Enjoying The Caribbean
Designer Michael Brosché Heads To The Carefree Island Of Sint Maarten, Creating His Own Tropical Retreat On The Edge Of The Ocean
Michael Brosché, Michael Brosché Associates, Inc., Miami, FL
Sean Finnigan, Saint Martin, F.W.I.
(View full image and details by clicking on picture)
W hen designer Michael Brosché and partner Ronald Testa purchased this four-bedroom oceanfront villa on the Dutch side of the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten over five years ago, it started as a vacation and investment property. “But soon after we closed on it, we moved towards making it our primary home,” Brosché says. “Ron applied for a faculty position at the island’s American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine. He felt that this would move me towards retirement if I was away from my South Florida office. And, after four long years of commuting, I have retired and he is now dean of the university.”
Nicknamed Villa Tesché, taken from both the owners’ last names, the residence sits on an acre and a half of mountainside property approximately 200 feet above sea level. Stripping the place down to just the concrete structure and original roof beams, Brosché performed a complete renovation, resulting in a spacious and airy home with 3,000 square feet of covered living area, as well as additional outdoor spaces on multiple levels. With a carefree Caribbean style both inside and out, the plan of the home — a main structure with five separate pods under one roof and a detached guesthouse — requires owners and guests to transverse from one area to another through meandering garden pathways and winding stairways. “The openness allows for the ocean breezes to flow through the home day and night,” Brosché says. “Had we built a new home from the ground up, we might have missed the indoor/outdoor lifestyle that this one offers.”
Lush landscaping surrounds the exterior, where Brosché had the pool designed around the limited space and varying grade levels. Since the house sits on a cliff, the 40-foot, infinity-edged pool had to be built by hand as no machinery could access the area. Light and beachy, Mexican coquina stone forms the floor of the patio.
Louvered doors fashioned from Brazilian mahogany wood mark the entrance to the main house, where the open-air foyer, which looks like an interior space, is actually part of the second-floor loggia. Walk through the hall, and guests are presented with stunning views of the mountain and sea beyond. Inside, the home features a contemporary island feel with clean lines, touches of mahogany and a lot of white, such as in the original wood-beamed ceiling. Sand-toned Pakistani travertine covers the floors and leads to the living room, where wicker lounge chairs with white-cotton cushions create comfortable seating around a cocktail table topped in high-gloss urethane over cracked coconut shell. Three colorful paintings of tropical fruit by Lee Claughton Taylor, who the couple met at a Las Olas Art Festival years ago, grace the wall.
Sheer draperies hung on a stainless steel wire cable across tall glass doors separate the living room from the upper loggia, where Brazilian mahogany doors repeat and open to stairs that lead down to the pool level and cabana. Since this is the area that the couple spends the most of their lounging time, comfort and durability were important. And so, Brosché chose wicker furniture with sturdy Sunbrella fabric cushions. A large table is located a stone’s throw away in a space that serves as the home’s only dining area, and also doubles as a great entertaining area.
Located oceanfront, the master bedroom is a study in the relaxed island style. Soft shades of white and cream dominate the bed, which Brosché placed in the middle of the room, mounting the headboard on a floating concrete wall. This allows the couple to enjoy the magnificent views both day and night. “Living on Sint Maarten is amazing,” Brosché says. “With the locals’ friendly outlook, the ocean around us and mountains reaching for the sky, the laid-back calm of the island is beyond what we had ever hoped for.”