Growing up in the 70's and 80's in California, Spanish style furniture was in our living room. A place I was told for when company came over and you "sit and visit". We had two large gilded paintings that flanked an antique mirror over the settee. One was of a beautiful Spanish dancer and one of a handsome Matador; equally regal in colors of ocher, rich browns and blacks, and golds with a touch of magenta on her lips. I loved it. I use to bring my reading books into the "sit and visit" room, a perfect formula for creating designs in my mind of the storied characters.
While reading about this 16th-century country house in Toledo Spain, once a monastery, now beautifully restored as a country home with enchanting gardens, I imagined its history of monarchs, diplomats, marquess and marchioness, of a Spanish Civil war, and exiles from France returning to Spain, and once again my love of design, and history of a place brought the reminiscence of the "sit and visit" room to a lacquered memory.
The lovely rooms of Cigarral de Menores are fresh and open, not heavy, and flooded in light.
LIVING ROOMA 19th-century rice paper Chinoiserie panel hangs between a 17th-century Spanish mirror and an easel that displays a late-1500s portrait. Typically Spanish style has been handled with a heavy hand, here the design is fresh, light and really quite a pretty mix; the chalk white walls and the crushed red sofa lend a sophisticated touch next to the travertine tables and abstract sculpture. Contemporary in feel with a nod to the past.
THE OLD KITCHEN
This is the old kitchen which dates from the 1920s; antique Spanish ceramics and tiles array this beautiful space.
KITCHEN OFFICEIberian pottery from the 16th through the 19th-centuries are lavishly displayed on built-in shelves; original doors from the estate's monastery days. The Spanish table is from the 17th century.
DINNING ROOMFamily furniture fills the rooms. Among the highlights are 16th-century Spanish table and bench and 19th-century chairs. A gorgeous painting by a Mannerist painter hangs prominently in this historic home.
The owners, *Marquess Gregorio Maranón president of Teatro Real Opera House and his wife Marchioness Pilar Solis-Beaumont, a lawyer and historian, desired to respect the spirit of the house, while providing for themselves a comfortable home; bringing the house gently into the modern world without losing its traditional air.
* A Marquess is a nobleman, landowner, of hereditary rank or Peerage or aristocratic title. A Marchioness is the wife of a Marquess. In case you are like me and love English films and always wanted to know who ranks who...
Royal, Noble & Chilvalric Ranks
The marquess has carefully preserved the study of his grandfather, the elder Gregorior, who's large photograph is mounted on the bookcases full of books about Toledo, which climb to the library ceiling and around the cased, silled, and shuttered window. On the windowsill is a Victorior Macho sculpture of the writer Benito Pérez Galdós.
MASTER SUITE LIVING AREA
A 2005 Hernán Cortés Moreno portrait of the marquess overlooks the master suite's living area, which includes 19th-century landscapes of Toledo.
14th-century Mudéjar plasterwork frames the chapel's altar. Art, artifacts, and beautiful stone floors provides a peaceful place to pray.
ROSES AND WISTERIA ...
Blanket a pergola that leads to the swimming pool. A lovely walk on a warm summer's day or in the cool of the evening.
The decoration has a clarity and a simplicity that complement the sober brick-and-stucco architecture, which happily accommodates contemporary gestures.
- Marquses Gregorio Maranón
- Marquses Gregorio Maranón
19th-century brass bed and gilded mirror were both owned by Maria Cristina, wife of King Ferdinand VII in this lovely guest room. Did you notice the gorgeous crown at the top of the canopy?
GARDENS AND WILDLIFEWith an average rainfall of barely 14 inches a year Cigarral de Menores (the property now covers 37 acres) gardens have been restored with drought tolerant plants and trees: olive trees which provide the family with oil, orchards which provide almonds, figs, cherries, pomegranates, and apricots.
Several wells help, the oldest being a Moorish one dug in the 10th- century.
- Marquess Gregorio Maranón
Ducks, partridges, herons, foxes, rabbits, owls, nightingales, golden orioles are just some of the wildlife at Cigarral de Menores. The marquess and marchioness also have a chicken farm, two dogs whose names are Lao and Kofi, a donkey named Bruno, and a pony called Chipirón.
Weekends at Cigarral de Menores are invariably relaxed - meals with family and friends, explorations of Toledo's nooks and crannies, trips to the area's endless historical sites.
- Marquess Gregorio Maranón16th-century tiles pave a terrace overlooking the Spanish city of Toledo. The views from the olive-treed hilltop have remained unchanged for centuries. Just a short 15 minute walk away, church bells are the only sound they hear coming up from the streets of the town. Lovely.
17th-century fountain anchors the arbutus garden.
Contemporary water feature by Cristina Iglesias. The view of Toledo peaks from among the cypress and olives.
Marquess and Marchioness Maranón and their miniature Schnauzers Lao and Kofi.
I hope it's lovely where you are...
Photo Credit: Architectural Digest