Castle in the Sand, The Bahamas
Take the vibe and facilities of a luxury hotel, add even more space and privacy and that imitable feeling of being at home (albeit an unspeakably glamorous one) and you have 20 Princess lsland; a property so heart stoppingly pretty that one can imagine it inhabited by angels – Victoria’s Secret angels that is.
The 13,600 sq ft residence – which can be found in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island – is owned by former president of Victoria’s Secret Mail Order, David Kollat. The revered businessman (Kollat has been listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World since 1980) “bought the property in the spring of 2002.” While many people are thrilled to hand over the keys to a decorator, David wanted to stay closely involved: “The architect (John Mitchell), interior designer (David Berg) and I designed the house over a three year period. We began construction in June 2005 and completed in March 2008. I love this house so much”.
And for good reason. The estate (which has been made to Miami/Dade standards) overlooks the ocean making it the ultimate in exotic escapism. The lush landscape – coconut and Cuban palms, Gumbo-limbo and sea grape trees, oleander, hibiscus, green and silver buttonwood – combined with 1.44 acres of private beach and 0.28 acres of canal only serve to heighten this feeling further. Meanwhile the elegant façade makes you think you have stepped back in time to a far more graceful age and is very much in keeping with Kollat’s taste. He explains: “When I was in the fashion business I spent a lot of time in beautiful mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, and Palm Beach, Florida. I loved the architecture of Palm Beach, particularly the work of Addison Misner; his work was the primary inspiration for the architectural style of the house. The architect and I used coral, hand made barrel roof tiles [made in Colombia and secured with stainless steel nails and cement], pecky Cyprus and so on in the style of the 1920s, but blended in modern necessities and touches like hurricane proof windows and doors.”
Yet while the architectural appeal is amazing, the interior space is equally spectacular. The downstairs consists of an entry hall and a large living room with parquet oak floors, as well as an impressive fireplace that provides a touch of welcoming warmth. There is also a majestic kitchen with a dining area and doors leading out to the loggia, as well as a more formal dining area that manages to be elegant without being intimidating. Elsewhere you will find a library complete with Cyprus panelled walls with wainscoting, a fireplace (there are 10 in total: four inside and six out) and doors opening out to the sea – the beach is no more than a 30 second walk. Other pluses? How about a prized powder room with Waterworks fixtures, Cyprus vanity with white Cararra marble top and filled coral floor or – for film afficionados – a media room from which you can enjoy not only a myriad of movies, but stunning sea views guaranteed to leave you purring with satisfaction.
Truly this place has been designed for entertaining on a grand scale; not only does the palatial premise boast two out buildings (one a housekeeper’s quarters and storage and the other a two car garage), it also houses six bedrooms including four guest bedrooms. Here standout features include coral filled floors that give a feel for the Caribbean, doors that open onto a terrace and bathrooms boasting a bath with Waterworks fixtures and a rain shower. But the main master bedroom takes some beating equipped as it is with enough marble to rival Rome. The master suite comes complete with a closet that provides ample space to store a wardrobe worthy of Carrie Bradshaw, while the bathroom includes an oversized marble shower and special rain shower plus a double vanity with marble surface on Cyprus cabinets which enclose a bar and refrigerator. All told, the standard of work and attention to detail is exceptional.
As for the décor, the colour scheme ranges from masculine deep chocolate browns to bright whites and breezy blues that create a light island mood while custom made Ralph Lauren furnishings lend an instant hit of chic. Over 100 objects d’art by celebrated artists such as Stephen Kelly, Bruce Tolman, Marcella Mumet and custom framed prints of famous work by Picasso, Warhol, Matisse, Miro, Lichenstein and the like up the ante even further.
The building also boasts every amenity an owner could desire; domestic gods and goddesses will no doubt appreciate the state of the art kitchen with its Wolfe range griddle, grill, two ovens and four burners, two Monogram dishwashers, trash compacter and Sub Zero refrigerator and freezer. Other first class facilities include a fully equipped gym, heated outdoor pool, Brunswick pool table, Baldwin grand piano, Creston music system, phone paging system, wireless internet and flat screen televisions in each room.
With so much on offer, Kollat concedes that it is hard for him to single out a favourite spot: “I love being everywhere in the house, on the loggia and by the pool – all of which are within 100 feet of the ocean,” he says. “The beach stretches for nearly a mile each way, and several days can pass without seeing a single person walk by. The water is seven shades of blue and the sunsets are spectacular. I feel totally relaxed, peaceful and tranquil.” It is easy to understand why; this is a tempting place to ‘chill out’.
Kollat is convinced that someone else will soon fall in love with the place for this abode undoubtedly has the ‘wow’ factor. Sometimes a property is so intent on being cool that it forgets to be characterful or comfortable but 20 Princess Island is all three. As such, it is not only a great investment but one of The Bahamas’ most exclusive residences.
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