For Celia Muñoz, the prospect of purchasing a holiday home in her birthland of Granada posed a head-versus-heart conundrum. The London-based fashion designer and founder of kidswear label, La Coqueta, was a frequent holidayer in the Andalusia region, but every time she visited with her husband and their brood of five, she’d always board with family. So naturally, the idea of staying in a home of her own, even and especially with her folks so close by, was a bit of a doozy.
The more she let the idea marinate, the more tempting it became. And ultimately, she and her husband decided to commit to the plan, scale up their search, and throw their worries out of the window. They could sense the Andalusian sun calling, and there was no way they’d let it set on them.
Luckily, it obliged. Their search led them to a sunny, 15th-century hillside home in the vibrant neighbourhood of Albaycin. The only catch? It was gloriously tumbledown. Still, the couple saw potential—and glorious views of the Alhambra, a storied 13th-century palace that was reconquered by Catholic kings in the fifteenth century. They knew right away that this home was written in their stars.
Once they put down the deposit and signed the papers, the couple got to work right away. They tapped architect Ignacio Quemada, landscape architect John Hoyland and Paris-based interior designer Victor Cadene, to help them transform the four original Moorish houses on the property into a single, dozen-bedroom fortress. Celia and her husband were particular about replenishing the home’s skin and bones and making additions that held a mirror to the original architecture. And so, the walls were given a fresh lime wash and the decor—composed of 18th-century French antiques, armoires from Rose Uniacke and The Conran Shop, Suzani throws, and plenty of vintage finds sourced from 1stDibs and Selency—was curated with one foot in the past.
Along the way, the development work unearthed more than a few surprises: in the basement, the team uncovered Roman ruins, including 30m of gallerias and a bust of the emperor Hadrian which has since attracted archaeologists from all over the world.
From belonging to Catholic monarchs in the 15th century, to then being ceded to the Marqués del Zenete, to becoming the property of aristocratic families from Granada in the 18th century, and then finally being turned into a tenement house with a coal store in the basement and a hairdresser’s parlour on the second floor, the home has quite a history. “At the end of the ’70s, the home passed into the hands of the family before us. The history of our house is fascinating, and its heritage is manifested in every corner,” says Celia. For her and her family, the home is a treasure trove that will outlive its owners: for now, they are merely its custodians.
[Images courtesy of Ignacio Quemada. Photography by Inna Kostukovsky.]