This private, 15,000 SF residence with 11 bedroom suites is located at the Four Seasons Resort Estates in Nevis, West Indies. The client, who is from Europe and an international businessman, plans to use the house for large family gatherings for approximately 2 weeks at a time as well as to use it for business entertaining. The client wished the house to be modern, sophisticated and elegant, yet casual and to capture the essence of Nevis, making the most of the spectacular 4 acre site.
To create privacy and keep the scale more intimate, the home is composed of five distinct structures. These consist of a great house for living, dining and cooking; a detached master suite villa; two similar detached guest villas each with 3 bedrooms; a detached guest wing with 2 guest master suites; a bunk room suite and a sitting room on the upper level over a large outdoor living room with a sitting area, outdoor dining for 22 people, outdoor kitchen with built in BBQ, pool table, game/card table, storage and a powder room below. Below the outdoor room is an Aman type spa with sauna, steam/wet treatment room, massage room, cooling room, exercise room, bathroom and refreshment bar.
To capture the views of St Kitts, the master suite is raised up approximately 18’ above grade and includes an office, wet bar and spa-like bath with large sliding doors opening up to a private upper terrace with large outdoor shower. The master villa is supported by columns above a private outdoor living room comprising a sitting area, outdoor TV, massage area, pool and powder room raised up about 6’ above grade to capture ocean views.
Each guest villa has a sitting, dining and kitchen area, covered outdoor living space and built-in BBQ. The great house has a large attached family TV room as well as a separate staff kitchen in addition to the family kitchen, staff lounge, 2 staff restrooms and a large laundry facility. All of the living spaces in the home are focused on the west ocean view except for the three bunk room suites and a sitting area on the upper level of the guest wing which look up to Mount Nevis. The great house and outdoor room are focused on views to the ocean as well as the two pools and extensive patio areas. The design team added a covered observation deck on the third level of the stair tower which has spectacular 360 degree views of the ocean, St Kitts and Mount Nevis.
The building locations and elevations of floor levels was precisely studied to maximize views through the use of extensive site visits with the owner utilizing a cherry picker type lift, so the design team and owner could experience the different views from varying heights throughout the property. The design team also did selective site clearing to open up view corridors while still maintaining a significant portion of the site’s indigenous trees to maintain the sense of place and the site’s natural qualities. Although street access is from the lower portion of the west side of the site, the design team strategically created a meandering two track driveway the winds through the trees along the south side of the site arriving at an entry court on the east side. Visitors then follow a slightly inclined walkway to arrive at the covered entry on the east side of the house, from which there are dramatic views through the house and down the axis of the outdoor lap pool out to the ocean.
The architecture of the great house with its curved roofs is inspired by many of the masonry vaulted/curved roofs of the old 18th century Sugar Mill buildings on the island. Traditionally, great houses on the island have the bedrooms on the second level above the public area, but we felt it would create a much more uplifting, light filled living area if the roof of the great house was vaulted without bedrooms above. This also created a better separation between entertaining spaces and private bedrooms. The curved barrel vaults were only used on the great house, making it the architectural focal point of the home. The villas have a partial curved roof while the master suite and guest wing have complimentary shed roofs. The overall design of the residence incorporates local indigenous stone cut and installed in a more modern way, cleanly detailed heavy timber mahogany beams and roof rafters, and mahogany doors and windows resulting in sophisticated yet contextual modern tropical home.
Design Team: Hans Berglund, Stephanie Lord-Johnson
Contractor: Four Season Estates Nevis, WI
Structural Engineering: Offset Consultants
Landscape Design: Four Season Estates Nevis, WI
Interiors: Casey St. Johns Interiors