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Windswept Villa, St. Kitts

rl_winter_2011_page_29_image_0001Tucked into the ancient hills, cosy harbourside and dramatic shoreline of Sandy Bank Bay, the four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom Windswept Villa borrows from the tradition of the world’s great hideaways. Expertly marrying Riviera-inspired glamour with soul-stirring Caribbean style, the new Christophe Harbour property embraces a time when the living was easy, dancing to its own gentle rhythm and promising a lifestyle of serenity far, far from the madding crowds.

Set astride the Atlantic and Caribbean Seas on the leeward island’s south-eastern peninsula, Windswept Villa’s 3,893 square feet of drama play out against a rugged, romantic terrain where tropical hillsides swell from the ocean floor like the undulating crest of a giant sea monster. With architectural design courtesy of Stephen Herlong of Charlestonbased Herlong & Associates, Windswept Villa’s site responsive design and casual elegance allow for the purest form of living.

rl_winter_2011_page_29_image_0002Drawn by the connection to the great outdoors, it took only one weekend visit to convince the owners to high-tail it out of their frenetically-paced lives and move in to paradise. Here, gazing out over the endless horizon, life became simple; priorities suddenly clear. “We knew that we could raise our children here without the need for too many ‘screens’ (TV, computer, Playstation) – that we could allow them to actually be children.” Recharging only their own batteries, the family’s rejuvenating retreat set a new pace of life – one they thought was long-gone. Taking refuge in the soaring hills, the sympathetic design provides a layout that “accommodates the sandy feet and book bags of our children.” And, as if blown in on the warm tradewinds, a new rhythm of life evolves, inspired by the simple indigenous forms at the heart and soul of the Caribbean story.

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According to Herlong, “A keen understanding of the light and breezes shaped the arrangement of spaces as we created both leeward and windward outdoor living areas.” A massing effect and wide roof overhangs, combine with a soft curvature, to allow the roof to envelop and protect the home, providing shade and shadow, and creating a harmonious home that nestles into its surroundings. Wooden wallaba shakes, Messel-green shutters and archways of locally-hewn stone anchor the villa in its setting, while indoor and outdoor spaces fluidly merge via broad pocket doors that feed out onto shady, natural stone decks and patios – perfectly at one with the ebb and flow of island life.

rl_winter_2011_page_31_image_0001Open-plan main living areas, designed to foster a relaxed and inviting ambience, seem to live and breathe in their natural environment, expanding to bring the charm of the island indoors. An outside living room, complete with curtains that waft in the warm breezes and plush seating so perfect for curling up with a good book, blur the distinction further. Clerestory windows frame views past the verandah to the pool and hillside beyond, while stucco walls combine with an organic palette of neutral colours, mahogany wood finishes and durable ceramic and stone flooring to create a home that, according to Susan Ford, Materials’ Coordinator, “flows clean.”

rl_winter_2011_page_31_image_0002With island chic interiors by St Kittsbased Allison Elebash of Allison Elebash Interiors, the comfort and serenity of personalised living spaces transition effortlessly outside. According to Elebash, “It was essential to find the right balance and make sure that the furnishings didn’t overpower the house, but rather complemented the relaxed feel.” Uncluttered, airy rooms blend classical elements with colour accents in aqua, green, yellow and coral. Soft linen draperies are trimmed in subtle tones, while natural woven shades and the muted geometrics of an antique Kars Kilim rug perpetuate the earthy vibe. Inspired by natural textures, tones and colours reminiscent of the design ethic of India Hicks, Elebash’s pairing of old and new gives the abode an almost tangible sense of ‘soul’, creating the illusion of an accumulation of objects over time. Bathed in natural light, high-vaulted ceilings, exposed whitewashed beams and creamy walls create an exotic haven at one with the inherent beauty of this soul-stirring sanctuary. “I wanted,” states the designer, “a house that instantly felt like home.”

With its elegant simplicity and native character, Windswept Villa’s sympathetic design grows out of the landscape, its proportions and lines artfully composed to mirror the beauty of its natural surroundings. Perfectly attuned to the easy living of the Caribbean, it is a place of soul asylum, celebrating the best that coastal living has to offer.

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