Now is the time for dreaming. As the twilights begin to stretch out their legs, daring to bare their shoulders and let down their hair in the golden hour, we too begin to feel the tidal pull of a new season. With this sense of coming lightness also comes a giddy expansiveness, a feeling that *things* might be *possible*: that valises might be packed, that long dinners around tables full of dear hearts might be forthcoming, and that dipping our precious bodies into new and far-off salt-kissed seas might be on the agenda. Now is the time for dreaming.

When we dream of this limitless "what might be", it has the sun-dappled, fuzzy-edged quality of snapshots: wet footprints on terra-cotta tiles, wavering palm-tree shadows on washed linen, a rocky cliff that makes its way on tip-toes down to a secret ledge jutting into the emerald sea, the crash of waves, the smell of oranges, the sound of laughter and the wind in the olive trees and Debussy on the turntable. In short, when we dream, we dream of Casa Balandra. 

The sprawling and magical "experiential guest house" and creative artist's residency on the island of Mallorca is itself the dream of two Mallorcan sisters, Claudia and Isabella del Olmo, and their dear friend Cecile Denis—or as the sisterhood calls each other—Clau, Isa & Ceci. Until we can visit ourselves (save some date for us, sisters) we talked with Clau about the connectivity of creativity and ease, the rhythm and pull of the sea, and the powerful woman-energy required to build the beautiful stuff of dreams.






The Casa Balandra house itself is spectacular and seems like it must have quite a few stories to tell in its whitewashed walls. Can we get a quick history of the Casa and who/how you found yourselves building this place in this space in this moment?

The house is actually the house I was born into. My sister was only three when she moved in, so we grew up here...which means that every single corner of the house is flooded by memories and stories. Actually, when the realtor showed my mom the house, he thought she would hate it. The house had been on the market for years and years and had had many viewers...but none could see past the overgrown gardens and forgotten interiors. As soon as my mom walked into the courtyard she knew the house was magic. Ever since then, she, our dad, our grandad, and many others helped do up the house and make it into a home. Eventually my sister and I both moved away, my parents found an apartment in the city and put the house up for rent kind of lost its magic. So when we had the idea to use the house as the jumping off point for this very special dream-space, we came back in January of last year and that's what we focused on: the magic. We took out the odd, old pieces of furniture, gave the walls a new lick of paint, and made it the kind of space we'd want to truly be in. 


Casa Balandra is also home to creative artist studios and residencies. What does that look like and what is your vision for it?

We just had our first artist's residency in November and it was everything we could have hoped for and more. With the residencies, because it's a house, we want people to leave feeling like a family and through them we want to further create a sense of community. Our residencies are interdisciplinary—painters, photographers, sculptors, writers, musicians all inspiring each other—and in the future, we want to explore possibly connecting all past residents, with the idea being that the more people connect, the more collaborations will flow. We think feeling like a part of something is essential to being happy in life, and we really want our residents to feel like Casa Balandra is their home on the island of Mallorca, that they can always come back to.

What makes a good creative space and what makes a good social space? How do you reconcile the two?

I think that in this house it all kind of melts into one. We have studios where you can go create whenever you want a designated space, but often what happened during this residency is we would all congregate at different studios at different points in the day. It's very much a social and sharing residency environment. The studios are quite rough, in a sense that we don't want anyone to come and not feel like they can get messy, because we believe that if that were the case it would restrict creativity and freedom in a sense. We do encourage our residents to use whichever space they feel calls to them in the house, however, so it all becomes a creative workspace of sorts!




Isabella wears the Lou Tee and Kate Jean, and Claudia wears the Audrey Shirt Jacket and Crop Wide Leg Pant.



Lottie wears the June Tier Dress, Claudia in the Audrey Shirt Jacket and Sophie Crop, and Isabella in the Lou Tee and Kate Jean.







How does the rhythm of the sea inform the days at Casa Balandra?

There is definitely a noticeable rhythm of the island and it is SLOW. Everything gets done in good time, which makes it complicated to need anything with urgency, but really makes it beautiful when you can allow yourself to get carried away by it. It means that snoozing your alarm is highly acceptable and having dinner at 10 pm is to be expected.


It seems like a lot of time at Casa Balandra is spent around the table. How many candles is too many candles for a dinner? (just kidding!) But what are some of the best ways to make magic around a table?

There is absolutely no such thing as too many candles. Funnily enough, the other day while setting the table my friend asks me ¨Where is your fire extinguisher? Just in case”...That says it all! I also love colours around a table and old vintage lacy things...But it's also this idea of "Sobremesa", the Spanish term for what happens after the meal is finished. It is literally the act of just sitting around the table, and yet it's so much more than that. It’s so inherent in our culture. I think it represents everything beautiful about this way of life, slowing down and taking your time to talk, connect, and share. That's the recipe for magic.


What is on the Casa soundtrack right now?

Right now we're listening back to a soundtrack I made when I was living in Paris, that includes classical songs by Chopin and Debussy and of course, Paris means Edith Piaf La Vie en Rose.




Follow Claudia and Casa Balandra on Instagram here. Photos by Cecilia Renard






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