The Eco Vida Homes

We believe that everyone should have a thoughtfully designed, energy efficient, home.

We also believe that the home building industry in Spain simply isn’t responding to the needs of the Northern European who wants to build a home in Spain.

“If you want a smart looking home, with modern layout, which is comfortable and energy efficient, you have to build your own because there are hardly any there.”
John Wolfendale

We have thought hard about what our clients are looking for from a company like ours and we have developed a unique business model that addresses the 4 key needs of our clients.

  • Stylish beautiful homes designed for Mediterranean living: The gorgeous climate allows the outside living spaces to blend with the inside. We believe spaces should flow together and improve your way of living. We like to create moods for different moments of the day. Ask to see examples of our finished projects.
  • We are Fiercely Independent:We act only for you. We have no conflicting loyalties with local suppliers or contractors: no back handers and no commissions. We only take money from you to advise you. We are regulated by the RICS of London that require impeccable ethical standards from their members: – Read Here
  • A Wrap Around Service: We are meticulous about the mastery of detail on site. We deal with all aspects of the fastidious bureaucracy, the mains service providers, and whatever problem might arise. You get the peace of mind that comes with a single point of contact, the assurance of a reliable and clearly articulated schedule, and the confidence that your project is being thoughtfully managed. Ask to see testimonials from grateful clients.
    “It’s like Grand Designs only without the drama”
    John Wolfendale
  • The Most Competitive Prices: All projects are sent out to an open and transparent tender and our building team compete in that process so you can compare prices and be confident you are getting the best value for money.

Architectural and Technical Team

Our team has an impeccable reputation for honesty, commitment, and hard work. We can show you the glowing testimonials we have received from delighted clients, the homes we have built, and how much they cost. Please contact us for these details that we keep restricted to maintain privacy of our clients.

Perhaps above all we are very straight. What you see is what you get. Here we are in a video. Take a look.

We are two Architects three Technical Architects and a Chartered Surveyor as follows

  • Domingo Cardenas Muela: Registered Architect.
  • Alba Jimenez Herraiz: Registered Architect
  • Fran Chacon Martinez: Technical Architect and Contractor
  • Ivàn Castro: Technical Architect
  • Almudena Martin: Technical Architect
  • John Wolfendale: Chartered Surveyor
  • We make a personal commitment to act always, and advise you, in your best interests.

    We offer architectural, project management, and building services, from Cádiz to Salobreña including Marbella and the Costa del Sol.

    Our Capacity to Take on New Clients

    We are a small team and we have a limited capacity. For us scaling up is neither easy nor desirable. It’s not easy because new staff have to be trained up in our way of doing things. This requires an investment of time and energy. And it’s not desirable because it means a greater overhead and more risk.

    Providing we are working with clients who inspire us we would rather have fewer clients and a quieter, more enjoyable, professional life. We probably earn more too.

    Consequently it is likely we will have to turn some clients down.

    For possible new clients this is the situation at today’s date 07.05.2020

    • We have two clients at Step 1 (plot evaluation) who have paid us and who therefore take priority
    • We have 6 clients who are either actively looking for a plot or who are evaluating a specific plot. Some of those will be unable to find what they want or may change their minds
    • We have two clients planning a comprehensive rennovation who want to get started right away who we are helping with cost assessments and regulations
    • We can probably take on one more client at Step 2 (initial design) over the next 3 or 4 months depending on whether projects we are committed to that are dormant suddenly advance or remain dormant

    The lockdown has effectively halted all activity relating to plot searches. We and many other commentators expect activity to resume when the lockdown is lifted and opinion varies on how altered the market will be.

    By way of background this is our current work load for projects we have committed to:

    • One project active at Step 2 (Initial Designs) and one paused for bureaucratic reasons: total 2
    • One project active at Step 3 (Building Licence Application). 2 projects waiting building licence approval: total 3
    • Three projects active at Step 4 (Execution Project plus Tender and Procurement) and one held up for bureaucratic reasons
    • Two projects under construction and likely to complete over the next 2 or 3 months depending on the lockdown conditions

    Total Projects: 4 Active and 5 temporarily dormant

    Throughout the lockdown we have been busy with the projects we have. We expect to have lost about two months in time for those projects that are awaiting the building licence or have been held up by the bureaucracy.

    Free Plot Appraisal:

    We do a plot appraisal without charge. I think in our business this is probably the most important thing we do. It’s essential for our clients, probably more than they think, and it gives us a chance to show case who we are.

