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Saint John’s Solenborg Villa | Luxury Escape

Don Hebert Photography Commissioned by Whaletopia


elcome to the Solenborg Villa. Located by St. John’s Denis Bay, the Solenborg villa represents the degree to which one of the world’s most prolific design teams can create a property that integrates with its surroundings. New York-based architectural and interior designers Tony Ingrao and longtime partner Randy Kemper completed Solenborg just a few years ago. Selecting a spot deep within the U.S. Virgin Islands’ protected parklands, the property has been described as “dazzling” for its sophisticated yet refined comfort. Ingrao established his own architectural firm in 1982 and quickly developed a reputation for projects innovatively incorporating light, materials, and texture and considering how the interior relates to its surroundings. A regular on the AD100 list, Ingrao has created private residential properties in the U.S. and Caribbean, as well as in Europe and the Middle East, and has designed homes for Jack Welch, Kim Cattrall, Donnie Deutsch, and Goldie Hawn, in addition to some of the world’s most influential power brokers and real estate moguls. Before the two came up with a plan for Solenborg, Ingrao and Kemper traveled regularly to the Caribbean for two decades and, at one point, remodeled a home on St. John’s south side, an area with a more desert-like climate but not far from the Virgin Islands National Park. However, as they worked on this property, they discovered the beautiful vistas located within the vicinity, and decided to design a personal residence and vacation home by a hillside that opens to a vast seascape. The result was villa consisting of two independent double-level structures, as the U.S. Virgin Islands’ building codes restrict all dwellings to two stories. Together, these parts function separately yet work together. The lower unit, designed for visitors, consists of four bedrooms, plus an elaborate screening room and various lounge chairs. The space’s definitive characteristic is walls of detailed zebra bamboo. The upper portion, also known as the main house, is a bit more elaborate. Ingrao and Kemper designed it to have an 80-foot Great Room on the first floor, along with living, dining, and game areas. Off the Great Room, a deck

This Paradise of an Ultra-Luxury Property is a Top Choice for your next Vacation Home Offered at: $21,000 USD per week Location: St. John and bow-fronted infinity pool extends out, and if you glance toward the sky, a series of terraces and balconies overlook the area. The floor above then features a master suite and guest room. But, the two didn’t stop there. The rooftop is essentially another floor, albeit one in the outdoors, for lounging and taking in the surroundings. Here, a hot tub, created with blue-colored glass tiles, makes the space’s centerpiece. Once in and relaxing, you’ll get a stunning view of the nearby waters, where sailboats pass through during the day, and can even see other islands in the distance. But, Solenborg isn’t just about the features. Rather, Ingrao and Kemper had to strategically think about every material going into the villa. Based on the local climate and eco system, certain materials simply weren’t feasible. In fact, Ingrao explained in a previous Architectural Digest interview, their first attempt involved a bit of troubleshooting: “We once put down a bunch of great North African carpets and returned six months later to find that they’d been devoured by insects.” In drawing up a home that wouldn’t deteriorate or seem unreasonable within its surroundings, they considered the climate’s multiple facets that occur throughout the year: intense sun, wind, and rainstorms. In response, Solenborg’s construction consists of mold- and mildew-resistant materials. Local granite and silver travertine make a firm yet harmonious foundation with the hillside. Less typical for the Virgin Islands but still suitable for the climate are Italian sandstone, bamboo, and porcelain wall tile. Along with these, they used durable fabrics and outdoor textiles for most upholstery, with the only exception being decorative pillows made with Fortuny cottons. Along with these aspects, the materials’ hue blends within the nearby park, so Solenborg doesn’t appear as an anomaly. For instance, the villa’s exterior bronze hue intentionally reflects the bark found on St. John’s turpentine trees. The trend, of course, isn’t exclusive to the color. The rest of Solenborg seems to materialize out of the landscape, and that was Ingrao and Kemper’s intention. To realize this effect, their plan involved designing an overall rugged property juxtaposed with whimsical www.ClienteleLuxury.com | 7

Profile for Clientele Luxury Magazine

Clientele Luxury Summer 2016  

Clientele Luxury Summer 2016