Porches, courtyards, decks, roof terraces and sun traps of all shapes and sizes are an integral part of a Blakstad design, and while nowadays these spaces may be used for anything from sunset cocktails and nude sunbathing to yoga and meditation, the terraces, porches and roofs of Ibiza were once places of work.
Ibiza’s farmhouse rooftops were designed to collect precious rainwater and were also used to dry figs and other fruits. The traditional method was to leave the figs whole then dust them in fregola – native wild thyme. You can still buy these delicious snacks from the farm shops found along the highways of Ibiza. When a farmhouse expanded to the point where a specialised drying porch could be added, it would become the location for an almost year-round rotation of cured foodstuffs. Beans, fruits, herbs and of course, homemade sausage would hang from the rafters for the requisite amount of time, open to the air but protected from the elements.
Some of these drying porches were small, too small to be renovated for use today while others have been incorporated into the refurbishment of these old farmhouses, providing a cool spot to escape the summer heat while still enjoying the outdoors. Obviously, more modern designs allow for many more uses. Throw down some oversized bean bags and set up a screen and you’ve got your own private outdoor screening room. Porches can be made into open-air studios, outdoor lounges and yes, even a place to dry your vegetable garden’s harvest.
Whether your home is situated in the country or by the coast, the views from your roof will be outstanding. It’s here the creation of a morning coffee spot can mark the start of your day with a connection to the landscape, or a private yoga class can get you that little bit closer to nirvana. We no longer use the roof as a fig drying spot, but it most certainly can become additional space for relaxation.
Inner courtyards are a frequent element in many Blakstad designs and are an architectural motif as old as time itself. Many traditional Ibizan farmhouses featured an inner courtyard where the animals would be brought at night. Eventually, stables were built and the courtyard became more of a workspace. Today these courtyards act as a separation from the outside (public) to the inside (private) spheres and offer an architectural opportunity to take a breath. Water is a significant component to the more modern designs with features ranging in style and size but always referencing back to their ancient roots. A courtyard is a place for repose, a liminal space that allows the day to slide away as you enter the peacefulness of the house.
The patio leading to the garden and pool is another area that deserves special attention. Here, meandering alfresco lunches can easily turn into dinners or an afternoon with a good book into a long siesta. This area sees a lot of action in the summer as the main thoroughfare from the garden to the house. Like the covered porxo in the traditional houses, the patio has become the focal point of summer days. It’s where people gather, thoughts are sorted and moments of solitude are taken with afternoon tea.
Sunny climes call for outdoor dining and a Blakstad design often includes a bioclimatic element. A wood pergola beside the swimming pool sports a garland of lush vines in the summer, providing shade that falls away in the winter to make the most of the warmer hours of the day. Dedicated outdoor kitchens mean the whole household moves kit-and-caboodle to the outdoors, and while today’s outdoor kitchens are a far cry from the open fire and iron cauldrons of the past, the sentiment is still the same – gathering together to cook, eat and talk.
There are many wonderful things about living in Ibiza but the climate has to be top of the list. With almost year-round sun, the team at Blakstad Design Consultants always make sure to create architectural moments that celebrate outdoor living.