We feature a lot of luxurious and amazing homes here on Design Milk, but it’s not often we get to talk to any of the owners of these spectacular spaces. I had the chance to chat with Camilla Riviere of Riviere Rugs about her beautiful modern villa in Koh Samui, which overlooks Bang Por beach and the Gulf of Thailand. It’s one of many modern Koh Samui villas that Luxury Retreats has available for rent, and you have to admit, it’s pretty tempting…
“We were living in Sweden at the time and the winters are terribly cold, so we thought we needed a getaway—somewhere warm—for the winter. We fell in love with Koh Samui,” Camilla explains.
Through a mutual friend, she met British architect Gary Fell of GFAB Architects, whose work she fell in love with. I asked her about her love of modern architecture, and she explained why it surprised her: “It’s funny, actually, because I love Georgian architecture and the Regency style, but I’ve never really liked modern buildings. However, when I saw Gary’s work, I completely fell in love with it. It’s very much suited to tropical climates. It’s quite a new thing for me but I love it. I have three small kids, and I was a bit worried about it but it’s working out well.”
One of the major challenges was the location. “We wanted something with dramatic sea views. We wanted it close to the sea but very high up. That was the main difficulty: finding something in proximity to the sea that had the right height. Our house is 100 meters up and 300 meters from the sea, with more than 180-degree views including the stunning sunset.” It was extremely steep lot, but the site already had electricity and a road, but no running water. A water trough was added around the whole house, emptying into the pool. The design/build process took about two years, but the end result is totally worth it to Camilla: “We’re spending more and more time out there.”
The lot offers tons of privacy with added palm trees and a lush tropical garden but, just to be safe, the Rivieres also bought the plot next door. “We’ve got some renderings for building another house there, but we’re not quite sure whether we want to build on it or sell it.”
Since the photos in this article were taken, Camilla, who is also an interior designer, has injected quite a bit more of her personal style into the design. “We’ve added some traditional elements, petrified Indonesian woods, some Italian-style furniture, and decor from other places.” Camilla says her style is eclectic and constantly evolving.
When asked if she ever thinks about the renter or vacationer when she adds decor to the villa, she said “No, I think we did it exactly how we wanted. Of course the kids can’t put posters on the walls or things like that, but otherwise, I think we’ve done what we wanted and it suits us.”
Inside, the home has four bedrooms, each with its own en suite bathroom and private terrace, sleeping a total of eight people.
Although a hard question to answer, I asked Camilla about her favorite part of the house: “The top deck—that view is pretty amazing. When you’re sitting up there and looking out over the sea, there’s nothing like it. We really appreciate the sea and the feeling of freedom that it gives you.”
What: Celadon Villa
Where: Maenam, Koh Samui, Thailand
How much? From $1,000/night
Highlights: Gorgeous location, tons of privacy, sunken seating area and infinity pool. Also, gardener, maid service, cook and add-on amenities like yoga and massage available.
Design draw: Modern architecture created by GFAB Architects.
Book it: Want to chill in that sunken seating area and experience this gorgeous home in person? You can book a stay or choose from over 2,000 personally inspected villa rentals with Luxury Retreats.
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