She spent her childhood in England and lived in Geneva, New York and Paris. She travelled extensively and loved it. Then, she started thinking of the youthful summers she spent on Ibiza. ‘Why not live there next’, she suggested to her husband. That was eighteen years ago. Now Victoria Durrer Gasse, her husband Francois and their son Emile live a very happy, creative and vibrant life in their Finca (Ibicenco farmhouse) in Santa Agnes, a teeny tiny authentic village on Ibiza. ‘I remember seeing our Finca for the first time very clearly. It is situated in my favourite part of Ibiza. The ‘real’ Ibiza, if you will, near Santa Agnes, elevated enough that it has the most gorgeous view of the valley. I loved the house instantly. It had character, loads of history and a complex layout of tiny rooms and hallways that I find appealing. The farmhouse was built circa 1640 and not been renovated a lot since. It used to be a sheep farm and then an olive mill. Unfortunately the house was not for sale. But I couldn’t stop talking about it, so I told everyone how much I liked it.’ And then something peculiar happened. Some islanders who believed in elves claimed to have overheard the fairies talk about the century-old Finca. And what those fairies had said worked in Victoria’s favour: ‘these local islanders were convinced that my family and I should live in the Finca. Because that’s what they heard the fairies say. They told me it was meant to be.’ And so it happened that Victoria received the keys to her dream home. Victoria: ‘And it was definitely meant to be. We’ve spent eighteen very happy, creative and fruitful years here and we have no intention of leaving.’
Victoria and her husband moved in. They restored the Finca, but they kept a lot of original details. They even kept the intricate layout with small rooms, the original sala (foyer) and entrance. The layout of the farmhouse is so complex, because back in the day rooms were added when needed. Extra rooms were built when a new child was born, or when a grandmother moved in. The layout of the Finca developed over years and years and was passed on from farmer’s family to farmer’s family. In all the small rooms, the authentic features are striking. There are Sabena and olive wood beams in the kitchen, original rough stonewalls in the bathroom and old small windows in the bedrooms. Victoria: ‘I love the old features. This house feels alive to me.’
Victoria’s style is colourful, bohemian and ethnic with a sprinkle of English class. ‘I especially enjoy hand made items’, says Victoria. ‘Where there is an artisan, there is a story. And I love hearing these stories. It gives a cushion cover or a wooden table a deeper meaning, instead of merely being a functional piece in my interior. I get very attached to my furniture, because of the stories. My favourite item in the house is the Rajasthani sofa from Northern India. It is made with so much love and craftsmanship. And it always reminds me of my favourite travels.’ Victoria is a collector. Throughout the house little or bigger assortments of objects are on display. There is a hat collection, assortments of shells, scattered Buddha’s and shelves stuffed with fabrics. In her studio, Victoria stores her fabrics in the cupboards or drapes them around mannequins. Some fabrics are antique, some very rare, but they are all of exceptional quality. Victoria’s own one-of-a-kind clothing designs are made with these fabrics.