The Grand Design House, Spain
Until I spotted the leaflet in my mailbox I had forgotten all about the Grand Design House in Spain, or the Casa la Pedrera to give it its proper name. [caption id="attachment_288" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The Grand Design House in Spain, Casa la Pedrera[/caption] I had not seen the Kevin McCloud programme featuring this property but heard about it. Since I am always on the look out for things to do in Valencia and Murcia for the Drivalia blog, the leaflet prompted me to take a drive to see the house first hand. When we arrived there were no other cars in the car park and it all looked very quiet: I thought maybe it was closed. With no obvious signposting I had a snoop around and found a small sign pointing toward the “Tea Garden” at the rear. As you emerge from the shrubbery, the first thing you notice is the vivid, blue-coloured water in the distance. Straightaway you can see why someone would want to build a house here, high up on the hill overlooking the lake and surrounding countryside. [caption id="attachment_283" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Grand Design House Spain - View from the pool area.[/caption] A young woman came down from the house to greet us. Since we were there on a fact-finding tour rather than to participate in an activity, a cup of tea seemed in order. As she prepared the tea, Kitty (our host) explained that she had recently arrived from her home in England, as an employee, to help take care of the family’s 11 horses, accompany visitors on rides and, of course, prepare teas and snacks. We were visiting on a glorious sunny day, mid-week in September and, to start with, we had the place to ourselves. We took our mugs of tea on the pool-side terrace, looking out toward the lake. The area was covered in astro-turf, I assume to make it safe for families. As can be seen from the following You Tube video, uploaded by a visitor in August 2011, young families make good use of the pool during the school holidays.
After a while another 4 visitors joined us on the terrace and a separate party of 4 arrived to visit the house, or at least that part of the ground floor which, during the day, is open to the public: in this room local arts and crafts are displayed for sale. The articles are very reasonably priced, or so my wife informed me and, of course, I always believe her assertions.
Soon we were also joined on the terrace by the owner of Casa la Pedrera, Jenni Ray: she had come down to meet her visitors. This lady from South Africa is very personable and down-to-earth. She spent some time chatting with us and explaining how the Grand Design House is first and foremost a family home. To support the home and family, she organises activities around it. Activities which include: quadbiking, horseriding, pony trekking, fishing, kayaking, mountainbiking and walking. And once a week, for just a few Euros, Jenni will take visitors on a walk to discover some of nature’s gems that the casual visitor might otherwise miss.
Jenni also runs regular events at the house from ‘dancethons’, flamenco evenings and barbecues to charity walks. All such events are publicised on the Casa la Pedrera’s Facebook page.
In addition to all of that, Jenni runs a shelter for rescued animals. Instead of taking a commission from the sale of the arts and crafts, the artists make a small contribution to the shelter.
This is one very busy lady.
Visiting the Grand Design House in Spain is like visiting a friend’s place in the countryside. Yes it is a business but with tea at Euro 1.25 (per mug) and the use of the pool at Euro 6 (per day) these prices (at the time of writing) are not exactly exorbitant.
This then is no cold, money-making machine. It is a family-run business where your hosts want to share their marvellous vista, and all that the surrounding countryside has to offer, in a relaxed atmosphere. At the Casa la Pedrera, what you see is what you get.
So if you are in Alicante or Murcia looking for a day out, the Grand Design House or Casa la Pedrera is worth a look, year-round.