Ca Na Lola: Let it Flow

Ca Na Lola: Let it Flow
class="Body">What started as a love story at 31,000ft sprouted roots back on terra firma for Paloma Black and Juan Muñoz. The pair met and spent almost 15 years flying all over the world as cabin crew with Iberia, eventually deciding to hang up their wings and settle in Ibiza, where Paloma was born and raised. The adventures in love and work continued on the white isle where they started a family and launched Piscinas de Cemento, a business specialising in signature swimming pools made using Juan’s own brand of cement developed after years of self-study and research. It’s a venture that continues to take them on winding, cross-planet journeys, though it’s the neighbouring Balearic island of Mallorca that’s demanded most of the couple’s attention of late.
Because here, among the lush, rolling beauty of the sprawling campo, just 40km from Palma de Mallorca, lies Ca Na Lola, a construction project built from the ground up that’s been plied with the pair’s expertise and care. “We have been helping people to do beautiful projects for a long time now,” explains Juan. “So we knew that the next step was to do it for ourselves.”

But the process unfurled a lot more quickly than they’d imagined, with a plot falling into their laps organically. One day while driving, Juan received a phone call from an estate agent after a friend of a friend mentioned he was looking for a space on which to build, and she was offering precisely what they needed to embark on this new path. “We knew that it was eventually going to happen but we didn’t realise it was going to happen in that exact moment,” Juan laughs. “It was exactly what we were looking for. A space that would allow us to build with minimum impact.”

A three-bedroomed, one-storey property that cleverly connects multiple living spaces while seamlessly blending into the surrounding landscape, Ca Na Lola is a picture of pastoral perfection characterised by an earthen colour palette and laid-back ambience. But the beauty of this home goes beyond appearances. Certified as a Passive House (PassivHaus), an internationally recognised, performance-based energy standard in construction that, through quality insulation, superior windows, heat recovery, and airtight fixtures hugely reduces a building’s ecological footprint, Ca Na Lola is as easy on the environment as it is on the eye. 

“By its nature, construction cannot be ecological,” Juan affirms. “But we can still try and maximise efficiency.” That means that cooking appliances inside the home must be electric; water from baths and showers is repurposed; and even plug sockets are insulated. “Let’s say that when it gets a bit chilly in October and you need to heat the house,” says Paloma. “You can switch on the heating for maybe half an hour and it will retain that heat for the entire day.”

In Scandinavia, Passive Houses have been a common occurrence for around a decade now, with entire developments popping up across different cities in various guises. But the concept has been less embraced in the Mediterranean, where more humid climates demand a different approach, including increased solar power and specific property orientation, all of which need to be officially certified. There’s no denying that it adds further layers of complexity to an already complicated new-build project, but the couple were committed to a luxurious but sustainable ethos right from the start.

“It stretches even to the timber that we used,” explains Juan. “All the pine is very high quality, and people from the local town own the forest, which means that every time a tree is cut down they are making money. So, of course, people take care of the forest — there are more trees now than there were 20 years ago.” There is a respectful mindset that underpins Ca Na Lola, and it extends beyond place and practice to include people too.

Out in the stunning garden, almond and fig trees heavy with the bounty of fruit are joined by fellow indigenous, drought-resistant plants. For this element of the design, the couple enlisted the help of Ibiza-based, esteemed landscaper Valerio Miragoli, who specialises in alfresco spaces that demand less from the land. “He’s designed a beautiful garden that’s bursting with plants from the island,” Paloma says. “I just absolutely love it. It’s my favourite part of the house.”

But at Ca Na Lola, there’s purposefully very little separating indoors and outdoors, meaning you can make the most of quintessential Mediterranean living. At dusk, for instance, the living room is flooded with golden light, the bright setting sun framed by a large, arched window.

“We moved the house a little bit to be able to capture that light,” laughs Paloma. “The sun sets right in the middle of it. It’s spectacular.” The result of such attention to detail is palpable in the walls at Ca Na Lola, which radiate an innate sense of peacefulness.

“It’s hard to find words to describe how it feels when you’re there,” Juan muses. “It’s like time stops. And the stars! You get a 180-degree view of the sky.” Patience, persistence and meticulousness have percolated every stage of the build here, and consequently, the house embodies calm. It’s a place for resting and recharging, for connecting with nature, and for digging into the soul of what it means to live a sustainable life on this sun-baked earth we walk on.

“Our secret is that we don’t like to fight; we like to find solutions,” Paloma says. “So we try and find a resolution in which everyone is happy. That attitude has fed into the house as well, and you can feel it.”

“As cabin crew, we spent a lot of time with a lot of people over many years,” Juan concludes. “We learnt that you can’t change situations but as human beings, you can adapt to that situation. If it goes, go with it; if it doesn’t, don’t force it. It’s all about letting things flow.”