For American couple Paul and Kristi, finding out about the existence of Deia was a revelation that changed their lives. Recently, Paul and Kristi told us the whole story of how they found their Deia dream home – and how they continue to be inspired by the village.
The location for the interview was Paul and Kristi’s gorgeous Deia dream home which they bought through Charles Marlow a few years ago.
How did you discover Deia?
Paul: We’ve spent plenty of time exploring the Mediterranean coast and were trying to find somewhere different to visit. We came across Mallorca. Being from America, we weren’t very familiar with the island at all. We found what looked like a great hotel and it happened to be in Deia. Obviously, we knew nothing at all about the village or its history but it looked beautiful and stunning in the pictures so we decided to go. Within a week of arriving and feeling the energy we decided to buy a house here!
Paul: Whenever we travelled somewhere, we always used to make a joke and say ‘Oh, we think we could live here’. But we never followed through on it. When we came to Deia, we had such a great time, such a great feeling being by the mountains and the water that the joke became serious. Everything about the place – the scenery, the feel – made us want to spend more time in this precious village.
I also started doing a lot of art which I’d never done before that. I took a few courses. There was definitely something special about the place.
Listen to Paul and Kristi describe the process of buying a home in the video below.
What happened next?
Paul: We found Charles Marlow’s website and looked at what was on offer in Deia. For us, it was by far the best website. It showed really great examples of the scenery, of the houses and how they fit into the environment. The office was right across the street from where we were staying at Belmond La Residencia so we called in.
On our last day we scheduled time with Maria to show us some different houses on the West Coast of Mallorca. But as we travelled around, we realised that Deia was where we really wanted to be. Which is how we ended up here.
Kristi: I remember it was what I would call a whirlwind real estate tour. I saw these gorgeous stone homes. Where we live, that just doesn’t exist – we have brick colonials! So, we headed out with you and we saw some different styles. We even went up into the mountains but that was too remote for us.
How did you find the Deia dream home you ended up buying?
Kristi: It was on my list always. I kept seeing it on the website, but the price was higher than I said I was willing to go. But every time I went to the website, I went ‘I really like this house, what about it?’ Then I found out it belonged to the Graves family, and that also intrigued me because I have a PhD in literature. It wasn’t that I was in love with Robert Graves and his writing, it was just the literary aspect.
As soon as we walked in, I knew. I thought, this is beautiful, I love it. The house had that feel. When we went downstairs to what I’d call the basement, the thought went through my mind, ‘You know what? People should be making hand-made books here!’ Then I found out that there was a press here that Tomás Graves ran as what would be considered a continuation of his father’s press. It was called The New Seizen Press. ‘Seizen’ is an ancient term that basically means ‘legal possession’, usually land. It could even be memory, like a long-term memory. And I just thought that was beautiful. I thought, if I can pick up on that vibe of books being made here, this really has to be the place for me.
How would you describe the process of buying a Deia dream home?
Paul: Charles Marlow made it really easy for us. It was almost like a turn-key process. You provided everything we needed. There wasn’t a lot of effort required on our part. All we really had to do was figure out what we wanted and Charles Marlow made it happen.
We chose a traditional home but decided we wanted to add some of the modern conveniences we’re used to. The key thing was to maintain the feel we loved so much. Charles Marlow introduced us to MoreDesign who were architects and designers for the project. Manuel at MoreDesign also made the process of renovation seamless and easy. And, don’t forget, we were 5000 miles away, doing everything via Skype or email.
We realised that Deia was where we really wanted to be.
In fact, it was probably much easier than the renovations or building we’re used to in the United States. When we were, I think, four or five months into the project I called up the architect and said ‘When are you gonna charge me?’ because I hadn’t paid anything yet. Usually, in America, you make a down payment and pay almost the whole thing upfront. Here it was completely the opposite, which was very refreshing. I’m used to getting a budget and a time-frame and everything turning out to be double the price and twice the time. Here, the whole thing was right on budget and right on time.
Kristi: We knew that, whatever we did, we wanted to keep things as traditional as possible. Partly because the family name is so prominent and, I believe, important to the people who live here. Although we did update the electricity and plumbing and added heating and a little air-conditioning, the challenge was to keep things as much as they were as possible. For example, in some cases we replaced newer tiles that had been added with antique ones. Our architect helped us with this.
For furnishing the village has been wonderful. There’s a man called Jean-Luc, and I love, love going to his antique store. I also feel good about the fact that he’s part of the village and in some way a friend.
How have you found settling into the village?
Paul: It’s just been a delight. Everybody we’ve come into contact with has just been warm and welcoming, and really made us feel like home. So, it’s very nice to settle in, to travel here, to relax, to get away from my business life and just be treated like a regular neighbour.
How often do you try to get out here?
Paul: I’m still working so it’s only four to five times a year. I’d say we get maybe 10 weeks a year right now but we hope to be here much more.
Watch Paul talking about his art and what it means to him in the video below.
Last question, how do you see your future in the village?
Kristi: I want to continue to meet more people in the village. I’ve met some wonderful friends already, and I want to be fluent in Spanish. It also seems like so many different opportunities can arise creatively here. I like to write, I write in the US, and when I come here I may end up writing a novel that would be totally different from an American novel. And Paul is artistic also.
Paul: I love drawing and painting here. By the sea, up in the mountains, among the villages. I really started drawing and painting when I came here the first time. I took a half-day lesson with Alan Hydes at Belmond La Residencia. I remember learning about how to see. I also spent some time with Juan Waelder – sculptor in residence at Belmond La Residencia – touring art galleries in Palma and learning to sculpt.
Now, when I come here it feels natural to start drawing and painting and I’ve taken this into the rest of my daily life. I travel a lot on business and at night, in order to wind down after a long day if I’m on the road, I sometimes go down to the bar of the hotel where I’m staying and set up my watercolours. If there are people all around me I don’t care. I just start to practice. I draw whatever I see, a liquor bottle or whatever or I work from a picture. It helps me really relax, get in touch with myself and practice art.
I think as I spend more time here I’ll continue to pursue my passion. It’s already been great, because I’ve met the local artists. In fact, in July I was part of the group exhibition at Belmond La Residencia. It was a real honour.
Thanks Paul and Kristi, we’re thrilled that we were able to help you find your Deia dream home and creative fulfilment in our magical village.
If you would like us to help you find your Deia dream home, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0034 971 636 427.