A renovation in the Andalucian countryside – an update

Back in 2020 we embarked on a journey (maybe naively) to relocate our family to the Andalucian countryside and begin an epic renovation project on a whitewashed agricultural property set in the olive groves of Southern Spain. It was a dream which we were determined to realise. You can read more about the start of our journey in A Place In The Sun magazine from 2020 here.

After a nine month delay due to the pandemic, in early 2021 work finally began on reforming phase one of our project. The house needed some adjustments to the internal configuration and I have to admit the demolition phase was one of my favourite parts of the process so far. The bathroom was a (possibly) record breaking 90cm wide, creating a little obstacle course through the WC and basin to the smallest bath I have ever seen. Once the house was stripped back to the stone and the demolition of walls complete we could begin with the rebuild phase.

Our casita needed a full rewire and connecting to the electrical grid, hours were spent going back and forth to negotiate with more and more paperwork each time. Every time we were told there was one more piece of paperwork needed, I can honestly say this was the most disheartening phase of the renovation process. From the full rewire being completed and ready to connect it took 10 months before we finally had a power supply to the house. We hugely underestimated the time and cost of this project element of the build, it just shows how different processes can be from country to country. If you’re reading this and want to embark on your own expat renovation project in an area you aren’t fully familiar with please learn from our experience and give yourselves plenty of time, feel free to drop me a DM or email to chat through any issues you’re having.

All of our plumbing needed to be replaced and reconfigured next, mainly to add hot water pipes as the house didn’t previously have any, clearly that tiny bath mentioned above was an ice bath. This was all completed in good time and our beautiful new wood windows and shutters were fitted securing the house from the elements. Now our wonderful contractor, Miguel was ready to send in his tiler and plasterer. The speed and accuracy of the work these two trades amazed me, something Spain does
well for sure. We chose a traditional hexagonal floor tile throughout the house, handmade in a factory 40 minutes down the road. This instantly brought character, warmth and colour into the space. In the extended bathroom we chose an off-white handmade rectangular tile and laid it in a double herringbone pattern up the walls. This will be the canvas for a walk in shower area and a hand built basin stand to house the marbe sink. We have chosen brushed brass hardware fitted flush in the walls to give a seamless, uncluttered feel to this small space.

With these elements designed and partly installed we focussed on some DIY, so many elements of the house were replaced that we really wanted to salvage some of it’s original features. We stripped and restored the original doors ourselves, mounting one as a sliding door on the bathroom and painting them all in a matt off-white. We then turned our focus to the kitchen, we have quite a big space for an otherwise small property and wanted to create a sociable kitchen diner using as many local materials
as possible. We have chosen a local Andalucian granite for the worktops and traditional oven and hob. The sink and tap are both gold to add a contemporary touch and the cupboard doors will be a matt, stone colour. We plan to tile a splashback and build a seamless extractor hood above the hob.

I can’t wait to share more and reveal some completed rooms in the coming months. If you’d like to see more inspiration for this renovation check out my Pinterest board here

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Natalie Lockwood Interiors has been showcased at Grand Designs Live and Ideal Home Show as well as being featured in national newspapers and magazines.