Summering in the mountainous Basque Countryhas been a welcome and refreshing constant for Isabel López-Quesada and her family for more than thirty years. “I love the climate, the landscape—and the beaches are beautiful,” says the peripatetic designer, who spends most of the year living and working in Madrid, occasionally traveling to other parts of Europe, the Caribbean or South America as the mood strikes or clients call.
For many years, López-Quesada’s in-laws spent the season on their farm on the Spanish side of the Basque region, but the family later shifted to their other property near the elegant seaside town of Biarritz on the region’s French frontier, where López-Quesada, her husband, Álvaro de Llanza, and their three children have enjoyed the season in an ambiance that is decidedly quieter. Enthralled with the area, the designer and her husband decided it was time to plant their own roots in Biarritz and, in 2005, they purchased a getaway home of their own, where they could settle in for the season. In fact, the designer documents this very discovery in her new book, Isabel López-Quesada: At Home (Vendome Press), which also recounts the experience of finding and designing her other family home in Madrid (featured in MILIEU’s Spring 2017 issue).
Before starting their search, López-Quesada turned to her friend and colleague, the landscape designer Fernando Caruncho, for advice on the right kind of property. “He said, ‘Look for a property that has a lot of sky,’” she recalls. They found the ideal location in the form of a family-owned pheasant farm on a hill surrounded by acres of land. “There was an old nineteenth-century farmhouse and seven hen houses,” recalls López-Quesada. “I fell in love quickly.”
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INTERIOR DESIGN BY ISABEL LÓPEZ-QUESADA
PRODUCED BY LORETO LÓPEZ-QUESADA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIGUEL FLORES-VIANNA
WRITTEN BY JEAN NAYAR
This story appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of MILIEU.