Villa Esprit de Roche

Residential Renovation of a Villa in Colombier

Much of the traditional charm of building on Saint-Barthélemy has been retained in the renovation of Villa Esprit de Roche—a 1980s villa with three guest suites situated on the verdant hillside of Colombier high above the secluded Anse de Gascon beach—yet the idea was to add a contemporary feel, thus renewing & reinvigorating both the Spirit of the Rock (Esprit de Roche in French) as well as the spirits of it's inhabitants.
Dining Terrace of Villa Esprit de Roche before renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Dining Terrace of Villa Esprit de Roche before renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Dining Terrace of Villa Esprit de Roche after renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Dining Terrace of Villa Esprit de Roche after renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

To achieve this end, grey limestone flooring from le massif Calcaire Estremenho in Portugal is utilized throughout the property, linking interiors and exterior spaces. Moreover, a slate-like stone imported from northern Greece adds a veneer of sophistication to the exterior retaining walls through out the property. Stairs and circulation paths were simplified and the parking area doubled in size to accommodate enough guest parking suitable for entertaining.
Renewing & Reinvigorating the Spirit
Additionally, excavations resulted in a covered parking garage, improved technical spaces as per contemporary plumbing, electrical and HVAC standards and a full-service laundry room for the coordination of housekeeping. The pool terrace enhancements included a wet-bar, a sunset viewing deck and a natural grass lawn (zozia empire) framing a large Flamboyant / Royal Poinciana (delonix regis) tree.
Pool Terrace of Villa Esprit de Roche before renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Pool Terrace of Villa Esprit de Roche before renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Pool Terrace of Villa Esprit de Roche after renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Pool Terrace of Villa Esprit de Roche after renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Although the property is superbly located with excellent views and privacy—locked in by zoning laws which permanently eliminate encroachment from neighbors—the steep terrain presents a double-edged landscaping and engineering challenge. The thin topsoil limits vegetation and the steep slope left the property prone to the risk of small falling rocks and minor landslides during earthquakes or hurricanes. The original villa structures remain safely and firmly embedded in the bedrock of the site, but to mitigate risks of loose items from above the strategy included a series of terraced retaining walls. The benefit is two-fold: 1- mitigation against falling rocks and 2- creation of larger volumes of soil that provide for a more abundant growth and variety of trees on the property with palms such as the Alexander (ptychosperma elegans), the Latanier (coccothrinax barbadensis) and the Pygmy Date (phoenix roebelenii).

Historically Powerful Hurricane Irma

Lastly, as a final challenge to the renovation of Villa Esprit de Roche, the historically powerful Hurricane Irma savaged the construction site in September of 2017 with winds up to 200 miles per hour. Damage was modest but the benefit was that the few weak spots of the building were exposed and thus suitably repaired and strengthened during the renovation.

Villa Esprit de Roche damage after Hurricane Irma (September 2017).

Villa Esprit de Roche damage after Hurricane Irma (September 2017).

Villa Esprit de Roche damage after Hurricane Irma (September 2017).

Villa Esprit de Roche damage after Hurricane Irma (September 2017).

Thus throughout the renovation process Villa Esprit de Roche remains aptly named as it weathered both the Hurricane Irma storm and the winds of change, steadfastly poised above Anse de Gascon with a new look but the same timeless & invincible spirit of the rock.
Project specifications
Design Architect Bureau Xavier David
Structural Engineer Bureau Xavier David
MEP Engineer Bureau Xavier David
Construction Manager Bureau Xavier David
Landscape Designer Bureau Xavier David
Photographer Bureau Xavier David
Project Location Colombier, Saint-Barthélemy
Project Area 180 square meters (1, 940 square feet)
Project Year 2019
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