Destination / In Residence

A guide to living in Mallorca with Gillian Wilkins and Alex Franco

Mallorca

She calls it an “unbecoming”. When stylist Gillian Wilkins and her husband, photographer Alex Franco, transported their lives from London to the Balearic island of Mallorca they must have had some idea what was in store. An island is a symbol in itself. Of isolation. A place where things grow that may never exist elsewhere. Drawn to the mountains and the sea, they’ve made their home by a river leaking kinetic energy. Here Wilkins shares the place in which she came one with the land, unbound by the time she used to know. Along with her favourite places to swim, eat and wander on the island of Mallorca.

Tell us, where do you live?

We live in Mallorca.

 

Where are you from originally?

Brisbane.

 

Why did you decide to make the move to the Balearic Islands?

We wanted to create a lifestyle with a deeper connection to nature and one that inspires a new way of being. Mallorca allows us to travel freely, expand artistically and live sustainably. We made the move while I was pregnant, so timing wise it made sense to shift our priorities and dream up a more long term and meaningful life plan.

 

What has changed the most for you since then?

Becoming a mama, opening up to the expansion of time and putting my complete self into practice.

Mallorca 3

 

What has this new lifestyle taught you?

To be patient with change and to welcome the unbecoming of everything you thought you knew about yourself right up until now.

 

Who do you live with?

My husband Alex, our son Amadeus and our two dogs Napoleon and Fred.

 

What initially drew you to your home? Can you tell us a bit about it?

Both the mountains and the sea are symbolic for us, which is why we chose the island life and in particular the Tramuntana region. It has a very feminine energy here.

Mallorca

What are your favourite of its features?

Our village sits at the foot of Puig Major (the highest peak in the Serra de Tramuntana) which we have a clear view of from our house. We have a river running behind us which breathes energy into our day- to-day lives.

 

How have you chosen to decorate?

The actual house has the organic touch of a traditional finca and is mostly open plan with high ceilings, so a lot of natural light fills up the space. The mood inside is minimal with modern and artisanal touches such as handcrafted furniture and objects found and made here on the island. The lockdown inspired us to turn the guest room into a go-to space for when we need some time out to reset. As life gets busy with a baby, we’ve set it up in a way where we can easily pull out a yoga mat, read or meditate. Having created this particular space inspires us to make time for these things more effortlessly.

Where did you find the pieces in your home?

Between New York, London, Scandinavia and Mallorca.

 

Which are your most treasured pieces and why?

The artisanal pieces because of the hands that made them and they each have character. We particularly love listening to records and have two record players from the 70s that we have restored. One is a charming walnut record player that sits in our studio and the other is a luxe black Japanese Sansui sound system which sits in our living / dining room area. These have been with us for a while now and bring so much personality and soul to our space, along with the ever-expanding record collection.

Please tell us about your daily routine ...

A lot of my time goes into Amadeus but otherwise, we are both freelancers and work together, so our days often blend. The mountains are at our doorstep so we try to get on one of the hiking trails as much as possible but otherwise a morning or a dusk walk with the dogs around the river and the village. Deià, the village next door, has the most beautiful hidden calas where we can swim and watch the sunset. They’re not so easy to get down to but they are magical. I’ve been diving into photography more and so we have created a home studio to practice in. The light also moves around our house, which makes it a really great space to shoot in, but otherwise we head out into nature and spend some time taking photos. If I get the chance to meditate or get back to my yoga practice, it keeps me feeling balanced.

 

What are the greatest pleasures of your daily life?

Being blessed with another day of life on this planet. Being a mum and seeing life through the purity of Amadeus’s eyes. Going for a sunset swim. Fresh bread, tomatoes and olives because they taste so good here.

 

Where are your favourite places to swim in Mallorca?

Alconàsser; Banyalbufar; Canyamel.

Eat?

Nama in Deià; RE Organic, in Sóller; Ca na Toneta in Caimari.

 

Wander?

The hike from Deià to Muleta to Sóller; the trail around Gorg Blau; the village of Orient.

 

Do you ever feel isolated or far from home? If so, how do you deal with that?

I feel at home where we are but as for Australia, I have a deep connection to the land as well as my family and friends, so it’s important for me to get back there every year and reconnect.

The world is a strange place right now. How are you managing that on your island home? What is it like there currently?

We are fortunate to be away from the epicentre of the crisis and life remains relatively normal and idyllic where we are. We obviously miss getting out into the nature that surrounds us with all the restrictions in place, but it’s beautiful to witness it all thrive again without the interference of human interaction. The days are a bit of a blur right now but I’m enjoying the fact that the world has come to a halt and we are pausing for the good of humanity while giving our planet a chance to heal.

 

See more in the 'Connection' Issue.

 

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