When Serge Castella and Jason Flinn took on the project to renovate, restore, and reinvent this house on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, they did something few might think possible: They turned the house upside down. The interiors of the 1920s residence were filled with so much gilt and trompe l’oeil effects, painted finishes and shadowy patinas that had developed over nearly a century that Castella admits, “We’d never before seen so much stuff like that. We weren’t accustomed to working in such environments.” So, as Flinn, Castella’s partner in life and in profession, remarks, “We tipped the house upside down-metaphorically, of course-to see which physical decorations would fall out.”
What resulted from the big shake out was the house’s most powerful design element, something not found in any of the rooms or on the exterior of the palatial home. The sea. “Before we began our work on the house,” says Flinn, “you didn’t notice the sea from most of the rooms. It was our desire to bring the water into the house, anywhere and everywhere.” As Castella adds, “The real luxury element here is the view of the Mediterranean. We wanted that vista to be the home’s protagonist, not our work.”
It was a far different era when this house was built atop its cliffside site. As one of many equally grand and grandiose houses that line the coastline, mile upon mile, this dwelling was once used by its original owners for more formal entertaining. It’s easy to conjure up images of those eras-ago black-tie late-night dinner parties, salons, dress-up holiday celebrations evocative of Alfred Hitchcock films and 1930s drawing room comedies. “We wanted to maintain the history of this house but keep its inherent culture,” Castella stresses, “while also allowing it to be more accessible. The goal was to invite a new generation inside and make them feel welcome.”
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INTERIOR DESIGN BY SERGE CASTELLA AND JASON FLINN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY EUGENI PONS
PRODUCED BY PATRICIA KETELSEN
WRITTEN BY DAVID MASELLO
This story appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of MILIEU.