Home improvement is now a billion-dollar industry. Inspired by reformation programs such as Grand Designs and Extreme Makeover, would-be property moguls the world over are ploughing small fortunes into ‘fixer-uppers’ in the hope of building their dream home — or making a tidy profit by flipping the refurbished abode.
If you-re looking to join the reformation rush, few countries in the world are more attractive than Spain. The Spanish home improvement industry is already exceeding expectations, growing by 3% this year, and it’s no wonder given the trove of beautiful homes dotted around the country, waiting to be woken from their slumber and refurbished to former glories.
Spain is well below other European countries when it comes to average property prices. In fact, the average 120 sq m home in the UK is around five times more expensive than its Spanish equivalent and this is reflected at the higher end of the market, too. However, the country’s property market is gradually gathering strength, after being decimated by the global economic downturn 10 years ago. With prices tipped to increase by a further 3% in 2020, now is the ideal time to invest; the recent boom in the Airbnb market only provides further incentive, offering a huge market for those buying to let.
But if you’re thinking of starting your dream home improvement project beneath the Iberian sun, it’s best to be prepared. In this article we’ll talk you through the various reformation options at your disposal, and show you some of the many properties that would suit your requirements.
How redesign can improve a property
As well as its food and exuberant lifestyle, Spain is famous the world over for its architecture. Those graceful archways aged tenderly by the sun, those stucco finishes, those juliet balconies with their ornate railings and weathered wooden doors … little wonder the vernacular has left such a distinctive imprint on the world’s consciousness.
But as the digital revolution gathers pace, it’s time to give these classic properties a 21st-century twist. Spain is full of classic, rambling country piles which could benefit from a modern makeover, and Lucas Fox’s portfolio bears this out.
Take our huge nine-bed villa in the gated Madrid community of Diplomaticos. From the sheen of its marble floors to the ivory which has conquered its outer walls, the property proclaims opulence and exclusivity at every town. Now, though, it’s ripe for renewal. With a bit of a redesign, it can provide the ideal home for a big family — or a hotel for the most discerning of tourists.
We’ve got similar properties all over the country. In the westerly region of Galicia, famous for its wild landscape and fresh seafood, we have a charming mountaintop stonehouse with a granary, a waterwell and myriad other historical features. In Valencia, we offer a breezy apartment whose terrace needs a bit of work but is otherwise in outstanding condition. And in Catalonia we’ve got a whole bunch of family homes, including a five-bed mansion in the party town of Sitges with its own cottage and swimming pool, and a sprawling five-bed in the town of Castelldefels which was built by the owners themselves. Each of these properties comes in at under a million euros, a price which wouldn’t even get you an apartment in many parts of London or Paris.
In most cases, the properties are already extremely sound and don’t need a major reformation. Take our spacious four-bed apartment in Alicante, situated on the uber-chic Explanada promenade with panoramic views over the city’s port. The apartment is perhaps a little dated inside, but offers stacks of potential for someone prepared to invest in new fittings. Similar opportunities are available in Malaga and Barcelona; the properties are well-designed and beautifully laid out, so all they require is a slight update.
In some instances, however, the entire structure of the home can be transformed, with a redesign which adds new features externally as well as internally. Just outside Castelldefels, we’ve got a huge family home with its own pool and garden, which can be extended to include a second house. Many other properties come with huge estates, ideal for extensions and additional buildings.
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Properties that can be decorated to your needs
In addition to the aforementioned properties, which provide a fabulous opportunity for reformation buffs, our portfolio includes a fleet of brand-new properties which don’t require major redesign but instead provide a blank canvas for decoration.
In Madrid, for example, we’ve got a gorgeous two-bed in the sought-after barrio of Chamberli which is fitted with top-notch appliances, floor-to-ceiling windows and floors fashioned from imported Swedish wood. The property’s modernist, utilitarian design means it can be tailored to your taste — whatever form and function that takes.
If you fancy a life more scenic, we offer plenty of opportunities outside the Spanish capital, from our spacious apartment in Valencia (equipped with its own gym and sundeck) to a series of villas on Marbella’s Golden Mile, in the heart of this beloved tourist enclave. Built to the most forward-thinking design standards, their open-plan spaces and crisp alabaster exteriors would suit a variety of design styles including Bauhaus, Nautical and Urban Modern.
It’s a similar story in Ibiza, where we offer a whole range of new-builds designed to be moulded to their owner’s decoration predilections. Our portfolio covers Ibiza’s most exclusive areas, including the rugged hamlet of Roca Llisa and the wild beach of Cala Llenya, and straddles the full spectrum of styles, from a modernist apartment opposite Talamanca Beach to a rustic penthouse whose woodland setting provides the ideal pretext for a Scandinavian makeover. The community of new-builds at Cala Comte, designed by architect Victor Rahola, is just as breathtaking.
Modern home interior with classic facade: Our renovated buildings
Ok, we’ve talked about the home improvement kings (and queens) who see every property as a work in progress, and the home interior ninjas who can transform a room with a single cushion or lampshade. But what about those who don’t need the hassle of a renovation or decoration job, and want a house that’s ready to go?
Well don’t worry guys, Lucas Fox has got you covered, too. We offer a number of properties which have recently undergone extensive renewal projects, combining traditional opulence with a very modern feel.
If you fancy a bit of glamorous city life, you’ll enjoy our 146 sq m apartment in central Madrid, which has been completely refurbished by the current owners with forensic attention to detail. At the other end of the size scale, we’ve got a five-bed in Catalonia which was built by the owners themselves and is still in outstanding condition, with no need for amendment (although if you fancy making changes, that’s up to you!)
Then there’s our penthouse in Girona, at the tip of the Costa Brava. The property is situated atop a historic building the heart of Girona’s old town and takes its design cue from the timeless beauty that surrounds it. Yet its interior fittings are so 21st century they could have been designed by Elon Musk, providing digital functionality as well as old-world Mediterranean charm. If you like this one, there are plenty of other listings adapted to your taste; our revivalist villa in Platja d’Aro is so beautiful it’s almost a shame someone has to live in it.
In the end, it’s about deciding which option suits you best, whether you want to mount a full renewal, an internal touch-up or nothing at all. Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages (not to mention its own budget). However we can guarantee that Lucas Fox has something to suit you, no matter your reformation plans.