Designing your own villa in Spain – Where do you start?

It has long been the dream of many an aspiring overseas buyer, not only to own and possibly live in a house overseas, but to also be able to design your perfect home as well. This is what Spanish property specialist Casas de Lorca is offering to clients.

At a time when the market is flooded with compact apartments and houses indistinguishable from the next, Casas de Lorca is giving buyers the opportunity to own and design their own unique villa in the heart of traditional Spain without the hassle of renovating a tired finca.

Mike Hamilton, MD of Casas de Lorca, gives us his top tips to designing your own villa in Spain:

There are 3 fundamental considerations, firstly the word that rolls off the tongue of every property buyer 'location' as well as 'design / layout' and 'materials'.

Location – "Choosing the right plot for your home can vastly affect the feel of the property and also the finished value. A finished villa on a plot with magnificent views can be worth over 50 percent more than a finished villa without views or with poor Access. The wow factor is important and you should design your villa around the natural attributes of the plot you have chosen."

"Privacy is worth a great deal and with 5 acres of land Casas de Lorca specialise in just this. Add this to fantastic views and you have a good start for designing your house. Walls of glass and full length windows in the right places can help take advantage of the views from the inside out."

Design / Layout – "Personal taste forms part of this process, but there are a few fundamentals that affect the desirability of the property. Firstly orientate the house towards the best views. In the UK people usually wish to orientate the house towards the South, but this is not necessary in Spain. It is better to look out of walls of patio doors towards the views and to have the sunrise flooding into the house rather than facing south when the sun is too high to come into the house."

"The layout of the house is extremely important. A good house is split logically between the day time and night time areas, not all mixed up as one. Bedrooms coming off the living room or the kitchen are obvious no no´s. Generally you place bedrooms to one side and day time areas to the other; this is a good starting point. Often bedrooms can be on a separate floor which also splits the night time area from the day."

"When looking at possible house plans imagine yourself walking around the house and try and imagine how it is going to flow. The design and exterior also need to match with the internal layout, which is often the hardest part to achieve. The only way to get this right is to try and imagine the exterior as you are designing the interior. The expert design team at Casas de Lorca can assist with this. Will the house have a courtyard? Why not give the courtyard glass walls? Is there a visual impact as soon as you walk through the front door? How are the roof lines going to work? The use of ornate pillars, arches, rows of patio doors, towers and raised terraces can change a decent house into a wow house, but everything has to remain in the right proportions."

"Architecture has been studied and implemented for thousands of years and looking at classic buildings can often give you ideas to make your house look impressive from the outside as well as having a logical layout on the inside. We have designed houses with glass courtyards, giving the feel of having a garden inside the house, but also as a means to bring in the light and enjoy the views from inside.  We have even designed a house with 15 arches made from Tuscan Stone surrounding a pool which is built into the house! "

Materials and decoration – "Having got the location and design right, then the next challenge is the materials. At Casas de Lorca we have built an exhibition centre to help manage this process. There are literally hundreds of different types of tiles and there is a choice for every part of the villa. What type of stone window surrounds, what type of wood for the doors and built-in wardrobes right down to the type of door handle… Even the kitchen is tailor made and there are over 80 materials to choose from."

"Everything from the style of banister to the type of balustrade or style of fireplace is available to choose from to design the interior of the property."

"Too much choice can often make design difficult so one of our design consultants is always at hand to offer advice. In general, simple high quality materials and consistency throughout the house make for a good interior. We advise matching built-in wardrobes with doors and using the same floor tiling throughout the house to maintain a consistency throughout the property. Marble floors create a grand impression, but poor quality marble contains many imperfections so we only source consistent materials. The exhibition centre has proved invaluable as there are so many items to choose from that it would take days if not weeks to drive around all the suppliers. There are choice items which clients would not normally even be aware of so it is very useful to have everything under one roof."

When designing your own property any one of the above three done well will impress your friends. For example if you have a plot with amazing views, this on its own creates a house with an advantage. If you have a classic designed and well proportioned villa, it will still impress if it is not in the most scenic location. You can design an amazing interior with top quality materials even if the house does not look the part from the outside. At Casas de Lorca we specialise in sourcing the best locations, helping in the best villa designs and also the best materials and decoration. We work to achieve all three of the fundamentals so that the villa has amazing views, outstanding design and the finest interior. With all three you will have a property which is a cut above the rest.