Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

Inspiring Interiors

At home with Clara de Amezua, the doyenne of Spanish cuisine

While reading the July issue of Vanity Fair Spain I found a very interesting article about Clara de Amezua, founder of Alambique, one of the most prestigious Spanish cooking schools and cookshops. I loved the article but what I loved the most were the pictures of Clara’s home in Puerta de Hierro (Madrid)

The house was designed by renowned Spanish architect Luis Gutierrez Soto and Clara’s late husband, Lino Llamas. To decorate the house, Llamas brought wood from Canada and industrial kitchen appliances from the United States, suitable for their family (of eight children)  The couple took advantage of family inheritances and bought unique Spanish crafts and pieces that they found at auctions or antique shops. The house was decorated with Mallorcan fabrics, porcelain from all over the world and Clara’s collection of copper kitchen moulds that belonged to Empress Eugenia and she acquired on an auction house.

Clara admits that her favourite part of the house is the breakfast room, decorated with tiles from Talavera de la Reina. “I copied the idea from American homes. It is a very lively place where things happen and everything is discussed. Some time ago I was participating in a radio talk show with Juan Mari Arzak and Ferran Adrià and we always said that we should promote this type of space over the dining room, which is barely used “. De Amezúa is a strong advocate of this room that has always played an important role in people’s lives  “The kitchen produces intelligent people” she says “You can’t run a restaurant without sensitivity and an organised mind. Cooks are smart people”

Images: Vanity Fair Spain. Photography: Diego de la Fuente

In 1974, Clara de Amezua founded Alambique with four partners. The kitchenware store was conceived on a trip to New York where she attended a cooking course and in the same place where the session was held, there was a small area dedicated to cooking utensils that couldn’t be found in Spain back then. Relying on the advice of her friend Julia Child and Elisabeth David (another friend and renowned English cook and store owner) Clara opened her cookshop offering the newest things on the market.

Alambique Cooking School: Clara with Alain Gigant 

The idea of opening a cooking school was born on a trip to France. Clara convinced some of the best chefs on the Cote de Azur to come to teach cooking lessons in Madrid in the low season when their restaurants were closed. Top chefs like Alain Gigant or a very young Alain Ducasse travelled to Madrid to teach at Alambique.
The first ones who saw the opportunity to learn from these French top chefs were young Spanish chefs who are key figures of the Spanish cuisine today.

Images: Google Arts and Culture / Real Academia de Gastronomia

I’m sharing below a few more images I found of Clara’s home and her fabulous table settings in Alambique’s Instagram

 

Trasierra

Trasierra owner Charlotte Scott likes to describe this idyllic place as ‘an hotel for people who don’t like hotels’

Located in the beautiful Cazalla de la Sierra (an hour and a quarter north of Seville) Madrid born London raised, Scott fell in love with this dilapidated house dating from the 15h and 16th centuries in the 70s and moved to Spain with her then-husband Nick. It was in Trasierra where they raised their four children: Amber, Gioconda, George and Jackson.

What was intended to be a private home became one of the most desirable accommodations in Andalucia. And that, for me, is the charm of Trasierra: that it is both a family house and a hotel: designed for people who appreciate beauty, comfort, delicious food and peace.

Trasierra Hotel in Cazalla de la Sierra

Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la SierraSimon Brown Photography

Bedroom at Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra Bedroom at Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra

Bedroom at Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra

Trasierra Hotel Cazalla de la SierraSimon Brown Photography

Trasierra Hotel in Cazalla de la Sierra

Trasierra hotel- Cazalla de la Sierra

Trasierra Hotel- Cazalla de la Sierra

Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra

Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra Mark Bothwell Photography

Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra

Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra

Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la SierraSimon Brown Photography

Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra

Bedroom at Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra

Bedroom at Trasierra Hotel | Cazalla de la Sierra

Trasierra has 12 double bedrooms spread out over the property. There is a main guest house with five doubles and the other rooms are in beautifully restored cottages and buildings found throughout the gardens. Each guest room has been decorated by Charlotte, a respected interior designer, and reflect her attention to detail with deliciously comfortable beds, fine linens, lots of books, writing paper, restful colours and plenty of room to unpack.

The whole family is closely involved – Gioconda Scott cooks at Trasierra full-time, Amber leads yoga retreats and gives a fantastic Thai massage, George handles marketing duties and sources superb jamon iberico, olive oil, almonds, marmalades, and other gourmet items and singer and author George often finds inspiration for his music in Trasierra.

Images from a recent article on Vanity Fair Spain featuring Leah de Wavrin (George Scott’s fiance) in Trasierra where Leah and George live with their daughter Thelma. Elena Olay photography. Stylist Beatriz Moreno de la Cova

 Mark Bothwell Photography

After a closure for renovations, Trasierra will be opening again in June for events, private parties, weddings and group bookings.

For further information and bookings, you can send an email to bookings@trasierra.com

Images http://www.trasierra.com unless otherwise stated

Find more inspiration on their instagram @trasierra_life

Carlos Garcia x Cheffins

This week I sat with interior designer Carlos Garcia to learn more about his collaboration with Cheffins. He has worked his magic curating a fabulous room for the Cambridge based Auctioneers with items from their Fine Arts Sale. Discover all the details of this clever collab on today’s blog post.

Dear Carlos, how this collaboration with Cheffins come to be?

I was approached by Cheffins in Cambridge, one of the country’s leading firms of independent Auctioneers and Valuers to curate a room with items from their Fine Arts and 20th Century Art sale.

Having at your disposal a wonderful array of antiques as well as a fantastic collection of 20th-century British art was no doubt enticing enough. The objective however was, not only to produce a beautiful room set, but to look homely, approachable, accessible and to encourage and inspire people to use auction houses to buy antiques. Hence why the proposal of using one of the rooms in my own country house seemed perfectly suitable.

Can you tell us a little bit about the process of designing the room?

Comfort is at the very heart of everything I design and I was determined to convey this when curating this room: To make the room inviting, to strike a balance between formality and comfort. This was to be a room, not a set.

Another important factor in my design is to give rooms a “settled status”: I like rooms to ‘belong’ to the building they are in, almost as if they always were there. I tend to achieve this by carefully mixing antiques from different periods and styles and by introducing antique and vintage textiles to live comfortably with new fabrics. It is what I call “generational layering”.

This is also applicable to the artwork used in the room, a mix of beautiful antique pieces and wonderful 20th-century British art by Edward Bawden, John Minton, Keith Vaughan, Adrian Heath and Robert MacBryde amongst others.

Cushions and Lampshades are all by Susan Deliss: antique suzani cushions as well as those made from fabrics from her own collection. The beautiful block printed and ikat lampshades were produced exclusively for the room.

I chose Christopher Horwood, who has previously captured my country house as well as other projects to photograph the room. Christopher has over 10 years of experience working with renowned interior designers.

The pieces on the room will be available on Cheffins Fine Art Sale on the 6th and 7th of March.

Read my conversation with Carlos Garcia here.