Design Centre Stories

Caribbean Character

On the Caribbean island of Antigua, interior designers Sarah Ward and her daughter Rosie have created what many might describe as a slice of paradise.

Owned by the family and constructed on a rocky plot, the six-bedroom Villa Papillon took three years to build, and blends a neutral backdrop with bright colour that picks up on the azure sea that lays beyond. And while the flavour is distinctly Caribbean in its contemporary colonial style, the aesthetic has been achieved with many products sourced in London from Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour’s showrooms.

“To me, the ocean is like moving art and the soft noise of waves lapping against the shore is one of the most relaxing sounds in the world,” says Ward. “It was important to strike a balance between a neutral palette that wouldn’t detract from the views, and creating an inviting contemporary design that stays with guests long after they have left.” Walls and floors are largely neutral, in buff and off-white shades, but the textiles, accessories and artworks sing with colour, with lots of layering of fabrics to make the rooms look sumptuously comfortable.

The master bedroom, with its four-poster bed, exemplifies how the interiors reflect the tones of the sea and sand beyond the house. “The view of the water with the aqua tones inspired the colour scheme: turquoise hues and hot pink contrast wonderfully, and subtle metallic accents were incorporated to highlight the ‘silver dust’ apparent on the water,” says Ward.

The curtains, made from Black Edition’s sheer ‘Etero’ fabric (from Romo) possess the subtly radiant effect that she describes, while cushions in Chase Erwin’s gently textured ‘Rib’ aqua silk fabric is similarly lustrous, with both textiles contrasting with the matt woodgrain of the bed. The en-suite bathroom contains a freestanding nickel bath with equally mesmeric sea views, framed by locally made plantation-style shutters.

In the living room, Casamance’s bird-motif embroidered ‘Beauharnais’ fabric (from Colony) was the starting point for the whole scheme, “chosen for its Caribbean flavour, and the brilliant vibrant tones, which the light can handle, with enough interest and punch to provide a focus,” says Ward. Shades of tawny red and golden yellow are picked up across lampshades and the other cushion fabrics; the home-office just beyond features a chair upholstered in Schumacher’s ‘Petra Stripe’, an uneven orange stripe that sums up the laid-back look that Ward was after for a beach house.

On the upholstered kitchen stools, Ward has taken Etamine’s ‘Sandaga’ fabric (from Zimmer + Rohde), which depicts a series of women in lavish traditional dress, and isolated a single female form to appear centrally on the back of the stool.

Each of the bedrooms has its own balcony, but there is a large outside space too, with an infinity pool, an outdoor kitchen and bar plus space to relax shaded under a pergola.

Images: Jonathan Bond

Chase Erwin, Ground Floor, Centre Dome
Colony, Second Floor, Centre Dome
Romo, First Floor, North Dome
Schumacher, Ground Floor, South Dome
Zimmer + Rohde, Ground Floor, North Dome