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Property of the month: 4 reasons to buy this classic Catalonian mansion

Property of the month: 4 reasons to buy this classic Catalonian mansion

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Barcelona is the perfect base for superyacht owners

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Unlike many of Spain's holiday hotspots, average property prices in Barcelona were up 9.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year, according to Tinsa, Spain’s leading appraisal company. This is due in part to Barcelona’s unique appeal – a city of culture, world-famous architecture and gastronomic innovation – along with the renovated OneOcean Port Vell marina, a 148-berth hub with space for yachts up to 190 metres, that has helped to transform the harbour and the property market.

For those looking to purchase in the city, Pedralbes is the go-to for politicians and footballers looking for luxury villas while the city centre's traditional lodgings with Gaudí-style touches and mosaic flooring, as well as pied-à-terres at the marina, start from about €2 million for a top-end pad. However it is Zona Alta, in the mountains overlooking the city centre and the location of our property of the month, that is increasingly coveted. At about €6,000 per square metre, this are is particularly in favour with those seeking lots of land as well as ex-pats keen to be close to the international schools nearby.

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It's packed with history

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If you want to live in a slice of Catalonian history, this is it. High up in the mountains of Serra de Collserola Natural Park, with views of the Mediterranean, marina and Barcelona Cathedral, Villa Paula is an architectural marvel where Lluís Companys i Jover, president of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, is believed to have hidden when Franco’s forces invaded. The property’s current owner – only the third in its history, since he bought it from a family who had owned it since 1947 – was dubious about the legend, but when he dug down into the house’s foundations during renovations, he discovered a secret basement, with two stools still inside, that seemed to validate the story.

The owner, a former New Yorker, bought the property in 2008 without even stepping inside. “We were driving past and thought the exterior and the views were just extraordinary,” he says. “We mainly bought it for the views.”

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A traditional mansion with modern conveniences

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The exterior and the views are still extraordinary, but the interior is now entirely different. The property was gutted, stripped down to its original brick, and steel beams inserted to support the original timber. The art deco-coloured glass windows were removed, restored and reinstated. Beautiful hydraulic tile floors were cleaned and put back into parquet flooring. Some stunning original features remain, including a marble and pewter standalone sink in the master en suite that some believe may have been made by or to emulate the work of Gaudi, and an original fireplace that was moved from the living room into the main bedroom and converted from woodburning into gas.

The eight-bedroom house, believed to have been built in 1890, now has four floors and a tower, a guard/guest house and an outdoor kitchen, along with a state-of-the-art indoor kitchen. Further amenities include an infinity pool, gym, sauna, wine cellar and several porches. The interior features a variety of different styles, from the unusual bright green tongue-and-groove kitchen, to the New York loft-style dining room (complete with exposed brick) to the original Spanish architecture installed by Jeroni Granell I Manresa.

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