I remember spending Christmas with my family in our country house La Dehesa, which is in Extremadura, western Spain.
We’d be playing games around the chimney , running through the fields, hiding among the oaks…
My grandmother used to cook, my mother would be knitting, my grandfather and my father reading. Everyone used to take long walks and we never stopped messing around.
A few years later my grandparents died and after many years of being empty, La Dehesa went on sale.
At that time I had already been working a few years so I decided that the best investment would be to keep La Dehesa in the family. So I bought the land.
My brother Jose and his friends Fernando and Diego, who are all architects, were in charge of the renovation. I thought that the best people to bring the house back to life would be those who had known La Dehesa in the good old days.
The secret to the success of the project was keeping everything ”in the family”. My brother designed the reform. Rafael Tardio handled the construction management and did a superb job.
The interior architect Luis Galliusi did an amazing job of helping me to decorate the house. Being my friend he knew perfectly how to capture everything I wanted.
Manoli, my “nanny” from when I was little, lives in the village next to La Dehesa, in Puebla del Maestre.
She is the one that turns on the heating and cooks really good dishes and delicious tortillas to greet me. I also have pigs in La Dehesa, that are reared there and provide delicious hams.
Although I can’t enjoy it as much as I would like, we try to go there as much as we can. In winter we enjoy playing cards next to the chimney, walk through the countryside and remember great times.
Now the roles have changed, my niece and nephew play by the house and we are the ones knitting next to the chimney….
The house was recently chosen as a location for a TV ad for Spanish department store El Corte Ingles, featuring some of the country’s most well known actresses - Blanca Suarez, Aitana Sanchez-Gijon and Goya Toledo. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited seeing an ad!
Do you know what made me happiest of all? That my grandfather would be proud of the fact that La Dehesa remains in the family and we enjoy it together.
Friday, March 15th, 2013