Seven years ago, having lived in India for some 20 years, Alice von Baum decided it was time for a change. ‘I love India,’ she says, explaining that initially she had gone there to have a range of clothes made for her boutiques in London and Munich. Later on, as her career expanded to include designing homes and boutique hotels for clients, Goa became her base. Her decision to move was prompted by an approach from a potential buyer, she explains. ‘A new start had its attractions, and I realised I could still spend time in India, overseeing the printing of the block-printed fabrics that are the backbone of my collections.’

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Alice’s career began in couture fashion in Munich and her collections reflect that background with the emphasis on the quality of the fabric and the attention to detail. ‘The ethos of doing things properly was ingrained in me at an early age. Whether I’m designing a house or a garment, it has to be perfect.’

Alice narrowed her search for a new home to the island of Mallorca. ‘After India, I couldn’t live in a country where there isn’t sun, so Germany was out of the question. If one avoids the larger coastal resorts, Mallorca is beautiful and, as everybody I met there said they wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else, I decided this was the place.’


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It took some time, but Alice eventually found just what she wanted. ‘I crisscrossed the island viewing endless properties, which was interesting, as I learnt so much.’ Originally a very small, very old casita or sheep shelter, the house had been extended into a comfortable and solid space. ‘The rural location was lovely, with far-reaching views across fields of almond trees towards the mountains, with grazing sheep and tinkling bells, plus a swimming pool! Knowing I could make improvements, I didn’t hesitate.’

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Just as in India where Alice used the traditional skills of local craftsmen in fresh, contemporary ways, here she has incorporated vernacular details into her new home in an innovative manner. In the entrance hall, she laid out the floor herself setting flat white river stones into white cement. ‘The idea is based on the floors in traditional finca estates, but making it white transformed the space,’ says Alice. ‘It is such a pleasure during the warm weather walking in bare feet on the smooth but slightly uneven surface.’

For the floor in the living room and the adjacent conservatory or winter garden, as she refers to it, Alice approached the long-established Mallorcan company Huguet, with a request for elongated diamond-shaped tiles in a mix of four colours. ‘Bespoke handmade cement tiles and floors are one of the signature features in all my projects,’ she explains. ‘Here they are laid in a random format, which is not the usual way, but I like the less formal look it creates.’


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To give the house a lighter feel, other traditional features such as the dark-stained beams supporting the verandah roof were lightened with a grey-green wash. Similarly, terracotta ceiling tiles and supporting dark timber beams in the bedrooms were painted off-white, creating the light, airy look that Alice wanted. ‘Only two beams remain unpainted and both are part of the original structure.’

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Alice’s most recent enterprise is the result of a collaboration with Mel Paton, an English filmmaker. ‘Mel and I have a shop in Santa Maria, long known for its textiles and Sunday market. In our latest collection, Mel’s outline drawings of Mediterranean plants have been superimposed onto the block prints of my homeware and clothes collections. I see it as a fusion of my lifelong passion for India and the East, blended with elements of the Mediterranean, which sums up how I think of my new home.’

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