Updated: Jan 22
Are you looking to know how to renovate or re-decorate your property in Ibiza? In this article we discuss various factors, such as process, styles, tips & tricks.
This article looks at renovation or re-decoration of a property in Ibiza, as it is not the easiest task especially when you do not live full time on the White Island. Indeed, for many renovation projects in Ibiza owners still live abroad before enjoying their newly renovated property. In any case, it goes without saying that it is important to prepare well and have suppliers you can trust. In this article we’ll explain how to organize, get ready, and have a serious go at it. We will provide an easy-to-follow process in 4 steps with 3 style examples. At the end we suggest 3 helpful tips if you’re new to Ibiza, or to renovation or both.
About the Author
Isabelle Desquesnes lives and works in Ibiza and Belgium. She graduated as a Holistic Therapist - Feng Shui Interior/Exterior Designer. She defines her purpose and work as follows: “in my practice as a natural interior designer my goal is to create an environment, a home where the inhabitants feel more inner-balance, in a healthy and beautiful place to live. Your new space will nourish your soul, where the Chi will flow in a positive way.” Isabelle invites you to let her show you how to use some light-effects, eye-catchers, paper wall, open spaces, and contemporary furniture designs, to liven-up a home and create a certain mood and energy in every room. Taking care of the taste and desires of her clients, she proposes her professional advice and experience to show different styles of interior design. She uses drawings, floorplan designs and 3D renders. Isabelle offers her service for renovations and new projects in Ibiza.
The History of Ibiza Renovation
Ibiza has been since the 70s a hotspot for emotional free spirited seaside living. As such it has attracted open-minded people who wanted to transform rural houses or farms called “fincas” into spaces influenced by hippie style. Later in the 90s a more cosmopolitan lining came into play, to end today with luxurious modern minimal spaces. Nowadays the strong affluence of international home-buyers created an important market for property building and renovation. What a shock when you consider that Ibiza was a quiet farmland and a rather “un-developed” island when all this started in the 1970s - only 50 years ago...
Step 1 - The style decision
Let´s dive-in and start considering the style you wish to achieve. It will be your “fil rouge”, your guide during your project. If you do not know what style you like, get some magazines and do some google searches for interior design. On your computer, copy-&-paste on an empty word page or clipboard pictures of everything you like: interiors, furniture, lamps, dishes, etc… On Smartphones it is very easy to make your mood board on Pinterest www.pinterest.com
Doing your own style research will give you an idea in what direction you like to go. What you need to consider: the more personal and "special" your style gets, the more difficult it will be to rent or sell your house. Here three styles examples I have been working with lately in Ibiza:
Style Example – Nomadic Bohemian Ibiza
When I am creating a nomad style, I think about nature, natural life, objects with culture. I get inspiration by people leading an unconventional life, such as nomads, bohemians, hippies and artists. Working with basic elements of nature I recreate a flawing look. I don’t worry about perfection as what we are going for is a rustic and rawer look, thus in a modern environment. Hand crafted objects and art pieces tell us the story of traditional communities´ identity and their customs. Use textiles with indigenous patterns and made of natural materials.
Style Example – Black´Or Style
This minimal style with Asian roots only using two colours follows the Japanese “less is more” wabi-sabi philosophy, with the difference to modern minimalism to accept imperfections and to make the most of simple life. “Wabi” can be defined as “rustic simplicity” or “understated elegance” with a focus on a serene mentality.
Creating spaces with a touch of wabi-sabi conveys us into a peaceful beauty, sometimes impermanent and incomplete. Playing with simplicity, black sleek shapes, organic materials, mixed with some gold elements makes Black´Or a truly original style!
Style Example – Modern Cosmopolitan
Here you go for a modern contemporary style with the latest cosmopolitan trends that you will see in European capital cities, New York or Dubai. This design style evolves with the trends of the "here and now", it is in constant evolution. It also gathers ideas from other styles such as art deco, de-constructivism, futurism, etc. The result is a sleek modern design with splashes of bright colors. One can imagine that quite everything is possible in this cosmopolitan design. The execution should be done in high quality as you deal usually with a small amount of objetcs. Due to its flexibility, the result of a modern contemporary deco can reflect precisely the vision and tastes of the house owner.
Other possible styles to be considered: Oriental Minimalistic, Modern Organic, Boho-chic, Etnic, Classic, Retro Vintage, Scandinavian, Eclectic.
Step 2 – Define the home usage and its requirements The future usage of your property will drive the decision what you are going to renovate. Ask yourself the key question: A - Are you or your family going to live in Ibiza in this home? What is the age of the users? B - Are you going to be there for the Summer months only? C - Are you going to rent it out to touristic short-term customers in the Summer?
With situation A, you can do something more personal to feel really “in your castle”. Nevertheless, you should think about the re-sell value when going for a renovation project with a very personal note:
My advice here would be to keep the personal touches to the walls and furniture which can be easily removed and walls repainted in a neutral color went the decision to sell or rent is made. Our advice, refrain from making personal oriented choice with structural works. Plan these strategic works only thinking at the resell value-add. The age of the individuals in your tribe will drive the decison implementing steep strairs and security around balconies and pools.
Situations B and C are the most common usage for houses in Ibiza. With the newly updated license law of 2019 any legal house can ask for a touristic rental license. Note: our experience shows that quasi-all properties in Ibiza end-up offering rentals, whatever the current views and situation of the house owner.
