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Transformed from a rocky plot into a chic island escape, Villa Papillon in Antigua and Barbuda was three-and-a-half years in the making

Luxury homes are a dime a dozen in the Caribbean—but Villa Papillon in Antigua and Barbuda stands out thanks to an elegant design that combines style with function. 

The six-bedroom, six-bathroom home, nestled on the southwestern coast of Antigua near the Pearns Point peninsula with views of the famous Jolly Harbour oceanfront resort, offers dramatic views of the Caribbean Sea. 

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The property measures 12,500 sq ft. The interior space, set across four storeys, takes up 8,500 sq ft. Features include a vast reception room and kitchen, ensuites in all six bathrooms, a cinema and a home office.

A terrace of 3,500 sq ft comes complete with an outdoor kitchen and poolside bar, shower and ample space to enjoy the balmy Caribbean sun, as well as a stunning infinity pool. The rest are carefully landscaped grounds with local shrubs—avocado, lemon, mango and orange flame trees.

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Villa Papillon is the work of Sarah and Rosie Ward, the mother-and-daughter duo behind London-based interior design company Ward & Co.

Not only is this Ward & Co’s first venture in the Caribbean, it’s also a deeply personal passion project. Sarah Ward, who is creative director at the firm, had taken possession of the plot and built the home from the ground up—a process that took over three years. 

“For me, it was really about the beautiful views,” says Ward on her decision to acquire the land. 

The location also played a role: “Out of all the Caribbean islands, Antigua is the most uncontrived. There are 365 beaches; vast, unspoilt areas; and the people are incredibly friendly and welcoming.” 

“Eclectic, cocooning and relaxing” is how Ward describes Villa Papillon—French for “butterfly.”

“The name was inspired by the plentiful white butterflies we saw during the build—we are told they appear twice a year in Antigua,” says Ward. 

The home’s design, she adds, is a “welcoming, characterful space that celebrates the energy and spirit of the Caribbean—but is still authentic to our brand.” 

Neutral palettes with classical clean lines, layered with bold colours on different textures and patterns, are a hallmark of her firm’s projects, Ward says—and here, this approach is seen through the eye-catching artwork juxtaposed against a calm base palette. 

Meanwhile, Ward often finds inspiration in a home’s surroundings in her firm’s projects, and designing the interiors of Villa Papillon is no different.

“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,” Ward says. 

“The views were integral to my vision, and the entire focus when it came to considering the layout of the house.” 

The interiors are designed to create a seamless feel between the sea and the living spaces, and this is why glass is used throughout the home. 

The subtle pops of the colour in the spaces are chosen for their Caribbean flavour, explains Ward. They are “brilliant vibrant tones which the light can handle, and with enough interest and punch to provide a focus.” 

Striking a balance between interiors brimming with character that don’t distract from the ocean views, however, was also a consideration. That’s why it was important to incorporate understated tones throughout the space, and decorate with furniture below eye level.

The façade of the home is inspired by British colonial architecture—and this is especially evident in its symmetrical lines and plantation shutters. The balustrade at the front of the villa, on the other hand, is of a style typical of the Caribbean: these X-shaped railings are both practical and decorative, says Ward. 

Open-plan layouts with vaulted ceilings, an architectural form traditionally seen across Antigua, are designed to encourage the island’s balmy air to flow through the home. Plantation-style shutters, seen in many parts of the Caribbean, are installed in the bedrooms—all features that minimise the use of air conditioning.

It was essential for materials used in construction, such as glass and roof tiles, to be hurricane-proof. Meanwhile, the soil type and topography underwent assessment before construction began—and this influenced the decision to set the home into a hill. 

Natural materials and tactile fabrics dominate the spaces, which Ward describes as a “requisite nod to the island’s golden beaches.” 

In the formal living space on the first floor, beautiful tree slab tables by Xyleia Natural Interiors are placed by a safari tobacco leather sofa by Timothy Oulton. A corridor that leads to the bedrooms feature a variety of wicker pendants designed by Salley Story of John Cullen Lighting. 

Ward wanted the bedrooms to “each have their own personality”, so all six have different colour palettes. 

In the master bedroom, which faces the southwest, turquoise hues and hot pink contrast with the subtle metallic accents in the white linen curtains.

This design detail was incorporated to highlight the “silver dust” that twinkles on the calm blue waters in the afternoon sun, says Ward. It has a private balcony and an ensuite, which Ward says is “arguably the finest bathroom views to be found in the Caribbean.” 

Reflecting on the creation of Villa Papillon, Ward says it was important to create a contemporary design with long-lasting impressions. 

But that’s not all. “For me, the main considerations for this project were practicality, drama, elegance—and a desire to create a cocooning and comfortable interior with an aura of calm.”

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