Costa del Sol property & lifestyle, news, views, advice & information

Meet Andrea Böck: “2014 is going to be a wonderful year for the Costa del Sol!”

Author:   |  March 12th, 2014

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Andrea Böck, founder of Ambience Home Design

Andrea Böck: I can ski or snowboard in the Sierra Nevada all morning, and be back in time for a late lunch in Puerto Banús!

Andrea Böck has had a passion for beautiful properties, beautiful architecture and beautiful furniture for as long as she can remember. Originally from Düsseldorf, she spent a holiday with a friend living on the Costa del Sol who offered her a place to stay if ever she wanted to relocate here.

Back home in Germany, and gazing out of her studio window at the seemingly interminable cloudy grey skies, 13 years ago she decided to take her up on her offer, leaving her native Germany to move to the Coast. Founding Ambience Home Design in San Pedro de Alcántara in 2002, Andrea has never looked back…

What do you love most about life on the Costa del Sol?

I love just about everything really, so where to begin! I’m one of those people who can never sit still and the Costa del Sol’s glorious climate means I can spend almost all my free time out of doors. I love hiking and cycling, and I’ve climbed to the top of La Concha Mountain three times now.

I have two lovely dogs, one that was living on the streets until I adopted her, and the other is a gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback. Every day I take them for a long walk in the hills before heading off to my design studio at 9am, and I also have a Pura Raza Española thoroughbred Andalusian stallion who I adore. So I often go hacking and I also do dressage, as a hobby, because I don’t have time to take part at competition level.

Another thing I really love is the fact that as the Costa del Sol is only around a 90-minute drive to the Sierra Nevada, I can ski on the slopes all morning and be back in time for a late lunch on the beach. It’s the same with kitesurfing, because I can be in Tarifa in 70 minutes, and then spend the afternoon in Marbella with friends.

Tell us a little bit about Ambience Home Design

Well, there are 7 of us in my team, and our aim is to help our clients create their ideal living space. We specialise in interior design and interior architecture and we do conversions and refurbishments both residential and commercial. We take care of the entire project from start to finish… from obtaining any licences that might be necessary, right up to fitting the last light bulb and stocking the fridge. Most of our work is based on the Costa del Sol, but we have clients all over the world and our most recent overseas projects have been in Egypt, UK and Belgium.

What part of your work do you most enjoy?

I enjoy every single minute of it, the entire process! But most of all I enjoy meeting and getting to know my clients, finding out their needs and preferences and interpreting exactly what they want and then presenting my ideas to them and watching their reactions. Seeing the project take shape and making sure that everything is installed to perfection is another thing I really enjoy, it’s totally absorbing.

What motivates you?

Travel! I always find that visiting new places and meeting new people motivates me and helps me recharge my batteries. Wherever I happen to be – at an international design exhibition… meeting clients and business associates… or just on vacation… I always take inspiration from the sights, sounds and different cultures of the places I visit.

Your favourite beach?

Well, my favourite local beach is Elviria, but I love Tarifa!

Your favourite Sunday lunch venue?

It depends on the occasion. Whenever I feel like relaxing and chilling out by the sea then lunch at Pedro’s Beach chiringuito is just perfect, otherwise Magna Marbella and the Cappuccino are both firm favourites of mine.

Your favourite Spanish dish?

Umm, that would have to be tortilla! (Laugh) The Germans are known for the love of potatoes.

Your preferred night out with family or friends?

Dinner at Casanis in Marbella Old Town! It’s a really special Belgian bistro serving fabulous food, then for after dinner drinks we’d go to a quiet little bar tucked away in the side-streets and hard to find.

Jump in the car at the weekend?

Within a 2-hour drive of the Costa del Sol there are so many beautiful Andalusian cities to discover and I’m particularly fond of Sevilla, Córdoba and Jerez. I also enjoy exploring the countryside and villages inland from Sotogrande, which always make me think of Tuscany.

Have you travelled much in Spain?

Yes, I’ve been to La Manga, Bilbao, Alicante, Valencia and of course Madrid. And as I also lived in Barcelona for a while, I know the Costa Brava well, too.

How would you compare your life on the Costa del Sol to Germany?

It’s so cold, cloudy and rainy in Germany and everyone always seems to be in such a hurry. But here on the Costa del Sol, because of the lovely weather, I’m able to enjoy a much more active and outdoorsy lifestyle, which makes me very happy.

Anything you miss about Germany?

Not really, except perhaps for walking my dogs along the banks of the River Rhine in summertime. And I do sometimes miss city life and all the chic urban restaurants and cafés and atmospheric bars back in Düsseldorf. But I’d still much rather live here than anywhere else!

What changes to Marbella and the Costa del Sol have you seen over the years?

The infrastructure has improved enormously, and the roads are far better than they were 13 years ago. The new underpass in San Pedro, for example, has made a huge difference. Not only to the people who live or work in the town, but it’s made the journey time between Marbella and Estepona or Sotogrande much shorter and all those traffic jams – especially during the rush hour and in the summer – are now a thing of the past!

What does the future hold for you?

Well, I’m very optimistic that 2014 will be a very good year for the Costa del Sol. The Spanish economy is picking up, and more and more people are again investing in property here. So much so in fact, that I have great expansion plans for Ambience Home Design, although you’ll have to wait a bit to see what they are!

What words of advice do you have for someone relocating and wanting to start a business here?

First of all, I’d say it’s very important to have a strong work ethic and to stick to it, and to make sure you provide a first-class service that people really want and need. And don’t only think about what you want to be doing tomorrow, you should take a longer view and seriously consider what you would like to be doing in, say, ten or twenty years’ time.

Andrea Böck is the owner of Ambience Home Design, a VIVA Recommended Partner. You can contact her on +34 952 858 699 or +34 616 488 181, or visit www.ambiencehomedesign.com

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