Occupying a prime location in La Zagaleta, El Ciprés is a thoroughly contemporary villa with a timeless balance between style and intelligent design in which the practical becomes part of the aesthetic.

El Ciprés is tucked away in a private cul de sac in the already select country club of La Zagaleta. As the gate opens, revealing a sloped driveway lined with tall cypress trees, it becomes clear where the home’s name comes from. In the evening, this illuminated driveway is all the more impressive, especially as the modern forecourt trains the eye upon the sleek lines of the villa’s architecture and two shimmering Japanese-inspired ponds flanking the path to the modern yet imposing front door.

Though contemporary this is not a white cubist property but rather a home with its own look, feel and character. El Ciprés has a different aspect and ambience because it is born from a different concept, a different inspiration. The latter was originally conceived by the owner, interpreted by the architect, Diego Tobal, and then developed and nurtured further in a close and fruitful collaboration between the two.

“I enjoy working with a creative client with a strong sense of aesthetics, and this project was very satisfying in that regard,” says Diego Tobal. “The client was very much involved with the concept, evolution and detail of this beautiful home, and her sense of perfectionism was inspiring as it led us to create something truly special that is not frequently found here. Special homes come from this kind of inspiration and creative collaboration, and this is no exception to the rule.”

A Character of its Own

El Ciprés is a large, luxurious villa, featuring eight bedrooms and a staff apartment with two bedrooms, while covering a built area of 2,560m2 including the many panoramic terraces, and yet there is no sense of overbearing dimensions or voluminous construction. In contrast; everything is so beautifully proportioned in this property that not only does the villa itself look stylish and perfectly in balance with its surroundings, but every single room is at once spacious and intimate.

This mastery of space, light and proportions is at the heart of architecture, for it creates the liveable spaces even before aesthetic and decorative details can be decided. The high, six-metre ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, doors and also wardrobes found throughout the property speak of quality, practicality and also a perfect harmony of dimensions that makes each and every room a pleasure to be in, whether it is connected or you close the modern dark wood doors for more privacy.

The unique treatment of the villa is not only visible in its interior distribution, but also in the design and detailing of the exterior, which features not white walls with darker toned stone but matt grey walls accented by white stone sections. Instead of the now-common flat roof, the modern angles are softened by blending them with Mediterranean rooftiles recycled from old buildings. The result is a more measured home with true architectural credentials.

Inside and Out

The fact that this villa was born of a great love for design matched with a passion for detail and functionality is visible in everything, including the garden. Where many almost automatically lay out a semitropical garden with the almost obligatory palm tree, El Ciprés evokes a truly Andalusian atmosphere with its soft green lawn flanked by cork oaks, Mediterranean heather and pampas grass that sways beautifully in the wind.

“I believe that palm trees are more suitable to the coastal areas,” says the current owner, who personally guided the project from its conception through to conclusion. “When you’re in a beautiful mountainous setting like La Zagaleta it makes more sense to want to blend in with it, so we created one of the most level plots in the area and made the most of the fantastic sea and forested hillside views by designing a garden that blends in with its surroundings.”

The result is that the surrounding landscape looks like an extension of the villa’s grounds, thus amplifying the sense of space, privacy and amphitheatrical views framed by a singular cork oak that forms a mesmerising outline against the sky. This focal point adds depth of field to the stunning vistas enjoyed from within the house, its terraces and the rather spectacular modern swimming pool, which too is nothing short of unique.

“To achieve the intention of breaking down the volumes and creating a luxury villa that blends into its surroundings we allowed the layout of the villa to be inspired by the location, the views and the topography of the land,” says Diego Tobal. “Instead of raising the house up from ground level, as is standard, we concentrated the main living areas on the ground floor, with the main bedroom suites and also the spa lower down, but every single room and area has natural light and views. Each level has its own garden and special features that make the interiors very appealing.”

