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Interiors

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

by Annie Werbler

Matt and Kate Holstein, 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 Villa Palmier 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. —Annie

Photography by Kate Holstein

Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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The St. Barts getaway home where Kate and Matt Holstein created seamless indoor and outdoor living.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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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
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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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.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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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.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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In the master bathroom, the walls and floor were finished in Italian lime plaster for a crisp yet textured effect.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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Open shelving and light-colored finishes in the bright and airy kitchen.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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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.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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A hammock and hanging chair offer plenty of seating options for gazing out at the landscape from the covered deck.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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Bugaboo listens to tunes on the stereo outside the home's second bedroom.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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Inside, a built-in bed and ferm LIVING hanging closet make use of a small space.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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The entry courtyard, with Bugaboo keeping guard.
Island Escape Villa Palmier on St. Barts in the Caribbean, on Design*Sponge
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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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