Spanish Style: Mad about Malaga by Tash South

As the nights draw in and the mercury slowly falls, it's sadly time to admit that the Summer of 2016 is on its' way out. To say goodbye, I've put together this bumper blog, crammed full of sunny images, to bid farewell to balmy Summer days... until next year.

This Summer of 2016 we decided to do something new - hire a huge villa in Malaga for my husband's entire extended family - 14 in total!

Holidaying in a group definitely has its' advantages - as a large group, we were able to secure an absolutely amazing eight bedroom Spanish villa, which was so gorgeous and photogenic that it inspired me to write this post.

The handsome Hacienda Clavero

A brief history of Malaga

Malaga Central

Malaga Marina

Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world with close to three thousand years of history. Over the centuries, the port was used to export oil, raisins, wine and salted fish and meat. It is the sixth largest city in Spain, and enjoys the warmest winters in Europe, with average temperatures of around 17C from December to February.

Various natural disasters including earthquakes, plagues and failed harvests hit Malaga in the early 20C and political instability in this period culminated with the Spanish civil war. Malaga suffered terribly during the Civil War, eventually falling to pro-Franco forces on February 8, 1937.

The 1950s were the beginnings of new era for Malaga and the Costa del Sol. Tourism was just beginning to take hold and proving to be an invaluable injection into the local economy.

Wandering around Malaga today is like walking around an open air museum with Phoenician, Roman, Moorish and Christian influences. This rich artistic heritage has placed Malaga firmly on the map as a cultural tourist destination.

Hacienda Clavero

The villa we stayed at was called Hacienda Clavero, which has been owned by the same family for many decades. It's location is up in the hills, about a 15 minute walk from the beach.

The front of Hacienda Clavero

The entrance way with decorative stonework and gates.

The grand gates leading to the entrance.

The grand gates leading to the entrance.

The entrance hallway with traditional tiling and lanterns.

The villa is built in a grand Spanish style and I could tell that much care and pride has been taken in it's upkeep over the years.

Wrought iron detailing on the balconies, windows and gates.

One of the stunning views from Hacienda Clavero

Spanish building style is based on Moorish and Mediterranean architecture and these evocative homes are sometimes called 'Spanish Eclectic' houses in honor of their diverse influences.

The sight-line as you enter the villa draws the eye all the way through the arches to the central courtyard and beyond - to the swimming pool and outdoor kitchen at the rear.

Dark wood banisters and cool marble stairs alongside traditional art and lighting.

A hallway styled in white and dark wood overlooks the central courtyard.

The layouts of Spanish homes are all about making family, friends, and entertaining, comfortable and relaxed. Homes are often arranged around a central courtyard, where shaded galleries block the sun and provide an outdoor living space or kitchen for al fresco dining. More elaborate homes feature towers or turrets, romantic balconies, columns, and wrought iron details. The thick masonry walls coated in stucco and red tile roofs are designed to keep the interior cool.

The central courtyard of Hacienda Clavero

Classic Spanish shutters in red.

The Hacienda is designed so that all the arches line up in perfect symmetry.

Traditional shutters keep the interior cool.

The spiral stairwell leading to the cellar.

Beautiful furniture in the outdoor living area.

A traditional stove in the outdoor kitchen.

Tapas bowls grouped together create a simple display.

Pretty blue details on the sangria jug and bowl.

A beautiful bowl in a traditional pattern.

Traditional Spanish Tiles

How could I write anything on Spain without mentioning the tiles! Even throughout just this one house, many, many great examples could be seen, each room had a different tiled floor, varying in design, colour and finish. Spain has long been an exporter of fabulous tiles and again, the Moorish influences can clearly be seen.

The tiles on the entrance gate pillars tell a story about bull fighting.

The lobby has this striking rectangular design in blue and browns.

An arrow layout dominates the dining room floor.

Even the laundry room isn't left out with these retro-feel tiles!

An abstract layout adorns the floor of the hallway that overlooks the central courtyard.

Maximum drama in one of the en-suite bathrooms with these floor-to-ceiling crimson 3D effect tiles.

Love the tiny blue pops amongst the greys and white.

Outdoor tiling with a more traditional feel.


Although I always find it sad to see the Summer go, it is nice to look forward to the colours of Autumn and preparing a cozy interior for the colder months - which I'll be writing about more in my next post.


All photos my own.
Hacienda Clavero is available on Air BnB.


