Our thoughts are beginning to really turn to what could be a whole new life for us. Although we are not over the line yet, we are as close as we have been to selling our home in Istria and relocating to Andalucia. It’s close, but at the same time, until the ink has dried on the final contract and we have handed over the keys – and monies are banked – we could still be quite a way off. But, we need to start really thinking about our new life and what it is going to look like. As well as communicating daily with estate agents, we’ve made connections with a storage company, which we think we’ll need to store everything as we don’t know how long it will take to purchase in Spain, secured a removal company and think we might have found, on recommendation, an excellent lawyer, who will hopefully smooth our transition.

When I’m not working on all of these things, and trying to find my way through the complexities of selling and buying in Europe, post Brexit, I focus on the kind of home we want to create. We’ve learnt so much from our Istrian renovation, and we’ll be using these lessons to guide us. We’re leaning towards typical Andalucian townhouses, with plenty of original features, but with plenty of scope to enhance the property. We have a handful of favourites, and as soon as we can, we’ll be going out to view them and assess the potential. And hopefully, find the one, quite quickly. However long it takes, though, we know what we want to do interiors wise, keeping things light and airy and as natural as possible, in terms of furnishings. So, I’ve been investigating rattan, and I think the house will feature this material quite prominently, as I like what I’m finding out about it.

Rattan furniture is crafted from a type of palm plant native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Australasia. The rattan palm vine is flexible and durable, making it an ideal material for furniture production.

Rattan is typically harvested from the wild or cultivated in plantations. Harvesting rattan involves cutting the vine from trees and then stripping off the outer skin to reveal the inner core, which is used in furniture making.Once harvested, the rattan is treated to make it pliable and durable. This may involve steaming, boiling, or soaking the rattan to soften it and make it easier to work with. Chemical treatments may also be applied to strengthen the material and protect it from pests. Rattan furniture is typically handcrafted by skilled artisans who weave the rattan strands into intricate patterns to create the desired piece of furniture. This weaving process requires precision and expertise, as well as an eye for design.

In terms of sustainability, rattan furniture has several eco-friendly qualities:

Renewable Resource: Rattan is a fast-growing plant that can be harvested sustainably without causing long-term damage to the environment. Unlike hardwoods, which can take decades to mature, rattan can be harvested every few years, making it a renewable resource.

Low Environmental Impact: The cultivation and harvesting of rattan have minimal environmental impact compared to other materials like hardwoods or metals. Rattan plantations can also provide habitat for wildlife and help prevent soil erosion.

Biodegradable: Rattan is biodegradable, meaning it can break down naturally over time without releasing harmful toxins into the environment. This makes rattan furniture a more environmentally friendly option compared to synthetic materials like plastic or metal.

Support for Local Communities: Many rattan-producing regions rely on rattan cultivation and weaving as a source of income. By purchasing rattan furniture, consumers can support these local communities and help promote sustainable livelihoods.

For me, rattan furniture combines natural beauty with sustainability, so it seems a bit of a no-brainer for a home which we hope will be as  environmentally friendly as possible. Whilst we’ve had phases of dark and moody colours, both in our Manchester home and here in Istria, we think that Andalucia will lend itself so much more to a house which is flooded with light and natural materials. It’s going to be a big project getting it right, and especially getting the balance right, so that we’re not overwhelmed with rattan – but with inspiration like these products, we think we’ll do it…

Published on 14th May 2024