Editor’s Note: Christian Liaigre, the iconic French autogenous artist and entrepreneur, anesthetized abroad on Wednesday, September 2, at the age of 77. ELLE Adornment controlling editor Ingrid Abramovitch interviewed Liaigre and wrote this affection about his St. Barts home for our December 2013 issue.
Every winter, they access by clandestine seaplane or superyacht—boldface names, moguls, and models bottomward en masse on a abutting haven that is one allotment Hamptons, one allotment Saint-Tropez. The Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy—or St. Barts, as this French breadth is accepted amid the jet set—has acquired into the ultimate anniversary head for the world’s affluent and famous. But 30 years ago, back the Parisian autogenous and appliance artist Christian Liaigre began vacationing here, activity in paradise was a lot added subdued. “At the time, best of the homes on the island were simple copse cabins and cottages,” he says. “Today, the bounded carpenters are active alive on houses that are actual grand, like the blazon you ability acquisition in Miami.”
Certainly Liaigre, whose pared-down access to affluence has becoming him an aristocratic all-around clientele, has played a role in the island’s development. He advised the soigné beachfront auberge Le Sereno, forth with vacation compounds for such A-list audience as art banker Larry Gagosian and Russian administrator Roman Abramovich. But 10 years ago, back Liaigre absitively to body his own abode on St. Barts, his ambition was to re-create the artlessness that drew him to the island in the aboriginal place. “I capital a abode that was basal and amidst by nature,” he explains. “Essentially, what I set out to body was a fisherman’s hut.”
Liaigre has generally said that accurate affluence boils bottomward to three essentials: air, space, and light. On St. Barts, he set out to acquisition all three. The alley to accomplishment began with the ideal setting, on a quiet bank that is allotment of a adequate accustomed abyssal reserve. “Just in advanced of us is the Bay of Marigot, which is actual calm. Every morning we see turtles bathing and angle jumping,” Liaigre says.
There was a abandoned anatomy on the acreage that wasn’t habitable. In its place, Liaigre complete a home aggressive by the island’s colloquial architecture—all wood, with a tall, ailing beam that helps blow the heat, and French doors aggressive against the arresting view. The abode is petite, with aloof three rooms: two baby bedrooms and a abundant allowance that encompasses the kitchen, dining, and active areas. “Voilà,” Liaigre says. “It’s actual simple. And alike if I capital to accomplish it bigger, I couldn’t. We’re in a adequate zone, and the authorities will alone admittance a abode this admeasurement on the beach.”
The adornment is aloof as modest. Liaigre advised appliance accurately for this house, and again supplemented it with abounding of his archetypal pieces. Nothing is superfluous, from the active room’s white slipcovered basement to the dining area’s additional table in teak and atramentous oak to the bedrooms’ minimalist belvedere beds topped by mosquito nets.
To this backdrop, Liaigre added black-and-white photography and a few adopted altar that are vaguely evocative of the setting. For example, there is an 18th-century account of a calculation (an antecedent of his wife, Deborah’s) who ran a aircraft barter to the Caribbean, as able-bodied as an aged French board with bizarre and chinoiserie adornment that reminded him of a pirate’s chest. While the home’s all-embracing palette is stark, Liaigre injected touches of red throughout, from stripes on a chiffonier to the active area’s varnished sliding doors. “It’s a little agenda to accompany calm to all the white and black,” he says. “When we abutting the doors in the evening, it feels like there is a lot of red, and it warms things up.”
Liaigre, accompanied by his wife and their six-year-old son, Léonard, makes the nine-hour expedition actuality from Paris four to bristles times anniversary year, aerial aboriginal to St. Maarten, again switching to a seaplane for the cruise to St. Barts, breadth the landing band cannot board a full-size aircraft. Léonard—named for Da Vinci (“My wife and I are both designers,” says Liaigre by way of explanation)—adores spending time on the island. “He loves seeing the wildlife: the pelicans, iguanas, and ample fish,” Liaigre says. What’s more, the family’s next-door acquaintance is a alive fisherman: “He has accouchement about the aforementioned age as Léonard, and they allure him to comedy and go fishing.”
The fisherman additionally brings the ancestors the bolt of the day, whether it is mahimahi or beginning langoustines, which Liaigre and his wife put on the barbecue as the centerpiece of accidental dinners with friends. “When I appear actuality I try not to work, because, to be honest, I assignment a lot,” he says. “For me, this abode is about relaxation—swimming, cooking, and arena with my son. And alike if the abode is small, we absorb best of our time actuality active outside.”
While it can get absolutely hot on the island, one affair Liaigre won’t accept is air-conditioning. “It’s not necessary,” he says. “We accept affluence of beginning air from the sea. That is allotment of the agreeableness of advancing here, to beddy-bye with the doors accessible and feel the wind on our bodies. We accept aggregate that is essential: air, space, and light.”
Produced by Anita Sarsidi
This adventure originally appeared in the December 2013 affair of ELLE Decor. SUBSCRIBE
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