Channel 4’s Homes by the Med
Channel 4 just can’t get enough of forward thinking architecture. Whether it be George Clarke transforming dull and dreary houses into stunning works of art in Ugly House to Lovely House, or Kevin McCloud showing us around some amazing Grand Designs, the inspiring architecture on display is absolutely endless. But what could be better than being shown around some truly awe-inspiring houses? Well, apparently it is having the charming Charlie Luxton take us around some of the most amazing homes that are on the stunning Mediterranean coastline, and showing us the local culture of these picturesque locations. If any show will make you want to pack up your bags and escape the country, this is absolutely it.
Episode One – Costa Brava
First, we meet Hampshire born Geoff, and his Australian partner Melinda who escaped stressful, full on legal careers in favour of a quieter life on the Catalonian coastline. While the couple may have sought a quieter lifestyle, the house they built two years ago is anything but quiet and laid back. Formed of ten interlocking cubes, the house resembles a work of stunning, abstract art; quite fitting, considering that the family live in Salvador Dalí’s hometown! Affectionately referred to as ‘The Sunflower House’, the building‘s twenty-two windows allow the residents to follow the sun throughout the day, just like a sunflower head.
The interior decor is just as tasteful and modern as the fascinating exterior, with quartz topped kitchen counters, and an infinity dining table. However, what I find most interesting about the decor, is the nod that the family have made to traditional Spanish interiors, with tan leather chairs, and a suspended oval wood burner, which really brings a sense of warmth into the home, which makes for a welcoming family environment. Although the interior is perfectly executed, the big feature windows that are in every room, framing the sublime Mediterranean sea, steal all of the attention, and really bring the beauty of the outside, in.
Next, we meet TV Advertising Executive, Chris Morley, who originally came from Bath, but fell in love with the Catalonian coastline when biking through Europe. With winding cobbled streets, amazing food and drink, and considerably better weather than the UK, who can blame him?
Chris resides in what appears to be a traditional Catalonian townhouse, but upon further inspection, this home definitely has a modern twist. When the property was developed around ten years ago, the builders had installed a lift to make it easier to get to different levels, which they kindly had left in. Stopping at different levels of the house along the way (as you’d expect a lift to do), it slowly takes you straight to the top of the house which looks over the neighbouring rooftops and coastline in the distance. A view definitely worth waiting for…
We visit the region of Peratallada, where we see what can only be described as a miniature castle, owned by expat, Julian Martin. Built exclusively of stone from the village and timber, the newly built house effortlessly fits into the medieval village. The rustic colour palette is also welcomed inside the home, with a mixture of raw materials used to furnish the home. The kitchen is made of ceramic stone work tops and rough, gnarled lime oak, which echoes the home‘s natural surroundings and architectural style.
The stairs and doors are finished with Spanish oak and corroded, weathered metal, which ties into the rugged theme of the house, whilst still giving it an edgy, modern finish. The house harmoniously ties together traditional, medieval Catalonian style with modern architecture, making for a unique and quirky finish.
The tour of amazing homes in this programme is never ending, as we visit a spectacular cliff side home in the Tamariu region of Costa Brava. Built from scratch by Peruvian Hender Pastor and his British wife, the couple now reside in the ultimate pad with coastal vistas to die for. Built both of natural stone and white concrete, the property‘s contrasting materials give it a very modern and clean finish that hels it effortlessly fit in with it’s rocky hillside surroundings.
The house also has not one, but two rooftop pools- one of which has a window installed in the side, so the dancing light on top of the water is reflected on the inside of the house, which is especially transfixing and majestic and echoes the sea front setting. The hallway ceiling also mimics a coastal vibe with a built in wave, which also gives a softness to a home which could otherwise be very sharp and angular.
Last, but certainly not least, we are taken to a centuries old farmhouse, set in the middle of the astoundingly beautiful Gavarres Massif. Website entrepreneur, Guy, and Dutch architect, Co, transformed the once derelict farmhouse into an eco-friendly and sustainable family home. By installing bigger windows, the couple “opened up the house like a swiss cheese” to be at one with the stunning landscape. With vibrant colours clashing with the rustic feel of the home, the finish is achingly modern and cool, providing the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of busier Catalan areas.
The home even has an outdoor shower, so you can admire the stunning panoramic views at every opportunity. Luckily, there are no neighbours! But perhaps the most interesting thing about the property is how sustainable it is; there is a natural re-bed pool that filters water which is used to grow fruit and vegetables, and the building is even insulted with natural cork from the neighbouring forests. This is The Good Life as you have never seen it before.