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Discovering Bert & May’s exquisite new collections at their London Showroom by Tash South

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a guest at Bert & May’s Supper Club, and I was thrilled!
I have been following their growth as a brand and I absolutely love their ranges - having long been a fan of their handmade tiles and use of raw materials.

The Supper Clubs are great relaxed networking events for people in the industry, and they give us the chance to check out all that Bert & May have to offer in their industrial chic showroom and barge right on the canal in Hackney, with the added bonus of a delicious three-course menu, this time catered by Alice Hart and Georgina Fuggle and served on Bert & May’s striking dinnerware.

On arrival we were offered lush cocktails to have whilst we wandered around to take in the various ranges, including tiles, flooring, dinnerware, natural pigment paints, and of course the new kitchen and bathroom collections. I absolutely adored how tactile everything was. I just wanted to touch everything! But with a camera in one hand and a cocktail in the other, this proved a bit tricky.

bert and may supperclub dinnerware and tiles

The History

Bert & May was founded in Spain in 2004 by former barrister Lee Thornley and the brand quickly established into a bespoke lifestyle brand and specialist supplier of handmade artisan tiles,
engineered wood, natural pigment paints, and most recently, furniture, bathroom products and fittings, and kitchens.

On opening his award-winning Andalusian hotel Casa la Siesta in 2008, Lee realised his talent for discovering and sourcing beautiful old materials. The architectural salvage he sourced from his travels around Spain became much in demand from interior architects and designers.

What started as an online venture selling reclamation, developed further in 2013 when Lee teamed up with artisan tile maker, Juan Menacho, to make their own range of encaustic tiles by using traditional techniques.

Bert and May was born in 2013, the company has gone on to produce a distinctive range of handmade graphic and geometric tiles, as well as engineered wood, made in Yorkshire.

The Kitchens

In June 2016 Bert & May launched their new architecturally-designed bespoke kitchens in collaboration with Red Deer Architects, who also designed some awesome spaces like No. 197 Chiswick Fire Station and Bourne & Hollingsworth in Clerkenwell.

All Bert & May kitchens are designed with the focus on honest materials and simplistic forms and are handmade in Yorkshire using natural materials which deliver character, detail and a finish that improves with age. The three finishes available are a carefully-selected palette of raw materials; birch faced ply, hand-finished reclaimed timber and, wait for it… rich brushed brass (my absolute favourite!)

Thoughtful details include extra deep drawers, sleek kickers, and dovetail construction joints to provide strength and a beautiful finish. A key design feature in each kitchen is a shadow gap in place of handles, to ensure a streamlined finish.

Worktops are available in cast concrete or show-stopping Italian marble. Modern industrial brassware, left unlacquered to develop a natural patina over time, completes the look.

Birch-faced Ply Kitchen

Birch-faced Ply Kitchen

Hand-finished Reclaimed Timber

Hand-finished Reclaimed Timber

Rich Brushed Brass!

Rich Brushed Brass!

The Bathrooms

The new bathroom collection was launched in May 2016 and includes a selection of made to order natural pigment cast concrete basins paired with a collection of modern industrial solid brass bathroom fixtures by Sussex based designers Studio Ore.

The basins are manufactured in the UK and come in two styles: The Rho and The Sienna which is available in 12 different sizes.

The Rho Basin

The Rho Basin

The Sienna Basin

The Sienna Basin

The brassware range includes a selection of wall and deck mounted basin mixers, bath fillers and shower mixers. The Studio Ore collection offers a rich, artisan feel and is the perfect finishing touch to complete a Bert & May bathroom. 

Bathroom Brassware by Studio Ore

Bathroom Brassware by Studio Ore

The Paints

Born out of a love of natural pigments and a dedication to colour, Bert & May’s new eco-­friendly paint range has a total of 55 shades formed from 11 palettes, which are available in a choice of limewash, eco emulsion and eggshell. Taking inspiration from the natural tones found within the Bert & May tile range, the pigments create a depth of colour and deliver a sophisticated, matt chalky finish.  

Pangola Grass, Bluebell and Lemon Balm Paints

Pangola Grass, Bluebell and Lemon Balm Paints

And if you need help bringing all these stunning elements together, why not take advantage of Bert and May’s in-house interior design service.

I found both the new kitchen and bathroom collections positively beautiful - they are made with utmost care and attention to detail, and the natural materials used are exceptional.

Thank you to Bert & May for inviting me as a guest.

If you’re in the industry and would like to attend one of the supper clubs, you can find out more here: Bert & May supper clubs.