We can’t quite believe that it is well over a month since our last blog post, and we are settling in to our new home. It has taken a bit of time to get used to our new surroundings. I think we both feel that these past 6 weeks have been rather like those first tentative steps in a new relationship, when everything is so exciting and we can’t quite believe our luck. Fortunately, the house has yet to show any irritating personal habits that could potentially turn the relationship sour, but there is time!
Summer has arrived a week or so ago in the form of this year’s first mini heat wave, and the fabulous weather has given us an opportunity to enjoy the house, inside and out. We are both finding it hard not keep running around making squeaking noises (although Andrew frequently cannot resist, and uses the kitchen island to canter round pretending to be a horse…). We are inordinately proud of what we have achieved, and the house is far better than we had ever imagined. That said, it still bears huge similarities to the little sketches we made when we first saw the property but the overall transformation is incredible. Just the other evening, warm and clear, as we sat on our terrace drinking in the view and a gin or two, Andrew noticed that we can see The Alhambra (through binoculars) sitting slightly elevated above the sprawl of Granada city. This is special and is just another of the little secrets about this place that we discover every day. It was this stunning location and view that got the better of our emotions when we first saw this humble little village house, tucked down in the hillside, its back turned against the most breathtaking backdrop of gorge and mountain.
As I write, we are in the final stages of the build. The studio has been rendered and we are waiting for the shower room to be fitted out. The glass has just been put in the windows and doors and the concrete floor has been laid. Our little breakfast patio is well under way and we can start to see how the garden will look when it is planted with trees and shrubs. One of the larger garden centres in Granada has become our new best friend.
Furniture and fittings
We have been asked by one blog follower for ideas for furniture and fittings, so it seems opportune to list down some of our suppliers.
We originally had the idea of getting the furniture imported from a contact in India, but as we dug deeper here we found that we could get very similar stuff for the same price, saving ourselves the shipping costs.
For furniture that has that Indian import look but much of it made here, we used a company called Conely. They have a large depot and a shop on the edge of Granada, and when they have a sale their prices are very good. Less good when the items are full price, but they have hundreds of products including antiques: . We got our dining table and 8 chairs from them in the sale, as well as other bits and pieces. Their shop and warehouse are just treasure troves of lovely stuff.
We had difficulty finding comfortable sofas! We looked everywhere and the trend seems to be for retro-style and as hard as nails. We eventually found traditional style sofas, made to measure and in the fabric that we wanted from a shop called Decorhaus in Fuengirola; the sofas were made to order in Sevilla!
Mattresses - again difficult as good mattresses are very expensive. We eventually got them from a local store that supplies Spanish-made mattresses for half the price of mainstream brands. The manufacturer of our mattresses is Moraplex and the style we got is Chicago and it is lovely! The temptation to turn to John Lewis online was ever-present, and we did get all our bedding shipped over from JL, mainly because the cost they quoted for shipping made this a sensible option.
Our bed bases were made by a local carpenter for much less than they would have cost in India! He used aged pine and they are really beautifully built. Miguel, the carpenter, is now doing all our bookshelves and other interior cupboards in a similar rustic style, made to measure. He's excellent, and if you live in Granada province and need his number, we can pass it on.
We found a gem of a furniture company via Instagram, and ordered one of our dressers from them. Their service was exceptional Antique Arte y Decoración The prices were good, too, for the quality of the product. They have a huge range of beautifully designed items, similar to those that can be found in Conely (above) but at more reasonable prices.
We made another dresser from two pieces of old factory furniture that we stumbled upon at an Antiques Fair in Granada. Great value and with real character, an old wooden cabinet for metal parts and an open shelf unit, joined together, became a great cabinet for crockery.
Lighting and Electrical Appliances:
We bought our ovens, American fridge, washing machine etc from an online company La Coop - I did a huge amount of research and found that these had the best prices and good reviews. They proved to be very good - excellent products (ours are mainly all Bosch/Siemens) and good delivery service.
The above are probably the best of our suppliers, and we did take a long time searching both around the area and online to find exactly what we wanted. They are all happy to deliver across Spain, too. Casa Viva is another store that looks interesting, and we did order our large outside seat cushions from them, and they're great. We found that Maisons du Monde has lots of products that look good, but the quality is not always so good. We did buy some mirrors and other small items from them, and we will probably buy other items too. Casa is also quite fun for glasses, plates and stuff for the garden.
Pinterest, Etsy, Instagram, Milanuncios (Spain’s answer to Gumtree) and Facebook Marketplace have been invaluable sources of inspiration and ideas. Through Etsy, Andrew found a beautiful Turkish kilim for our sitting room, and we found a UK-based carpenter Scruffy Bob’s Woodshack who could make and ship our lovely, rustic bedside cabinets.
There are more suppliers that we have used, but the above is a fairly comprehensive list of our favourites based on quality, price, delivery and service. Where we were able, we have always bought locally and have found the flexibility, quality and service to be exceptional.
The house is certainly beginning to look like home and it is a house that needs to be filled with people. If you need a break in our gorgeous home, sitting on a terrace staring through binoculars at The Alhambra Palace, then get in touch! Gin is optional…