Couple fixing house that’s been abandoned since the ’80s
"The estate agent gave us the key and said, 'good luck.'"
By Athena Stavrou via SWNS
Meet the brave couple taking on a "Fixer Upper" project on their own.
Brisa Loperena, 34, and Toni Salort, 35, converted an abandoned house so overgrown they couldn't see the floor.
They purchased the property one year ago for €150k ($155,000 USD) but have only just started to convert the deserted building into their dream home.
The house in Palma, Mallorca, Spain, has been abandoned since the 1980s - leaving plants and debris to take over the entire structure for the past 40 years.
Toni, an architect from Mallorca, Spain, drew up the plans for the building.
They feature a pool and two additional modern floors - whilst still maintaining the traditional façade of the original building.
Brisa, a social media manager, originally from Bahia, Brazil, said: "The house is in a protected area of Palma - it's like a little village within the city - so we really wanted to respect the local architecture.
"When we bought the land, we couldn't even properly see everything because it was so disrupted with plants.
"When we viewed the house, the estate agent gave us the key and said, 'good luck.'
"The house hasn't been lived in for a very long time, the neighbors said the last person who owned the house was an old lady.
"They're really excited to see all the foliage cleared because it's spilling over their walls
"But we absolutely fell in love with the building, and although it took a year to get started on the project, we're very excited."
The couple was looking for a property to make their 'forever home' for several years before they came across this hidden gem.
They had previously had their hearts set on a seventh-floor apartment with sea views, but when that fell through in 2020, they carried on their search.
The abandoned plot, which consists of a courtyard and two buildings, came on the market, and the couple snapped it up.
By the end of their renovation, the pair will have a four-bedroom, open-plan home with a pool to call their own.
Due to local protections, the couple had to go through a heritage committee to get their plans approved before beginning the work.
Although most of the property will have to be demolished, their plans ensure the original stone and many of the original tiles found in the home will be used in the rebuild.
They will also fully retain the original facade on the ground floor of the building, but the top two floors will be ultra-modern, with all the comforts that come with that.
They are hoping to complete the renovations and move in 18 months, with a budget of €450k ($464,000 USD)
She said: "We had always dreamed of designing our own home, but never thought it would be possible at that point because it was really expensive.
"We were looking all over the Palma area, and by luck, this came up.
"It wasn't selling because of the state of the house, there weren't any plans and perhaps the people who viewed it were scared.
"But we decided to risk it.
"When we viewed the house we saw two kinds of tiles, one of which was in Toni's grandmother's place, and the other was a tile we had found on our first date walking through another village.
"We'd kept that tile in our kitchen for six years and never saw it again, we always said we'd put a tile in our future house, so when we saw the same one here we knew instantly that this was it."
Toni, who is passionate about sustainability in the building industry, said: "We've only just started to clean up and take the debris out. When we saw the floors for the first time it was amazing.
"The neighbors have thanked us.
"People are scared when they see something like this, and even our friends say we're so brave, but the truth is the market is so bad that this can be a solution.
"Why buy new, when we have such great old buildings we can reuse?
"We've hired two guys who are going to take the stones out one by one so we can reuse them for the new build.
"We're really into recycling, so getting the old wooden beams to do the upper floor terrace, and using old handmade tiles for flooring and details.
"The heritage committee didn't ask us to reuse materials, but we think preserving the local stone and tiles is a way to show that construction can be respectful and integrated into local history.
"What we're building is compliant with the highest sustainability standards. You can't see it through the rendering but the insulation is highly efficient - even the pool is sustainably run.
"A lot of thought went into the design. It takes a lot longer to disassemble rather than demolish, but it's nice and we get surprises every week."
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