    In this article we describe why it’s so essential for the purchaser of the plot. It’s also true that we benefit from offering this service.

    There are some limits to the free plot appraisal. As I am sure you will understand we could spend all of our time doing free appraisals for people. When we speak I will explain what these are.

    Contact and Meetings:

    • We offer a single point of contact throughout your journey with us and that is John Wolfendale
    • The first face to face meeting will most likely be at your plot or some land you are thinking of buying. If you are ready to move to Step 2 the first meeting will be on site with our architectural team as they work with you to conceptualize the best home for your land.
    • We don’t run an office in Marbella quite simply because it would be an unnecessary expense. We are a lean organisation and we keep costs down so we are price competitive. Most of the time we are out and about supervising works and meeting clients.
    • We like to meet you on site where we can discuss your home’s orientation……. what the view might be at breakfast, vehicular access, neighbours and so on.
    • If you like we can meet by appointment at our offices in Granada Paseo Geronimo de Rueda Sin, Oficina 7, 18195 Cullar Vega Granada. However as we have projects between Salobreña and Sotogrande we can always arrange to meet you in Marbella if not at a plot then in a suitable place.
    • Meetings can be in English or in Spanish
    • We may make notes at our meeting, and ask for your confirmation in writing that you agree them, for clarity and confidence.

    A Single Point of Contact

    John Wolfendale is your primary contact in the team. He is a British qualified Chartered Surveyor with over 23 years professional experience in southern Spain.

    John graduated in Land Economy from Magdalene College Cambridge, in 1984. Before moving to Spain he had a successful career in the commercial property investment market in London, and later Madrid working with Postel (now Hermes), Chartwell Land (Kingfisher) and Continente (Promodes).

    John has prepared a course in Sustainable Development in conjunction with Bayfield Training aimed at the London Commercial Property Market.

    How Much Does It Cost?

    Your big question at the beginning is how much will it all cost and what do I get for my money?

    Many people in the industry discuss the cost of building a house as if they were buying apples at the grocery store….this much per square metre or that much. This is a gross over simplification because there are some big uncertainties that can only be resolved when we get started such as:

    • The topography of your site: is it flat or on a slope?
    • The condition of the subsoil: how strong do the foundations need to be?
    • Landscaping and swimming pool: pergolas, terraced outside spaces, changing rooms, the paving round the pool, the pool itself, can vary greatly.
    • Finishes: windows, floors, doors, etc. can vary enormously in quality and cost.

    So this is how we solve the problem:

    • We show you examples and costs of projects that have been completed by our team (see below).
    • We meet on site to discuss any particular issues that may apply to your site.
    • Our building team, that have an intimate knowledge of how much things costs are involved from the outset, meeting you to discuss the costs and benefits of different options before you spend a lot of money on architectural fees.
    • We are systematic in getting you the answers you need to make informed decisions. We are careful to manage your expectations correctly.
    • We ask you for and we commit to work within a budget that you, once you are informed, set us.

    To discuss how much it may cost set up an appointment with John Wolfendale.

    Projects Completed

    We can show you a range of villas that have been built buy our team for example in Benahavis Madroñal Marbella, Guadalmina, Marbella, Nueva Andalucia Marbella, Iznajar, and Salobreña and other locations.

    There are many and here is a small handful:

    Here is a quickfire slide show that gives you a flavour of what we were doing in autumn 2018. We are always up for new challenges.

    You can see the projects that are in the design phase or currently under construction in 2019 here: We love showing people around the sites and explaining all the design features.

    There are others that are protected behind a password where our clients have specifically asked us not to show them on our website. We respect their privacy and we provide the password to sincere prospective clients.

    Call us to discuss how much your project might cost +34 958 990 964

    Project Management

    Over the years, as we pick up information about how other architectural studios manage their projects, we have come to realise that, compared to the others, the supervision of the works is something we are particularly good at.

    Recently we have had a client say to us, as we are halfway through the build, “the best thing we ever did was use Eco Vida Homes. Fran and Domingo treat it as if it were their own home”.

    We have also just been asked by a significant Belgium property developer to replace a well known architectural studio and supervise the building of three up market villas in Los Flamingos. We will fulfil the role of direccion facultativa and project management.

    The design and build of a high quality, custom designed villa, is part art and part science. It is a complex process that, even with a well thought through design and detailed specification, requires hundreds of decisions to be made every day for a period of months.

