- December 5th, 2006
- in Yachting
COOL. CONTEMPORARY. CARIBBEAN – Renovation means to make new again. To restore and refresh. Such a transformation, the result of several years’ effort, can be found on the slopes at West End overlooking Frenchman’s Cay. There, on a wooded incline, what was a somewhat dilapidated rental property has evolved into the present day Villa Esmeralda, a gem of Caribbean style and contemporary taste.
Comprising two discrete units which are connected by an al fresco dining and pool area, Villa Esmeralda welcomes a visitor onto a sweeping verandah set about with comfortable seating and a table suitable for dining or simply taking in the magnificent 180-degree view, from Salt Island to Great Thatch. Four delightful vaulted double doors, each fully screened, open into a voluminous Great Room, furnished in High Caribbean style—rattan, mahogany and tile.
The dark-hued mahogany softens the sun’s glare, making the Great Room a cool and inviting interior space while the screened double doors to the verandah provide breeze from three sides. The rear half of this space comprises a large open kitchen which sits several feet higher, cleverly separating the functional from the social, allowing the chef to participate in the general festivities while keeping guests’ sightlines away from the trivial details of food and its preparation. Facing out over the living and entertaining area is a sizeable granite breakfast counter. Top-of-the-line GE appliances—a six-burner stove, double refrigerator and dishwasher—provide culinary power, while an enormous walk-in pantry provides a vast amount of storage.
The Great Room features a built-in wine rack and a glass-fronted credenza. A nicely sized bathroom, tucked into a corner behind the dishwasher, has a door leading to an enclosed outdoor shower. Three large ceiling fans move the air, and there is a powerful air conditioning unit to call upon when the weather turns sultry.
A feature of the loggia, which connects the entertaining and living area to the domestic, is the open-air dining area beneath a vaulted roof providing shade and protection from the weather. A plunge pool suggesting the shape of a grand piano sits against the tall rock wall at the rear of the property. Bathers can shower off in the outdoor stall attached to the Great Room. A state-of-the-art barbecue grill completes the poolside picture.
The domestic wing, at the eastern end of the loggia, features a master bedroom on the upper, poolside level, and an equally well-appointed bedroom below. Each bedroom has its own en-suite bathroom, ample closets and private balcony. The lower bedroom incorporates a small kitchenette, making it quite self-contained for the privacy-loving guest. The master bedroom has a large walk-in closet as well as a typical in-wall closet. Attached to the bedroom wing, near the pool, is an indoor laundry room with washer and dryer and additional storage space.
Set high above the waters to the eastern end of Frenchman’s Cay, Villa Esmeralda is more a pair of jewel boxes than a vast compound: the scale is intimate, the ambience sophisticated. Surrounded by thoughtful and colourful plantings and set off from its neighbours by the thick woods, this is a home for quiet entertaining and relaxation, yet there is space and the facilities are in place for entertaining a dozen, or a score, of guests at a time. A 20-Kw generator and 35,000-gallon cistern ensure continued comfort should services be disrupted by the weather. All windows and doors have fittings allowing the setting of storm shutters at short notice.
The advantages of living at West End are legion: proximity to several fine restaurants, to the ferry dock and to the marina and mooring field at Soper’s Hole, making Villa Esmeralda ideal for a yachting couple. The property has ample space to create a separate guesthouse, should new owners desire to do some renovations of their own.
Photos: YACHT SHOTS BVI