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Privacy, Please

As architects in the Caribbean, we are always looking for opportunities to connect our clients to nature by creating spaces to enjoy island trade winds and views of turquoise waters, but we’re also keenly aware of a homeowner’s need for privacy. To achieve a balance of luxury, comfort, and privacy in open-air areas, consider these smart design solutions for your home to help conceal your outdoor spaces.

Choosing a Private Site

When looking to purchase a property, a homeowner that places a high value on privacy should consider peninsula and cliffside locations. Homes built on a peninsula provide a feeling of being on a private island with unobstructed views of the ocean, while owners still have easy access to nearby amenities. The Caribbean’s mountainous terrain offers the opportunity to conceal homes with surrounding nature by building into the cliffside. It’s important to work with your architect during the design phase to strike balance between the built environment and natural environment without either dominating the landscape.

Create Courtyards


Whether at the front, interior, or back of a home, a courtyard can be a welcoming, and relaxing transition from the outside world to the home’s inside spaces. This smart privacy solution creates connectivity between interior and exterior space while creating a feeling of serenity throughout the property. The open-air areas can be used for many functions but should have partitions on at least three sides to provide seclusion and privacy, even if it is positioned in the centre of a house. Your courtyard could be an extension of the kitchen, a garden paradise, outdoor shower, a recreation space, or merely a sitting area for quiet reflections. For added privacy, bubbling water features can incorporate into your courtyard design to block out neighbouring sounds.


Utilize the Natural Environment

Many homes in Virgin Gorda sit amid rock formations or within the landscape of giant boulder fields. While some may consider these boulders a design challenge, an architect with creativity and ingenuity see them as an asset and can work the boulders into the design and create natural areas perfect for one of Virgin Gorda’s unique natural offerings. As an example, at the Raku residence, OBMI wanted to highlight the enormous boulders as a notable feature on the property and use them contribute to the uniqueness of the landscape. The result is an incredibly natural accent weaved throughout the home giving it a luxurious sense of intimacy with its natural environment.


Subtle & Stylish Panels

A privacy panel or screen with an artistic or decorative design provides not only privacy but also beautifully patterned shadows that give life to any space. These custom pieces block the neighbour’s view while acting as an interesting outdoor focal point. Various spaces can benefit from privacy panels including a spa, lounge area or as a partition to divide large outdoor spaces. At Nevaeh Villa in Anguilla, OBMI selected beautiful hand carved stone panels from Bali to create privacy in a narrow space otherwise overlooked on the property. Using this space also created a private courtyard shower off of the main courtyard.

Whether you build from the ground up or are looking to create a private outdoor space enlisting the help of a designer will ensure you can maximize the opportunity to cleverly and artistically create a secluded oasis for your home.


Sian Seys-Evans, RIBA, LEED – Architect

Sian Seys-Evans, RIBA, LEED – Architect

A Registered Architect in the United Kingdom (ARB), member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and LEED Green Associate Sian has experience in the hospitality, commercial, and residential sectors. An integral part of OBMI’s Island Living Center of Excellence, she has extensive experience in residential design and Caribbean resort renovation, with projects spread throughout the Caribbean and the United Kingdom. Sian’s projects in the include the Westin Hotel, Little Dix Bay Resort, and Water’s Edge Commercial Development, as well as several BVI homes. Sian brings to OBMI full dedication to her projects, approaching each with a subtle balance of creativity and practicality, consistently exceeding client expectations.
Sian Seys-Evans, RIBA, LEED – Architect

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