For Isabelle de Beauregard, her family’s Mallorcan adventure began in 2006 with a newspaper ad that her husband, the late David Frank, read on a flight from Los Angeles to London. It contained details of a finca (country estate) for sale on the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands. “As soon as he arrived home, he got in touch with the agent, then the children and I went to see it in person,” says de Beauregard. “We went over, I loved it and we bought it. It was that impulsive.”
Frank, a highly respected television executive, had never been to Mallorca. “But he was fascinated with the story of the house, which might once have been the family home of Christopher Columbus,” says de Beauregard.
When Frank finally saw it, he, like his wife, fell in love with the house, which was built directly into the side of a sandstone hill, looking down onto the plain. Many of the rooms were caves. A tangle of flowering bougainvillea, grapevine and morning glory grew over the exterior walls. “It had a special, magical feel about it. It wasn’t an ordinary house and we loved that about it,” says de Beauregard. “But we had no idea where it was in relation to anything else on the island, or what we were going to do. It was a voyage of discovery thereafter.”