In one of the many narrow streets of the old part of Palma there is an old, beautiful house that recently went through a thorough renovation. Behind the bright stone walls and a large wooden door you find Yvonne and Richard Eklunds stunning apartment, a dream home they created from scratch.
It is a mix of antique and modern. Dark wood, with beams and stucco ceilings. In every room there are glass doors with small French balconies. It has everything one could want from an apartment, but it is far from what Yvonne and Richard had in mind from the beginning.
– The plan was to buy a summer house in Sweden, Yvonne says and smiles.
Having finished the renovation of their house in Sweden, Yvonne and Richard were searching for a new project and were looking for a holiday home to buy and renovate. Since both of them have been working in the real estate business for a long time they had a good insight in the market and knew quite well what they were looking for. But it still turned out to be a little more difficult than expected.
– We are quite aware of what is reasonable to pay, and many times the bidding went far beyond what we imagined, Yvonne says.
After seeing several properties being sold to, what they thought was, an unreasonable price, they started to question it all.
– Then suddenly one evening at the dinner table with our son we asked ourselves “Does it have to be in Sweden?”, Yvonne says.
“Well, no”, the answer felt surprisingly obvious.
They immediately thought of Spain. Barcelona at first, but they quickly felt that Mallorca was closer to the heart. And so the search began.
– The plan was to find something around 75 square meters, furnished, with a bit of sea views and maybe a rooftop terrace or something similar. But…that is not how it turned out, says Richard.
– No, it is not, says Yvonne with a laugh.
Yvonne and Richard went to Palma again and again. Sometimes as often as every three weeks for viewings of new properties.
– We looked at many really nice ones, but nothing felt like, you know… perfect. So we kept on searching.
And then one day it suddenly appeared right in front of their eyes.
– We were staying at a down town hotel in La Lonja and one day there was a “For Sale” sign on a balcony just across the street and we became curious. We called our real estate agent who arranged a viewing the same day.
The apartment had been abandoned for 36 years and had neither running water nor electricity. The “kitchen” consisted of a hose in the wall and the bathrooms were unusable. But Yvonne and Richard did not see any of that. They saw the rustic beams, the high ceilings and the open spaces with the old, beautiful tiled floor. This would be a renovation dream.
– We realized there and then that this was what we had been looking for. We just did not know it. As soon as we stepped into the apartment, we said “We want this one!”.
Suddenly, they were facing a new project, far bigger than they imagined.
– I think it is a good thing that we have the experience from the business and from our own renovation project, otherwise we probably would not have dared to get ourselves into this, Yvonne says and Richard agrees.
– We knew that it would be a lot of work. But it felt worth it, we knew the result would be amazing. We also realized why none of the other apartments had felt right. We had been looking for this one!
In May 2015 the apartment was theirs and in mid June the renovation began. To help them with everything needed, they had a project manager in Palma and many of the decisions were taken over the phone.
– It’s a little scary to decide how a 216 square meter apartment should look like in just a few hours, Richard says.
Thankfully, they did have a pretty clear picture of how they wanted their Mallorca home and they are more than satisfied with the result.
– We have done the complete opposite in this apartment, compared to our house in Sweden. There everything is the same style. Same colours, same floor. Here we just went wild, Yvonne says with a laugh.
The apartment’s three bedrooms have been restored, the two bathrooms have been completely renovated and a large kitchen has been built. The living room has been preserved, but the walls and doors have new paint. The renovation is almost done, but one of the rooms will be turned into a library.
Palma has already got a special place in Yvonne and Richard’s hearts and although the apartment was initially bought as a holiday home, they now plan to spend more time here in the future.
– The more time you spend here, the less you miss home. You learn to find your way in the city, getting to know new friends, find your own treasures when it comes to restaurants and beaches, Yvonne says and continues:
– Palma is such a kind city. So safe. I have never felt scared or uncomfortable here. People are warm and helpful and it makes you feel at home in any way.
– To come here on holiday is one thing, but to have something of your own is a special feeling. When I leave here, I always know I will return. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Text: Maria Strömqvist
Photo: Ida Carlsson