With the original stonework revealed, the duo began their own interventions, learning new techniques as they tackled surfaces by hand. Walls were slathered in natural tadelakt, a waterproof Moroccan plaster. “It’s soft to the touch, beautiful, quite minimalist,” notes Baibabaeva, comparing the labor-intensive process to ceramics on account of its drying and smoothing steps. Jokes Strang, “We just figured it out for ourselves, YouTube video in one hand, polishing stone in the other.” The arrival of their son, Ferran, now three, required some midnight shifts and clever childcare solutions, such as a ceiling-suspended baby jumper where he could bounce while Mom and Dad toiled away. (Their second child is due any day.)
Floors inside and out are covered in their take on traditional pebble mosaics, with radiating patterns that call to mind the swirling lines of Zen rock gardens or the geometries of mandalas. Their bespoke mortar—a mix of cement and local sand—achieves just the right hue, balancing the palette while evoking the Mallorcan landscape. “As designers we seek out hardworking materials and surfaces that have longevity but that also have a hand-touched organic quality,” explains Strang, his other half chiming in poetically: “The finishes are the decor.”
For furnishings, the couple repurposed whatever they could find on the property—a strategy born out of both financial necessity and environmental consciousness. “It was the cheapest way, but our intention was also to keep things true to the land and the spirit of the place,” says Baibabaeva. Old baskets were recycled as shades for sconces, a hollowed-out boulder (once used for pressing wine) was rolled up the hill for a cocktail table, and wood from a giant wine barrel was salvaged for the dining-table top. Nature, too, proved an invaluable source. The couple incorporated tree trunks and limbs throughout the house, whether as a support for the office’s floating bench or as shelves in their bedroom, which was once a hayloft. There, a vertically installed branch doubles as a visual marker for Strang, indicating where his six-foot-two frame can no longer clear the angled ceiling.