- March 1st, 2007
- in Yachting
OF PEACHESAND CREAM – “Good things come to those who wait,” may be a cliché, but this beautiful, contemporary Caribbean take on a Palladian style villa took almost a decade to find. The current owners really did look all over for their BVI dream home, from West End to Beef Island. After all, if you are looking for a dream, the reality must be perfect.
I asked, rather redundantly, what drew the current owners to Villa E, and why it fulfilled their vision. “Look around you,” they said. “It’s just beautiful. It’s like living in a fairytale.” It is a truly stunning setting, overlooking as it does the gentle turquoise waters of Little Bay that kiss gleaming, golden, deserted sands. To the east, the view takes you across to Guana’s mellow mountains and the blue sea beyond. Before you, and to the west, the sapphire blue ocean stretches away uninterrupted to merge with the peerless, cyan sky. The mature, well manicured 1.4 acre plot is home to two self contained, private two-bedroom units set on either side of a central courtyard containing a beautiful pool. Lush, tropical gardens meander around giant boulders, filling the estate with an abundance of colour and tantalising tropical scents.
Palladio always designed his villas with reference to their location. When the property was located half way up a hill, he would ensure all facades would be of equal value so that the views in all directions could be admired. He also built porticos all around the house – roofed walkways, open on one side, supported by sturdy columns. With a little license for modernisation and a little Caribbean ethnicity, Villa E takes all this in with its design.
We arrive at this romantic hideaway via a long paved drive lined with pristine white walls and flowering Oleander, (there’s plenty of parking space and room to turn around) and begin our tour at the west wing.
As we enter the freshly-decorated living room we’re greeted by rays of sunshine streaming through the mahogany French doors and long windows that adorn alternate facets of the hexagonal-shaped sitting room. The light bounces gaily off the polished terracotta tiles and crisp, cream walls, drawing attention to the ornamental plasterwork of seashells and original art adorning the walls. Outside, the portico serves as an al fresco dining area overlooking the beach and sea. The high, wood-beamed ceilings – featured throughout both houses – amplify further the spacious feel of the open plan living area, which includes a dining area and a well equipped kitchen with granite counter tops.
The two king-sized bedrooms form a wing on either side of the living room. The master suite provides a stunning view of the sea from its own portico reached through mahogany-framed French doors, and has an en suite marble bathroom with a large shower and walk in closet. The second, or guest, bedroom has built in mahogany furniture and views of Little Bay framed by a long picture window. The en suite bathroom offers amusing little quirks such as a clam shell sink and pretty detailing in the tiling, and storage for linens and attire is achieved with a sizeable walk in closet.
Walk down the terracotta steps leading away from the master suite, and under the pergola, and you follow a tradition stretching back to the classical villas of ancient times; the use of outdoor enclaves around which are placed the villa’s various structures. In this case the heart of the estate is a natural area of boulders, down through which a waterfall trickles, feeding a swimming pool set in a balustraded terrace that enjoys open views over the bay and beach.
The eastern unit sits just above the pool terrace, its covered porches offering a shady option for poolside lounging and al fresco dining. Once more we find a central living area, beautifully decorated with Caribbean motifs in plaster and stucco, which stretches back into well equipped, bijou kitchen. The king sized bedroom wings, complete with en suite bathrooms (each with a clamshell sink, shower and a colour theme to suit) offer privacy and varying degrees of mood and relaxation. Make much of the hammock and hide away, quite literally, in the dense forest that abuts the easterly room; or open your doors and step from your bed into poolside revelry from the westerly room.
Villa E, quite simply stated, is beautifully designed. From its pristine, peaches and cream paintwork to its delightful collection of contemporary and antique furniture, careful attention has been paid to even the minutest of details. Here, one would never want for comfort or convenience, and yet there nothing to detract from the romantic ambience it exudes. The view, of course, is breathtaking and Palladio himself would have found it hard to situate the houses to take better advantage of it. For the more practical minded, the villas require little up keep, have air conditioning where necessary, offer plenty of storage space, and have water from both cisterns and Towns supply. It’s a picture perfect, perfectly practical hideaway.
Asking: $1.485 million