Peep show: Trasierra, Andalusia

Last week I was lucky enough to join lovely Charlotte Scott, British interior designer turned indomitable hotel owner , and her fun-loving progeny in their dreamy family home -cum-hotel, Trasierra, perched in the Sierra Norte just over an hour’s drive from Seville.

The house is breathtaking, and the result of years and years of love and hard work from Charlottle and her family, who have slowly but surely transformed it from a crumbling ruin with no running water into a dream world of rustic mayhem and unbridled natural beauty… with swallows nesting in the old chapel and Luna the donkey plodding happily around in the sprawling grounds. So powerful is the charm of the place that an inexplicable number of stray dogs turn up at the gates each year to stake their very own spot.

Nestled in a rambling 350 acre estate, parts of the house date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, while the rest has slowly been built up along the years. Until 150 years ago it was a winegrowing estate, and then, until the mid forties,  a thriving olive estate – evidence of which is still present today in the giant olive pots dotted haphazardly around.

When the Scotts stumbled upon it in the seventies it had been abandoned for forty years and they gradually restored it and installed electricity, phone lines and the rest. Each year, a new room or nook or cranny has been added or excavated and it continues to grow, organically, into the unkempt Andalusian surroundings.

The interior style is a unique fusion of English tradition and unfussy Mediterranean charm. Warm cornflower blues, in their masses, stand out against great whitewashed walls, punctuated with hand woven baskets, huge terracotta bowls brimming with lemons and other eclectic finds from around the world. Travelling often to India, Charlotte has a weakness for colourful textiles and antique trinkets… One that I cannot help sharing.

It’s hard to pick one, and the converted chapel above is a hot contender, but my favourite room has to be the bedroom below, whose hallway is bathed in an electric blue light from a pane of coloured glass in the ceiling. Strewn with old animal hides and every shade of blue imaginable, it is another world entirely.

Trasierra occupies a truly unique space somewhere between cosy family house and luxurious boutique hotel – and anyone who can should go and check it out. It is brimming with bohemian character and charm, and nature is waiting at every turn. Factor in yoga and hill walking with Charlotte’s youngest daughter Amber and dangerously good food by her sister Gioconda, and you may never come back.

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