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Interiors

Villa Palmier, An Island Escape on St. Barts in the Caribbean

by Annie Werbler

Matt and , an American couple from Aspen, CO, recently remodeled a dreamy beach house for themselves and guests on the Caribbean island of St. Barts. Kate, a photographer with a passion for interior design, and her husband Matt, who has a background in construction and real estate, jointly revamped their idyllic with an emphasis on bringing the locale’s pristine outdoors in. A covered structure with a peaked, painted metal roof provides 1,000 square feet of floor space completely open to the air on two sides, but that square footage is doubled by the property’s exterior decks and gardens. “The small size was something that attracted us to the house because in working with smaller spaces,” Kate shares, “we were able to focus on every detail and every corner. We finished the house in a modern, organic style with a neutral color palette to invoke a sense of serenity.” The retreat offers a harmonious lifestyle, “a place for us, family, and friends to reconnect with each other, nature, and escape the modern, fast pace of life.”

A tight three-month remodel deadline proved challenging, as most materials and fixtures had to be shipped from elsewhere to the island. But with the help of the expert local property manager who knew how to get things done, the family managed to carve out their own airy niche with eclectic finishes while maintaining the breezy feeling characteristic of the area. “Everything about the island is small, quaint, and aesthetically pleasing,” Kate adds. “There are no traffic lights, big hotels, or cruise ships — something quite unique in the Caribbean.” With spring fast approaching, the Holsteins, pup Bugaboo, and a new baby girl joining the family in July look forward to taking in the ocean view, sea breezes, and crashing waves for years to come. —

Photography by

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The St. Barts getaway home where Kate and Matt Holstein created seamless indoor and outdoor living.
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The Holsteins enjoying some boating activities off the island.
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Inside the main living room, the home's entry courtyard and master bedroom are visible. An antique wooden console, straw hats, and a market bag provide a practical landing strip.
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"What we love most about our house is that you can hear the sound of the waves and see the perfectly blue sea from every room in the house. And warm croissants from the local bakery in the morning, and the sea breeze that blows throughout the house, and enjoying a glass of cold rosé on the deck at sunset, And... And... And..." - Kate and Matt Holstein
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Grassy poufs provide a comfy spot for lounging on the woven leather rug from local store Baya St Barth. Behind the white Gervasoni Brick living room sectional hangs a framed photograph by Kate.
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The reading corner in the master bedroom with a woven leather chair from local store Yume, pendant lighting by Ay Illuminate, and Bugaboo lounging comfortably.
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In the master bathroom, the walls and floor were finished in Italian lime plaster for a crisp yet textured effect.
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Open shelving and light-colored finishes in the bright and airy kitchen.
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The kitchen's bar opens onto an outdoor view and counter seating.
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A Balinese tigerwood table for relaxed outdoor dining on the covered deck.
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The property's 2,000 square feet is split between half covered and half uncovered space.
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A hammock and hanging chair offer plenty of seating options for gazing out at the landscape from the covered deck.
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Bugaboo listens to tunes on the stereo outside the home's second bedroom.
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Inside, a built-in bed and ferm LIVING hanging closet make use of a small space.
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The entry courtyard, with Bugaboo keeping guard.
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The local beach Anse des Cayes (and its spectacular view) is a leisurely five-minute stroll from the house.

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Comments

  • This space is so dreamy! The bright white color throughout the home is amazing and the neutral color pallet doesn’t take anything away from the gorgeous setting. I will definitely be dreaming that I’m here tonight when I go to bed….heaven!

  • It’s a beautiful space. How does the house close up in poor weather? Are there stages for different needs, from a chilly evening to hurricane season?

    • Hi Cate,

      Good question! There are electronic hurricane shutters that drop down (they are hidden in the ceiling). These really only come down when there’s a bad storm or if the house is closed down and no one is staying there. The rest of the time the space stays open. The bedrooms close off and have A/C, but the main living area/kitchen/dining stay open. The climate in St Barts is such that year round, you can enjoy indoor/outdoor living!

  • After just reading the title: VILLA PALMIER, AN ISLAND ESCAPE ON ST. BARTS IN THE CARIBBEAN…. I ran upstairs & packed my suitcase – now I’m standing at the entry for pick-up to Paris Airport – haven’t even looked at the photos – I KNOW it’s what the doctor subscribed to put an end to the grey winter – lol….
    How gorgeous is that? Perfect – and as a doggie lover I’m pleased that I/we shall be looked after by your pet :)
    And like the others, I wonder how you lock up the place when you need to. Have you got doors hidden away? Excellent taste, lovely, wonderful soothing colours and your description, all boxes are ticked and here I come!!!

  • I am seriously interested in staying at your home for a much needed honeymoon/vacation!! Are you on VRBO or Airbnb or anything like that?! If not you should be. You’ve done a fantastic job on this house.

  • Could you tell me where those “poufs” on the floor are from? and the black stools as well as kitchen table/bench? I want to redo my beach house and literally i want every single thing in this gorgeous home, it feels like this entire house is my dream in images!!!

  • I’d also like to know about the poufs — you may want to keep your source confidential, but can you recommend vendors who sell these? Are they made of hemp?

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