Cover Functioning like an open-air living room, the pool house features a spacious veranda overlooking the pool and beach, and is where the family enjoy spending most of their time together

Designed by Philadelphia-based firm Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design, this sprawling 1.4ha oceanfront estate in the Bahamas is a private holiday home that features a spacious main villa, guest cottage and pool house that are connected by tranquil courtyards

When it comes to dream vacation homes, scenic destinations such as the beautiful islands of the Caribbean are sure to rank high on the list. And for one family, this dream turned to reality on the idyllic Paradise Island in the Bahamas with the construction of an expansive 1.4 ha (3.45 acres) oceanfront estate.

Comprising eight buildings including a spacious main villa, guest cottage and pool house spread across the grounds, it is no surprise that their sprawling holiday home is sometimes mistaken for a resort. Its buildings are connected by various courtyards, terraces and lush gardens that contribute to its tranquil environment.

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The clients, who had collaborated with Philadelphia-based firm Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design for more than a decade on various projects including corporate headquarters and residences in the US, trusted the studio to bring their vision of their dream vacation home to life.

“Their vision was a home that is classical in style, but not formal. It may have high-ceilinged rooms with generous proportions, but these spaces are approachable and warm, and simultaneously elegant and comfortable,” says Meg Rodgers, president and creative director of Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design. 

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“We strayed from a direct translation of the structures’ classical English style. Instead, we strove for a sophisticated and modern look, for airy rooms filled with space and light. We also (added) elements like gracious verandas for sun- and rain-protected outdoor living, steeply sloping roofs to quickly shed water, and generous shutters to control exposure to the sun’s rays.”

For instance, the front loggia of the villa, primary bathrooms and pool veranda include wood and cane settees from Sri Lanka that were sourced from Anglo Raj in New York City, inlaid wood panels on the wall of the Great Room came from India via Stephanie Odegard, and carved sandstone panels and walls from Sanastone were made in India.

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To achieve this unique balance, Rodgers worked with architects Ernesto Buch and Maria de la Guardia, and the team of professionals to create rooms that were a “blank canvas”. “Our aim was to create little worlds throughout the property that allow you to experience different feelings and moods,” says Rodgers.

Their starting point was to design custom millwork for each room depending on its function, such as a large-scale wall unit in an entertainment zone dubbed the Great Room to house the huge TV and display objects. The team also designed mini bars with custom Asian table lamps in the bedroom vestibules and bedroom vanities with bamboo carvings for the primary suites.

Rodgers then added various exotic details to embellish the neutral backdrop with a melting pot of Indian, Andalusian and Asian influences. “These cultures’ offerings, some of which once arrived on the island via trade ships, came to these shores by our hunting them down at auction or commissioning them from artisans in countries including India, China, Italy and Vietnam,” she says.

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Following the first-phase completion of the main villa—where the parents stay with their pet dogs and other close family members—and the guest cottage for friends, the team went on to build a beach house for one of their sons and his family to complete the compound.

Another favourite gathering point is the pool house, where a generously sized veranda overlooking the pool and beach doubles as an open-air living room from which to enjoy the balmy Caribbean weather.

With luxurious facilities such as a gym, sauna, marble steam room and courtyard paved with river pebbles, it is no wonder there is something for everyone at this recreational spot.

The overarching aim, Rodgers says, was to build an abode where nothing is too formal or precious to use. At the same time, the team also incorporated technological innovations such as hidden TVs and state-of-the-art devices to allow the family to seamlessly transition to work mode when needed. “They report that they get even more done here because they’re in such a relaxing environment,” she adds.

Besides the buildings, the outdoor spaces are also carefully curated. “For a peaceful breakfast, the family often chooses the veranda overlooking the shaded front courtyard. With its cooling fountain and lush greenery, it’s sheltered from the ocean’s salt spray and gusts,” she observes.

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“The property has turned out to be more of a second primary residence than a vacation home. The owners absolutely love it and spend as much time there as they can,” says Rodgers with much delight. “I know my clients well enough to know by now that this is the ultimate compliment!”

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