Inside Nani Marquina’s Spanish vacation home


Located on the Costa Brava coastline, the 3,200 square foot accommodation has been carefully renovated to preserve its historic appearance while blending in with contemporary touches.

In the living room of her vacation home, Nani Marquina has mixed vintage pieces with her own designs. A Tres Vegetal rug by Marquina and Elisa Padrón also covers a prototype ottoman. The Time sofa by Mario Ruiz is combined with a vintage armchair, a leather BKF chair and a stool by Alvar Aalto. Photo by Albert Font, courtesy of Nanimarquina

Albert Font was completely under the spell. The photographer – and husband of textile designer and founder of Nanimarquina Nani Marquina – was on set, and the subject was a 1970s house on the Spanish coast of the Costa Brava, specifically in the town of Esclanyà, Catalonia. The two-story stucco and terracotta dwelling was set on a rugged hill with stunning ocean views. “If you ever think of selling…” he hinted at the owner.

A few years later, this call came unexpectedly, and the couple decided to finalize the purchase and create a new vacation home. “It was very simple and very white, with this stunning view,” says Marquina, who has kept the simplicity of the house while maximizing its views thanks to its careful renovation.

Now it’s a 3,200 square foot blank canvas for his rugs and Font’s photography. Teapots from the Sahara Desert and Morocco, seeds from Pakistan, and more than two dozen straw brooms collected on his travels are all artfully displayed in a sunny interior with whitewashed walls.

To cultivate the feeling “we’re in an old house with a lot of history,” Marquina says, the signs of age and wear and tear have been left alone or secretly enhanced. On the main level, where the living and dining room, kitchen and master bedroom are located, Marquina left paint splatters on the wide plank floor. (This is the former owner, an artist.) She also delicately rejuvenated a white stucco staircase – a textile designed admired for its organic curves – that leads to the lower underground level, which houses Marquina’s studio and a guest bedroom. The rust finish on the sliding glass doors, which offer stunning ocean views, is new. “We refined the frame and oxidized the iron with seawater,” says Marquina.

The furniture is mostly vintage; some are iconic designer pieces, others have a rich personal history. On the ground floor terrace is a seating area made up of rough wooden benches and a table once used by factory workers in India and by Marquina herself. “For three days I worked and ate these,” she recalls. It took a bit of conviction – and some initial confusion – but eventually the factory sent the pieces to Spain with a shipment of their carpets, free of charge. As the designer notes, “They probably had no value to them, but to me, they’re a memory of an era. “

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About Brad S. Fulton

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