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Can Frit

A love affair between the contemporary and the vernacular.


Up a time-worn, unpaved road, just a short drive from the picturesque hamlet of Forada, this reinterpreted finca is sat on the hillside quiet valleys. The story of Can Frit is
one of struggle and solution where constraints cultivated
a newfound sense of creativity. The result is a house born from inherent limitations – historical, bureaucratic, and material – but still brims with ideas and ingenuity. Can Frit reaffirms the architect’s role as a designer, but also one of negotiator, problem-solver-in-chief, and creative visionary. Tasked with continuing a restoration and extension project already underway, Jaime Romano encountered his first roadblock when the local authorities suddenly rejected the building plan. Already constrained by the historical value of the original three-century-old farmhouse, a new plan was carefully recalibrated to salvage the essence of the initial vision while fusing modern, neutral design to the traditional stone and sabina wood structure. The split-level, four- bedroom home is characterised by shrewd, unexpected, and ultimately commendable decisions. The result is a summer house that can be adapted to seasonal turns, yet still embraces its character as a place for convivial high- season fun.

The first challenge was one of preservation. To ensure the vestiges of the original finca flowed seamlessly with more contemporary design elements, the architect decided to alter the colours and textures of both wood and stone. In the lower bedrooms, traditional Phoenician-style stonework was cleaned, sealed and imbued with a sand colour. Sabina wooden-beamed ceilings and a central support pillar were sanded back and varnished with a water-based treatment to reveal a lighter, ochre-coloured finish. Big Brazilian-style doors enhance the place. By brightening the interiors, the effect is simultaneously organic and strikingly modern. A bathroom, built in the place of the original finca’s kitchen, features a beautifully restored wood-fire bread oven, repurposed into a statement dome of light.

Historical fincas are normally inward- facing, yet Can Frit respectfully subverts this standard. Vast interior spaces features walls of windows that can slide open and let the surrounding forest air and views pour in. The upper level, which also serves as the principal entrance, is a spacious L-shaped room where the kitchen, lounge, and dining area fuse into one. A cleverly designed back kitchen hides behind a sliding door, neatly concealing the commotion of cooking when entertaining guests.

A generously- sized terrace adjoins the kitchen, while another south-facing patio enlarges the dining and lounge area. Here, sleek railing made of nautical wire cables provide a safe, transparent solution to a request to maximise the forest views. Well-designed details elevate the interiors. A spiral staircase, the purpose- built standard for hotel fire-escapes, was purchased and perfectly fitted to unite both floors with minimalistic, spacious effect. An iconic Gyro Focus fireplace hangs from the ceiling with ornamental finesse, while ensuring the house is still comfortable and cosy on colder nights. To preserve the stonework in the bedrooms, air conditioning units are concealed by smartly designed custom- made shelving. Stacked with books and ceramic pieces, this solution stands out as both practical and pleasing to the eye. The smooth, cement ‘encaustic floor’ was made with an industrial hydraulic pavement technique in Mallorca. Also known as baldosa hidraulica, or carreau ciment in French, it shines with an elegant surface finish. Decorated with a playful, upbeat style, the interiors also transmit a laid-back summer vibe, while statement lamps, art pieces, and furniture weave it all tastefully together.

Another constraint was the house’s solid façade. Acting on a request to make the most of the calming green vistas, Jaime Romano had to straddle a fine line between maintaining the thick- walled defensive ibicenco vernacular and finding a sense of openness. This is best exemplified by the master bedroom, where the pocket windows in the south and west-facing walls slide completely open, retract inside the walls, and expose half of the room to the summer breeze and late golden afternoon sun. Much like the sliding wall windows in the living area upstairs, these can also be closed with similar ease, providing a sense of instant protection and climate control.

Can Frit is a house built with persistence, pragmatism, and creativity. Challenges, constraints, and the occasional contradiction were confronted with an open mind and then expertly steered back into the realm of the possible. The story of this house underlines why the construction of so many houses in Ibiza are feats of endurance but also ingenuity. Can Frit is especially unique because it remains strengthened by a process in which rules were respected, friction fuelled imagination, and a plethora of nifty solutions continue to invigorate its character and charm.

Date of construction
Jaime Romano
María Osa
Roberta Jurado
Jaume Guasch
Rosa Rey @Box 3 (interior designer)
Nina Negru (architect)
Pablo Valverde (technical engineer)
María Carreño (architect)
Jesús Rodríguez @Marí-Balaguer Arquitectos (structural engineer)
James Holderness (pool area architect)
General contractor and suppliers
Balafia de Baix (general contractor)
Box 3 (kitchen, bathrooms, cabinets, lighting and decoration)
Pitiusa instaladora (MEP installations)
Industrias Mairata (aluminum joinery)
AD Italia, 2014 (no397)