History Lesson: How An American Couple Designed Their Dream 'French Bohemian' Villa in St. Barts
Referred to as the ‘Cannes’ of the Caribbean, Saint-Barthélemy is world renowned for it’s natural beauty, awe-inspired hills and valleys, and pristine snow white beaches. In time, the perfect blend of French...
by Jamie Eddy

Referred to as the ‘Cannes’ of the Caribbean, Saint-Barthélemy is world renowned for it’s natural beauty, awe-inspired hills and valleys, and pristine snow white beaches. In time, the perfect blend of French culture, gourmet cuisine, laid back vibes, and five-star accommodations, brought with it sophisticated seclusion for the rich and famous.

Clean, picturesque, timeless, and undoubtedly relaxing, Villa Palmier is just that. Owners Kate and Matt Holstein, an American couple from Aspen, Colorado vacationed on the island last year and within 2 weeks, they had bought a home, the quintessential beach retreat in the neighborhood of Anse Des Cayes. They put in months of hard work renovating the property made fit for travelers with a similar love for elegance, the desire to unwind, and love for the ocean. They believe in “a curated home, where every part of the house has a story, a purpose and aesthetic appeal.”




When choosing to fill the home, the Holstein’s knew they wanted to incorporate decor from around the globe while also supporting local shops. With stunning furnishings flown in from France and Italy, as well as decorative pieces from the island, their new sanctuary seamlessly blended both the indoor and outdoor living spaces. The two bedroom, two bathroom open floor plan moves fluidly out to an expansive, gray-stained wood deck and turquoise blue pool; actualizing the villa’s idyllic sense of serenity.

The Holstein’s instinctive sense of design and emotional attachment to the island, ultimately resulted in what has now become a home filled with memories, culture, and appreciation from friends, family, and travelers who’ve had the pleasure of staying in this dream escape.  



Words by Owners Kate & Matt Holstein, Images by Kate Holstein, owner of Villa Palmier

Please tell us a bit about the story and how your beautiful villa was started.

My husband and I went to St Barts for the first time in the spring of last year. We quickly fell completely in love with the island for it's laid back, french, bohemian vibe along with the incredible cuisine and beaches. It was a two week vacation for us, and by the end of  those 14 days, we had made an offer on this house.  We had been looking for a place we could turn into the perfect beach retreat; a place to unwind, live slow, reconnect with each other, friends and family.

Over the course of 4 very busy and hectic months we completed an entire remodel of the house. Interior design is my passion (photography is my profession) and my husband has a lot of experience in building and real estate. Together we designed, managed and executed the remodel. It was a very fun project, despite the many challenges of remodeling a house on a very small french island in the caribbean!!



Who is the dream team who owns the space?

We do (Kate and Matt Holstein)

Tell us a little bit about the stunning design and what you were inspired by! Where did you shop?

It's hard not to be inspired by nature in a place like St Barts. This was a key element we wanted to incorporate into the design. The house is also built in a way that it allows for seamless indoor outdoor living. I think a neutral color pallets invoke a sense of serenity and peace, while not distracting from the beautiful surroundings. This was important since we wanted the house to feel like a relaxing retreat, so we stuck to white, wood, and natural materials like linen. Most of the furniture came from Italy and France. I used local shops on St Barts for the more decorative objects. There are some beautiful home stores on the island that have wonderful selections of curated goods from all over the world. It was important to us to support the local shops.



When designing the space, what type of customer did you have in mind? How did you want your design to make them feel?

This space was created for a couple or small group of friends and family to have a relaxing vacation at the beach. It's perfect for a honeymoon, anniversary, elopement, small girls trip or two couples. Because of the small size of the villa, we were able to pay close attention to every last detail. Anyone who appreciates design will love spending time at the villa. WIth the continuous breeze that flows through the villa, the sound of the waves from every room, and the view of the sapphire sea it's the perfect place for just about anyone ;)



Do you have tips for anyone else wanting to open a vacation rental/villa?

The list is too long to type here!



What are your favorite local St. Barths spots for shopping, restaurants, etc?

See our website for a list of all our favorites:



A place such as Villa Palmier and the island of St. Barts brings a feeling of overwhelming gratitude and awe for how life’s most luxurious spots can really reach a beautiful balance with innate simplicity. The Holstein’s knowledge of architectural and interior design created an atmosphere that genuinely showcases this balance and what a getaway retreat should illustrate. We encourage you to come fall in love with this special site. The island is waiting…

Photo Credits: VILLA PALMIER


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