Villa Kishti, Anguilla
Dramatic architecture and pared back interiors answer to the owners' desire for unadulterated sea views from Anguilla.
Words By Natasha Were
For Suresh and Nutan Bhalla, the one non-negotiable factorin their plans for a Caribbean holiday home was the view. They wanted not just a sea view, but a sunset view. And it had to be visible not only from the deck or the living room, but from every room.
On the rocky northwest coast of Anguilla – an island that fulfilled their criteria for safety, friendliness, quality of services and, of course, natural beauty – they found a parcel of land that provided the panoramic seascape they craved, and that all-important sunset, slightly left of centre. And there they built Villa Kishti at Black Garden: a villa whose vast dimensions and adventurous architecture embrace the wide, open ocean.
The Bhallas enlisted the help of Toronto-based architect Frank Hamilton, with whom they had worked on several previous projects, to help them create the seemingly impossible: a home that would capture the views from every angle, yet provide plenty of privacy for the couple and their three adult children.
“Essentially, the mandate was to bring the outside in,” says Suresh. “If you were lying in bed, sitting in the bath, or standing in the shower, you had to have a view of the ocean. That was what we insisted on.”
Acres of glass – floor to ceiling and wall to wall – were essential to provide those all-important views, but the ingenuity of Hamilton’s design is in the shapes and angles he employed and the orientation of each element, to ensure the ability to look out, without being looked in on.
Using the natural gradient of the land, he designed a series of interlocking spaces that descend towards the shore and fan outwards from a central hub, with two separate wings – one for the parents, the other for their sons – connected by curving tiered terraces and a cobalt blue arc of pool.
The boys’ wing comprises three independent suites, each with its own living area, terrace, and en suite bedroom, the other is a lavish, double-height master suite with two walls made entirely of glass.
“The dramatic drop of the land actually provided many positive opportunities,” the architect says. “It allowed for different views of the sea from all levels and also meant each of the three western suites could overlook the one below.” The glass walls of these suites were oriented away from the central terrace, affording them greater privacy and full frontal views of the setting sun.
The master suite, meanwhile, was designed to extend further towards the north, enabling Suresh and Nutan to see past their children’s wing and enjoy private sunset moments from their bedroom and outdoor hot tub.
The upward sweeping roof lines on each wing may be suggestive of ocean waves, but they also serve to open these spaces up even more to the elements – a feature that was only possible, the architect points out, because they face north and therefore do not receive direct sun.
Joining each wing are the gathering spaces – an open plan kitchen, living and dining room where wall-to-wall glass doors and transom windows above them frame the Caribbean Sea in widescreen cinematic style.
Given the large dimensions of interior spaces and extensive use of glass, the interiors had to be crafted with care and precision, so as not to jar or compete with the views. Canadian design firm Cecconi Simone stepped in relatively late in the process, says Suresh, but succeeded admirably in introducing a gently Asian aesthetic – the couple have travelled extensively in Asia and were particularly influenced by trips to Bali – while keeping it comfortable and contemporary.
Interiors therefore maintain the sense of space with a simple, elegant design that uses natural materials and muted, earthy tones. Low-slung furniture is positioned in such a way that it does not interrupt sight lines, and select decorative pieces – elephant sculptures, ornamental wood carvings and the prow of a Balinese boat, repurposed as a coffee table base – add an oriental touch.
Had the villa been located on a beach, the ambience would have been quite different, Suresh observes, but the volcanic rock shoreline is the ideal foil for such a distinctive and daring design. Suresh and Nutan Bhalla’s deep involvement in every stage of the design-build process has enabled them to create a one of a kind tropical retreat: a property where the combination of panoramic vistas and absolute privacy means that once they arrive, there’s very little reason to leave.
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