Lucas Fox sales agents Monica Nahas, Liza Kjellberg and Amaury Vivien talk to us about their love of Barcelona and working for Lucas Fox
Monica, Liza and Amaury recently spent a morning at one of Lucas Fox’s most spectacular properties in the prestigious area of Sarrià in Barcelona’s highly sought-after Zona Alta. The modern, spacious house has been recently renovated with high quality finishes and boasts brand new, stylish bathrooms, a contemporary living room with a fireplace, a fantastic open-plan kitchen and a stunning rooftop terrace with a swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a sauna and breathtaking city and sea views.
The property is located close to leading local and international schools and well connected to the centre of Barcelona and the airport.
CF: Liza, as a lover of architecture and design, what makes this property a stand-out home in your opinion?
LK: It is in a quiet area but still very close to the city centre and not too far from the international schools. The property has a lot of light with several terraces and a rooftop with a pool, a jacuzzi and a sauna! The kitchen is the most important room in my country (Sweden) and this definitely has a great open-plan one.
CF: Monica, what did you like most about the house, both in its design and location?
MN: Its privileged location that gives you a unique view of Barcelona, and also the good looking neighbouring houses. The design is cool and provides a modern atmosphere, made to take best advantage of the natural sun light, so the house has a fresh feeling coming from all floors and rooms.
CF: Amaury, describe what you can see from the top vantage point of the terrace? How many properties in Barcelona can boast this view?
AV: The view from this property is AMAZING. You can see all along the coast stretching from Castelldefells and Gavà Mar to Badalona. And obviously all of Barcelona’s monuments, including the Sagrada Família and the Palau Nacional in Montjuïc.
CF: What for you are the most enjoyable aspects of being sales/rental agents for Lucas Fox?
MN: Having the opportunity to sell only beautiful and carefully selected properties, meeting excellent people and making friends with clients.
LK: Meeting so many different people from all over the world. It is amazing to be part of selling beautiful property in the prime location of Barcelona.
AV: The environment we work in, having the opportunity to work on Barcelona’s best properties and the people we meet where we create a real relationship of trust and professionalism, that many times goes beyond just work.
CF: For those who are unfamiliar with Lucas Fox, what aspects of the company do you think people will be impressed by?
MN: Availability of the agents, working hours that are quite different (better!) from the regular Spanish model, about 12 different languages spoken, and the quality of the properties that are offered, only in prime locations.
LK: Great service, professionalism and experience. An honest company with “both feet on the ground” with the biggest and best portfolio of properties.
AV: The professionalism of the team, the product that we promote and the languages spoken.
CF: How do you think working and living abroad has changed you as a person, if at all?
MN: It completely changed my perspective of the world and I have learned a whole lot more about real life than if I had stayed at home. I’ve learned how to step out of my comfort zone. I’m not scared of changes and learning about different cultures and religions has made me respect all of them. I’ve learned languages I didn’t know existed and have become more open minded. I always knew that I wanted to get out and explore. Geography, History and Languages were always my favourite subjects at school and where I got my best grades. I lived and studied in New York when I was 16, Amsterdam when I was 21 and arrived in Barcelona at age 29, so I’m a kind of a pro in this matter.
LK: To be more open minded and to learn from different cultures and people. You choose the best from all and I think that makes you a better person.
AV: Being more open minded, understanding cultural difference and adapting to a different audience. Living in the US and working for an American company taught me to be rigorous and business oriented. Living in Australia taught me that there are so many beautiful places in this world that I want to keep travelling. Living in London gave me the opportunity to meet so many interesting people from all over the world. I also realised that it is not raining every day there, just 95% of the time!
CF: Do you feel integrated into Barcelona life?
MN: Yes, I try to go to events and explore the city as much as I can! It’s my favourite life style out of all the places I have lived, and it fits perfectly into my ideal of quality of life.
