of the spectacular views. His brief was to design,
draw plans, find builders and to manage the project, which he assured
us would be completed within 8 months. After 8 months of living in very
basic conditions and getting very frustrated with the architect and the
Spanish red tape, we were still no further on. At this stage we parted
company with the architect and his unsatisfactory design, engaged a local
builder and finally managed to get started.
Nigel buying a carpet
in Meknes, this took
two days of bartering to agree the price.
Nigel with Hassan, our
guide and his brother.
I came up with the idea of building the house in such a way so as to reflect
the local Moorish history. With that in mind we travelled to Morocco on
two occasions, visiting Fez, Meknes and Chefchouen amongst other places,
to study the architecture, buy furniture and carpets etc. We also made
numerous trips to Granada and the Alhambra Palace to ensure that we would
really capture the feeling of the last stronghold of the Moors. At this
stage we realised what a huge project we had ahead of us and wondered
whether we would be able to pull it off. Nigel then set his mind to redesigning
the property in the Moorish style that I dreamed of. Due to the difficulty
of arranging deliveries, our lovely sports car had to go and in its place
we bought a big Chrysler Grand Voyager. This made it possible to source
and collect building materials from near and far.
The stained glass window
The Moorish outside eating
we created for the villa.
Two and a half years into the project, and after working 7 days a week,
often 12 hours a day and after many problems with workmen, tradesmen and
red tape, we have achieved our aim. Nigel built all the moulds and formas
for the arches and has done most of the tiling in the villa. Having always
having been a keen DIY man with a trained eye for attention to detail,
he was able to monitor all aspects of the work to a high standard. We
drove all over Andalucia in order to source slate, tiles and other materials,
ensuring the best quality and most attractive materials.
We now have what we consider to be our dream home. This
is not just another rental property, we have built and furnished it to
standards you would expect in your own home. Whilst reflecting the Moorish
ambience and style of the 16th century it provides all the comforts of
the 21st century.