The Spanish island of Menorca (Mallorca’s neighbor in the Balearic archipelago) is home to what may be the world’s first plant nursery to be converted into a vacation compound—and without major construction or tear downs. The private setup is the work of
Quintana Partners, a trio of designers—Benito Escat Diaz; his son, Benito Escat Velez; and his son’s partner, Pol Castells—who have artfully remodeled a number of historic houses on the island and are known for their poetic celebrations of the past.
The spread belongs to Benito Escat Diaz himself, and, as you’ll see, there’s plenty of room for family and friends (plus full evidence of the property’s former life as a garden center).
Photography courtesy of
Above: Rustic gates and the original stucco wall mark the entrance. “Vivers” means nursery and Fornells is the name of the harborside village. Above: “The garden center opened in the 1970s to provide plants—mostly palms and cacti—to the new neighborhood that was being built at the time in Fornells,” explains Pol. Above: The main structure, formerly home to the shop, offices, and a potting room, is now “a summer chilling house,” says Pol. “We turned what was there into living spaces.” The wooden shutters and paneled doors are original. Above: A wicker pergola provides shade and a deck adjoins a large covered patio with a concrete floor.
The wooden front deck, which the designers built with wood recycled from an old barn, is the compound’s main gathering spot. The canvas sling chairs were bought on Menorca; for sourcing and more ideas, see
Gardenista 100: The Five Best Folding Canvas Deck Chairs. Above: After removing “four tons of plastic and doing a lot of cleaning,” the designers set up a shaded space for dining, lounging, and napping. The furnishings are Quintana Partners’ signature mix of contemporary and flea market pieces refurbished with patina preserved. Above: What had been the main sales room is now a cozy kitchen with a potting table as an island. The designers introduced a stainless-steel refrigerator and range, and put the existing wood counter and bins to good use. Above: Left-behind garden tools hang from a metal rod in the living room, which is separated from the kitchen by a wooden folding screen. All of the rooms are linked railroad-style and open out to the deck. Above: Agaves, prickly pears, and other succulents grow around quonset hut greenhouses. Above: The structures now shelter a collection of 1980s and ’90s trailers (bought in Barcelona) that serve as extra guest quarters, each with its own wooden deck. “With the caravans, there’s room for up to 16 people,” says Pol, “and they’re easy to move, so they can be rolled to another place on the property for the night.” Above: Quintana Partners installed a swimming pool at the bottom of a field and edged one side with a cactus border. Above: The designers reorganized some of the plantings, but all were already there. The clay soil, Pol notes, is “very good for the skin.” Above: An old water tank is now a sandy-floored outdoor movie theater.
Take a look at more remodels by Quintana Partners on Menorca: