Sitting atop the craggy rocks, in a small town outside Alanya, Turkey, Danish couple Christina and Brian Palm Svaneeng Mertz have built a beautiful holiday paradise. A relaxed bohemian atmosphere, Scandinavian simplicity and local design and artistry come together on the edge of the blue horizon. While the couple live in Denmark, they were looking for a southern European escape where they could enjoy the sunny climate and relaxed family time. It was by chance that the couple ended up buying their first cottage in Turkey. ‘My father owns an apartment in Alanya’ says Christina, ‘and when we visited, we always thought this area had a lot of tourists, but in the end there are so many beautiful natural spots here that many people do not know about. In the summer time some places are very popular, but this area still has a few secret gems,’ she says.

The décor achieves a relaxed elegance with organic materials and textures that bring warmth to the minimalist style

The couple loved the peaceful natural area along the old coast road to Gazipaza, so when they  found a plot on the rocky coast, they bought it. Christina, who is one of the owners of the Danish design company Swanfield Living, has always had a great passion for architecture and design. She was immediately drawn to this site on a cliff slope towards the Mediterranean. After they bought it, she sketched out the layout she wanted for the house herself and got it built by local craftsmen. Her background in the interiors industry has given her a strong aesthetic appreciation of space and design and her intuition told her that the house should be built as a Finca from Ibiza on one level - practical, functional and divided into different spaces all with outdoor access. The house was built as an L shape that takes into consideration the interaction between the inside and outside, providing sheltered areas for shade, ensuring that the large outdoor space can be used throughout the year. The sloping structure of the foundation has respected the surrounding nature with its large banana palm trees. 

Christina designed bunk beds for the children’s room, with double lower bunks and horizontal upper bunks to accommodate more kids and create a more open feel. The linen and brushed blankets are from Ikea, while pillows are from Zara Home and the kelim carpet is from Turkish brand Koctas.

Inside, the villa centres around a large living room that combines an open-plan living-kitchen-dining area. This was important for Christina, to have modern comfort, openness and fluid transitions in the home. A long hallway connects this space with the bedrooms, including a large master suite with its own outdoor spa, two guest rooms, a children’s room and four bathrooms. The bedrooms and accompanying  bathrooms were constructed to create private spaces into which their guests can retreat. All the rooms have sea views and access to an infinity pool. With its subdued colour palette, soft fabrics and organic forms it has the upscale feel of a beautiful boutique hotel.

The couple’s bedroom features local stone and woodwork and a private bath area to retreat to.

The villa interiors focus on rustic simplicity and luxury. Christina describes their style as ‘understated chic’, where Mediterranean-inspired design is mixed with rural charm and ethnic touches. The villa has both a traditional and modern expression with local stone and woodwork, simple furniture and custom-built solutions working in harmony. The décor itself is a mix of elegant furniture, vintage designs and a variety of textiles, in light shades, creating a contemporary and timeless style.

The bathroom is a haven of organic shapes and textures, such as sponges, coral and candles for a relaxed atmosphere in tune with the natural marine surroundings.

‘I have been very inspired by traditional Fijian and Mediterranean architecture that share my love for nature and good, rustic craftsmanship. I have tried to bring this into the project using local, high quality materials such as limestone, raw stonewall and wood as a continuous design element in the villa,’ says Christina.

Outside a lower level lounge area provides shelter and plenty of seating to embrace the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle and climate.  A four-poster bed in the open space creates the ambience of a luxury resort.

The creative couple love to surround themselves with lots of friends and family so they have built a villa that can accommodate everyone. ‘When we are on holiday, the house is full of life, full of children and full of fun. We are a big and very close family. We love to hike, snorkel, cook good food, go to the local markets and explore the many hidden beaches in the area,’ says Christina.

On the terrace you can relax in both open and covered lounge areas or float in the stunning infinity pool overlooking the turquoise sea.

The house has become an oasis where they enjoy the soothing atmosphere of the sky and the sea, the aroma of banana palm trees, and the warmth of time spent with family. 

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The owner Danish interior designer Christina Palm Svaneeng Mertz and her husband Brian enjoy this holiday home with their two boys, Constantin (4) and Severin (6) and also where they love entertaining extended family and friends. 

The home Located on the southern coast of Turkey in a small town outside Alanya, this four- bedroom property, built in 2016, features a large open-plan design merging inside and outside space to ensure every room has a view overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Get the look

Clockwise from top left: Sierra Mocha cushion, White Moss, Dh165; Boston Copper pendant lamp, Home and Soul, Dh499; Bronze tower lantern, Al-Futtaim ACE, Dh149; Dutchbone Lico cabinet, Houseology, Dh2,260; Coral ornament, Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery, Dh1,470; Torus leather footstool, THE One, Dh3,495.

Photography by Maria Kristine/Sisters Agency

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