Tip: to get good holiday rentals you need to think about creating if possible an even quality standard for all bedrooms. Indeed: it will be penalizing in the holiday rental market in Ibiza if you have one super master bedroom suite and a series of sub-second-class bedrooms. Think about different qualities your house has to offer and try to make it as equitable as possible: a smaller room can compensate with a nicer view, a nicer bathroom, outdoor shower or a private terrace. Another key tip: try to manage to create one bathroom for each bedroom. This is the current service level expectation for good-paying holiday makers.
Step 3 – What are you going to renovate, and will you do it legally? Now that you have gathered the requirements set, let´s discuss what has to be redone, and what can stay as it is. Start by making a list of everything you see you could do, going room by room. Then, re-class your list by priority: starting by the mandatory things you really need to do, then the important things and finish by the nice-to-have.
You need to know that in Ibiza an indoor house renovation project respecting the volumes and facades of the original house need a “Minor Work License” (licensia de obras minor). This license can be requested at your municipality by a certified builder or an architect. Interiors works (for example redecorating a bathroom) could theoretically be done without such a license. What you need to know is: the plans of your house are registered and stored at the municipality at the time the property is first built. To keep your property legal without asking for a license, you cannot change any structure, wall, window, door, roof, swimming pool, terrace or garden house without the proper license asking to update the original plans. To get a Minor License approved in Ibiza takes between 3 and 9 months depending on the municipality´s workload and the complexity of your project.
Here the link to the Collegio of Architects in the Balearics, to get the list of all registered architects. To find a local architect with offices in your town, under “Demarcación” select "Ibiza-Formentera", and under “Municipo” select your municipality. To close the license subject: remember that we want to renovate a property to higher its value. But by doing a non-licensed project that will make your house lose its legality will seriously lower the market value of your property - indeed you can lose up to 50% of the market value! This leads us nicely to the next step: finances.
Step 4 – Budget
Making a budget sounds a big task but it is very straight forward and easy. To assess the amount of money you need to do your renovation, take your beautiful list with priorities you made in Step 3 above and add on the side the costs for each line.
To give you a quick estimate of costs in Ibiza, we prepared the table below that you can use as a budget guideline. The costs include furniture, wall treatment and some accessories. These numbers do not include structural work for example to put down a wall, change the place of a door, work on the ceiling waterproofing, or re-level the floors. Also please note that the numbers we provide below are only intended as a budget guide, and they are not an offer from us to do such work.
If the items you want to renovate are not in table below, simply take your estimation for the equipment and material costs, and add the estimated labor costs.
Step 5 – Renovating: on your own versus with a Project Manager / Decorator
Armed with your inspiration board, your to-do-list and your budget, you can decide now if you want to do your project on your own or with the help of a professional.
Note about Feng Shui
The “feel-good-in-your-home” philosophy of Feng Shui tells us that people will be in better harmony with their house - and as such happier and more content to live in it - if they create themselves an object or a part of their home. This is why I propose a creative workshop to accompany people to celebrate this ancient tradition making a beautiful mandala or decorating a piece of furniture.
3 Tips to make your renovation project a success Tip Nr 1 - Think about the walls Getting excited and occupied by the more flashy subjects of a renovation project, I saw that the walls often get forgotten: “just paint all the walls in white!” There is much more to it. Walls have a long history of being a treasure of expression. Adding to the decoration value, a correct treatment of your walls will enhance the acoustics, temperature and well-being of the room. Modern wall cover products (formerly called wallpapers) are created by experienced designers in new collections every year. Innovative and trendsetting products are of superior quality and will embellish a home for a long time. All patterns and textures you ever could imagine are available: velvet, metallic, silk, wood, cork, vinyl, leather, coco, banana leafs, etc. Some wall covers are manufactured using only environmentally-friendly materials and processes which adds a feel-good factor. Tip Nr 2 - Choice of Suppliers
A well-managed team will deliver. That´s a given. To find reliable property construction suppliers and artisans in Ibiza is not so easy. Unfortunately we have countless stories to tell about changing prices to totally over-draw your budget, products rrive destroyed at your site, simply poor quality of work or the classic mañana syndrom: workers not showing as planned...
To remedy this here some tips:
- get references from the potential supplier and really check with these former clients how things went. You will learn odd details that later might save you time and money.
- Ibiza builders´ prices have a tendency to slip into the unreal. This is due to the fact that we live on an island and the builders can pressure the customers: indeed it is more complicated to import workforce and materials from Spain mainland or even from abroad. For us it is OK to pay a certain “Ibiza premium”. It has to stay fair compared to the quality you get. Remember that price is not everything; do not decide on a supplier only on price: the cheapest price you get will probably not deliver his work on time and in the agreed quality. It will cost you much more to fix things afterwards, not speaking about the hassle and the lost time. So the advice here is: ask around and get at least 3 offers. Compare them and challenge the prices of the supplier with the best references.
Tip Nr 3 - Pre-payments - NEVER pay upfront to suppliers new to you, people with whom you have not worked with before. Agreed, some materials can be expensive and the builder will not want to splash his cash for your materials. Fair enough. You want to make sure that any payment in advance has to do with materials purchase for YOUR project, and that the builder will not just forget to come to work after he has cashed-in your money... So the advice we give: you cannot accept to pre-pay any work. You can accept to pre-pay for materials, but only pay directly to the wholesaler of these materials. The builder has to present a proforma invoice from the wholesaler in your name, and you will pay this invoice yourself not giving the money to the builder. This brings the benefit that you are the legal owner of what you have purchased, and it gives you a handy control on the materials price also.