    We believe that comprehensive care and attention at this level is essential to meet your expectations. It requires committed, seasoned professionals, who are also creative.

    The amount of love and care that go into the little design details make a big difference to the buildings performance, and your quality of life within it. In many ways getting this right has a lot to do with attitude and personality. We care. It’s as simple as that.

    Design Principles

    Inside Outside Living
    We’ve all come to Spain to enjoy the fabulous weather. The air is healthy and clean and the views inspiring. That’s why we consider the outside to be as important as the inside because that is where you will spend a lot of time dining, cooking, and relaxing. We create inside outside spaces where you can enjoy the lovely climate.

    A Space for Each Moment of the Day
    We like to create spaces for different moods at different times of the day: sunrise at breakfast, a drink at sundown, and spaces for reading, relaxing, and conversation.

    Our homes are open and airy with tall ceilings, lots of natural light, spacious and balanced ventilation.

    Many of our clients from northern Europe like a large open plan living space with tall ceilings, which makes the best of the views and the terraces and garden, for cooking, living and dining. This is often missing in Spanish designs where the kitchen is in a separate room and little thought is given to the ergonomics of the spaces.

    We like to introduce soft, stylish textures to create a sense of well being and warm atmosphere. We find many Spanish designs have predominately cold hard surfaces.

    It Makes Financial Sense

    Our Homes Cost Less to Run
    Your heating cooling and water costs will be between 40% and 60% less in one of our homes compared to a conventional home in Spain.

    Our Homes are Worth More
    Studies show that people will pay 20% more or over for an “eco home”

    Our standard home should get Energy Certificate C or B.

    Our Homes are Future Proof
    As the effects of climate change become ever more startling government and EU regulations are getting tighter. From 2019 all new builds have to be carbon zero. Market values will reflect the extent to which your home complies. A significant financial investment should be future proofed.

    Build Costs
    The build costs are the same as a conventional build of the same quality

    It’s Simple; One Team For Everything

    We solve all problems from one source

    • Architecture
    • All licences and permissions and bureaucracy
    • Construction

    We simplify the whole process. You deal with one integrated team.

    Eco Principles

    Comfort & Health:
    There’s nothing quite like being warmed by radiant under floor heating. It’s like being warmed by the sun and quite different from other forms of heating your home. All the surfaces in the house radiant the correct temperature.

    Good sound insulation, external walls, internal walls, and windows make your home a calm place to live and be respectful of each other’s privacy.

    A healthy home is a happy home. We design for healthy internal air conditions free from mould, dust bites, and toxic materials which aggravate allergies.

    We can install smart meters which ensure your home is always at the right humidity and temperature for you.

    Energy Efficiency
    We design for energy efficiency. This includes the careful orientation of the rooms, window placement, and shading to maximise solar gains in winter and minimise them in summer.
    We use high performance insulation and windows and make sure there are no thermal bridges to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer.

    Sustainable materials:
    We favour the use of locally sourced sustainable materials which are renewable, recyclable, easy to maintain, and long lasting. We offer renewable energy systems.

    John Wolfendale of Eco Vida Homes has written a course in Sustainable Development in collaboration with the leading training company Bayfield Training aimed at the international commercial property industry.

    Values and Personality Statement

    Eco Vida Homes is a Small Company with a Big Mission: To influence the home building industry in Southern Spain in two positive ways:

    • Make the players more focussed on their client needs
    • Make energy efficient homes mainstream

    By competing hard in these two areas we anticipate that the competition will imitate us. In this way we can influence the home building industry way beyond the villas that we ourselves design and build.

    What makes us different?

    Who we are is unique. The competition may imitate our messages, our designs, and our protocol but they cannot be us.

    Much of our success comes from the personal style of Domingo Càrdenas our head architect: his integrity, his skills as an architect, and his personality.

    We are professional and experienced. We are also very straight. What you see is what you get. We are not “corporate” and we do not posture.

    EVH Ethical Code of Practice

    We require that everyone in our team adheres to the following code of practice:

    • Act with integrity
    • Always provide a high standard of service
    • Act in a way that promotes trust in the business
    • Treat others with respect
    • Take responsibility

    EVH is regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in London.

    We take pride in the following

    • We are proud to be making a positive contribution to the fight against climate change
    • We are proud of having grateful clients
    • We are proud to pay our taxes
    • We are proud to be influencing the design and construction industry