LK: Absolutely. I have a Catalan husband ;)
AV: I was very lucky when I arrived in Barcelona. A Taiwanese friend that studied with me in Boston gave me the phone number of a Catalan friend of his that was also in Boston the year before I arrived there. So I called him on the second day I arrived in Barcelona and he invited me to watch a Barcelona Madrid football game and introduced me to all of his friends. It was a really good experience and since then they are my group of friends in Barcelona. Catalan people are very welcoming.
CF: Liza, as a mum, how do you think your daughter will benefit growing up in Barcelona? What languages does she speak and how does she relate to going back to Sweden during the holidays?
LK: She already speaks 3 languages at age 3 and is also learning English. That’s definitely a benefit of living abroad. It is important to be confident within yourself, then you can probably live anywhere – but Barcelona is a great city with so many things to offer and is for sure going to be one of Europe’s most important cities for future business. Mia is very much looking forward to going to Sweden for the holidays – because that is where “tomten” comes from ;) and her Swedish family and friends live there too of course.
CF: Monica, can you share some of the differences and similarities to life in Catalunya to life in Brazil? What are the key things you miss from your home country?
MN: Brazil has the most friendly and relaxed population in the world in my opinion. I feel that here sometimes people are really stressed out, especially in traffic, they tend to shout a lot and argue very, very easily. Patience is not a virtue here, and coming from Brazil makes it quite difficult to understand. Brazilians deal everyday with fear of being robbed, we have a radar for danger installed in our brain. Here in Spain nobody really needs to worry about it, only about pickpockets. Food is amazing in both countries – wine is not even close (Spain 10 Brazil 0). Natural beauty is something that both places have but in very different ways. I’m from an island called Florianopolis that has 42 beaches so I’m quite spoiled with that, but I think the rocky beaches in Spain and its blue waters are amazing.
CF: Monica, you are married to an Englishman. Why did you choose Barcelona to live? Is it a case of finding a harmonious compromise between the two cultures?
MN: Yes, it’s a perfect mix of Brazil and England, we think. Good food, happy sunny outdoors life, culture and security. We fell in love with the city when we came to visit some friends who lived here, Adam and Chris, and two hours after our arrival we felt that this city had it all. We moved here one year after that first visit, and luckily I started working for Lucas Fox straight away due to my previous experience in my family’s real estate business.
CF: Amaury, the French have long since had a love affair with Catalunya, particularly the Costa Brava and Barcelona. Why is that (and not just because of its proximity!)?
AV: Spain is all a Parisian like me would want for holidays or for living. It has a beautifully wild coast, amazing beaches, the gastronomy is really good and people here have the culture of eating out, going to restaurants, enjoying times spent on a terrace and going “de fiesta” which to me is pretty attractive. And more than anything it is so nice when you wake up every morning to open the window and look at a sunny blue sky.
CF: Amaury, what do you love most about living in Barcelona compared to your former life in France?
AV: The quality of life is much better. The weather is an important part of the reason but also the way of life of Spanish people. Also living in Barcelona means you are ten minutes from the beach or an hour and a half from Begur, my favourite place on the Costa Brava, in the summer. Then in the winter you are just two hours away from a ski resort! What else can I ask for?!
CF: Can you name me three of your favourite haunts.
MN: Only three is very difficult. Tapas in Bar del Pla, a barbecue in Tibidabo’s Asador de Aranda (that terrace!) and all the activities, parties and museums on Montjuïc!
LF: An early morning run in Parc de la Ciutadella or on the beach. A “secret” open air restaurant behind the Castell de Montjuïc. BBQ, DJ, sunbeds, having the first beer in the sun in Spring under the pine trees with an amazing view over the sea. Coffee and homemade carrot cake at Bliss by the hidden square on Plaça de Sant Just.
AV: Ajo Blanco in Tuset to eat and have cocktails, the beach front CDLC and the Martínez on Montjuïc.
CF: Describe Barcelona in 3 words.
MN: QUALITY – OF – LIFE!
LK: International. Cosmopolitan. Sunshine.
AV: Historical. Cosmopolitan. Fun.