There is an easy symmetry to this villa that is not rigid or overbearing, but flows subtly throughout, adding to the sense of balance and harmony that El Ciprés exudes. The main living areas – the beautifully spacious and panoramic living room and the wonderfully stylish and comfortable kitchen/family room that really ‘brings the kitchen into the home’ – both flow on to terraces and the main garden and pool area. The brises soleil that reduce solar glare and add architectural details also form the stylistic inspiration for the ‘floating’ terrace covers that give the design further dimension.

The swimming pool is a study in architectural beauty raised above the level of most private villas. Indeed, this 20-metre long feature is sleek, modern and sophisticated, offering a beautiful infinity perspective that merges with the views on the horizon and seems to create a ‘hovering’ structure along with the 100m2 guest pavilion that features space for a bar, dining, lounging and sunbathing area, with the barbecue, storage and toilets neatly tucked away on the other side.

When Style Becomes Very Liveable

It is said that form follows function, and in El Ciprés style and practicality are interwoven through a central aesthetic concept and focus on detail – both visual and functional. The ground floor also features a series of bedroom suites with the same matt Turkish stone, solid wooden doors, walk-in dressing areas and almost concealed wardrobes and cupboards that can be found throughout the house.

The same is true of the guest suite, which features a kitchen and lounge/dining room, two bedrooms, a private terrace enjoying the same Zen-like views of the wooded hillsides as most of the suites, and of course an independent entrance.

The décor both inside and out includes stylish Italian and Spanish furniture, decorative pieces from modern designers and gorgeous 21st century chandeliers in the living room and kitchen by Portuguese design brand DelightFULL. “The furniture was chosen to complement the architecture and materials of the house,” says the owner, whose input also features in such practical elements as sun tubes that bring natural light into the bathrooms, staff entrances and functional independent distribution designed for optimal privacy and convenience, and air conditioning units that are concealed by modern dark wooden panels designed to make this practical feature a beautiful part of the home’s design.

There are no long, boring corridors in this villa, with the upper passageway coming to life with white stone and matt grey finishing, panoramic windows and a section offering views to the mountains on one side and the inner courtyard on the other that creates the feeling of walking on a bridge.

The same is true of the lower level passageway that skirts the courtyard to offer a mesmerising perspective view to the last of the bedroom suites, all of which enjoy their own terraces, views and garden access. This is especially true of the luxurious master suite, which is entered through a large walk-in dressing room, with a panoramic bathroom beautifully finished in richly veined matt brown marble and a private terrace and garden with imposing sea vistas all to itself.

The lower level is also the domain of the spa, reached through one of the home’s stellar design elements; it’s wood and glass staircase, which appears suspended in air as it contrasts against the light flooding in from the courtyard. A luxurious modern area of pampering and relaxation that also includes a gym, the spa centres upon an indoor heated swimming pool fit for a luxury resort hotel, with private terrace and garden as well as a hammam, changing rooms, cold plunge pool and sauna with a view. As in other parts of the house, this area can be discreetly screened off for optimal privacy. The spa area also features toilets and treatment rooms, as well as a large space with an existing plan for an entertainment area, bar, cinema and wine cellar.

“El Ciprés is a great family orientated house, and it’s designed to be cosy, to be flexible, allowing for different uses to happen over time and it ticks all the boxes in relation to quality, technical, design, functionality and leisure,” says Diego Tobal. “It is a luxurious modern villa that combines the very best of style and well thought-out functionality.”

The property is offered for sale by Panorama real estate agency in Marbella. Christopher Clover, CEO of Panorama says: “In addition to being in a stunning location, this is one the best designed homes we have ever had the pleasure of offering for sale. The villa has many unique features that are not easy to find in other properties, such as its original and spacious kitchen, the meticulous level garden in front of the south façade, the beautiful pool with the reflection of the sky and its impressive complete spa area with indoor pool to name a few. This really is a modern villa with a difference.”


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