La Formentera

The Woodland Refuge of Juan Montoya 

(Introduction, The Monacelli Press, 2012)

In the 1970s, renowned interior designer Juan Montoya lived on Formentera, a Balearic Island off the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Years later, in Garrison, New York, Montoya acquired land and built a sanctuary inspired by the majesty of the island he called home. The retreat he designed includes 100 acres of massive stone sculptures, an inviting pool complex, and rustic shelters made of rough stone. A rushing brook runs through the property, and empties into a lake with a small island where thousands of daffodils bloom in the spring. The property's main house, as well as its guesthouse, are decorated with an eclectic mix of furniture, objects, books, and art that provide Montoya with the fodder for his own creation.

Photographer Eric Piasecki has captured the beauty inherent to this unique place in all seasons—from the deep greens of summer, to the golden leaves of fall, to the pristine snow drifts of winter, to the first blush of spring. Karen Lehrman Bloch's engaging text tells the remarkable story of this refuge and the inspiration it gives Montoya and all who visit there. 

Normally, I don’t much like monographs that deal with a single garden. They’re often produced by people with more money than taste, and haven’t we seen enough of that for a lifetime? But LA FORMENTERA: The Woodland Refuge of Juan Montoya proves the splendid exception to my rule. Our able guide is Karen Lehrman Bloch, who recollects her first impression of this landscape: “I am on sacred ground.” 

Dominique Browning, "Holiday Books," The New York Times Book Review