How we would all love a home designed purely for leisure and entertaining! Somewhere totally out of this world, perennially flushed with sunshine and holiday vibes. Cynics would insist that a place like that does not exist. They could not be further from the truth.
When the internationally-renowned interior stylist Sabrina Monteleone-Oeino started working on her own home in Monte Carlo, this is exactly the brief that she kept in mind. The idea was to design “a fun house, where my friends and family could all feel good”.
Exquisitely integrated into the French Riviera, the Villa Riviera screams holiday from every angle, room, balcony and terrace! Known all over the world for her interior styling, Sabrina has designed the house with the sole intention to inspire herself with the surroundings - “the beautiful sea view and the magical garden around”.
Open plan interiors flow effortlessly into one another, as sunshine streams in, infusing the space with an unmistakable ‘summer’ vibe. White walls, throughout the house, form the perfect backdrop for vivid artworks and artefacts that Sabrina collected or lovingly brought in during her holidays abroad. The architectural narrative is woven around clean lines, and appears almost minimalistic, with splashes of pastel greens and exotic blues lending the living and entertaining areas an unmistakably Mediterranean air.
The original, old-fashioned, traditional-looking house was remodelled completely from the inside to create a spacious five-bedroom villa, where the indoors seem to spill over and merge into the outdoors, and onto the deck by the poolside. In fact, Sabrina specifically used the same flooring even inside the pool to ensure a smooth visual blend! Inside, the house unravels into multiple levels. The entrance of the home is on the top-most level alongside the garage. The ground level houses the bedrooms and a spa - sitting pretty alongside the pool and garden - with another garden and an outdoor dining area below and the living room and kitchen on the first floor.
While the home itself took five years to complete, Sabrina and her team got the garden ready first, “…so we could start hosting lunches and dinners immediately,” she exclaims! The best part about designing the house was “knowing exactly how my guests and I would be using it. For example, we have a napping area close to every lunch spot,” she laughs.
Before she started work on the villa, Sabrina says, “I intended to inspire myself with the surroundings, the beautiful sea view and a magical garden around”. And when we ask her about her favourite area to spend time in, she says, “The poolside! We spend entire days there. There is also the bar area which is always fun…there’s an in-built sitting area with Dolce leopard fabric. I also have my own beach with sand and Paola Lenti furniture that always reminds me of Mexico! My husband spends most of his time in a space that looks like a tent from the Beverly Hills Hotel!”
As lovely as the entire set up is, bringing it all together was hardly cakewalk - there were more than a couple of things that did not go according to the plan, and delayed authorisations were among the biggest hurdles faced by her team. In fact, that is one of the things Sabrina insists homeowners should clear before starting on a home refurbishing/ building project. Another important lesson she learnt was on optimising space — “Like on a yacht, it’s important to optimise every corner, every nook has to be useful. For example, we had an area above the garage with the most beautiful view that was originally a garden. We never used it. We converted it into an outdoor gym and now, we spend so much time there!”
Considering the home also extends itself regularly to the couple’s friends, Sabrina paid special attention to the planning of the guest suites. “Privacy is really important. I designed the guest area separate and made sure they have everything in their bedrooms - it is all planned like a mini hotel for them!” As we let that thought sink in, an alluring image of ivory rooms dressed up with colourful artworks comes to the mind after it is quickly replaced by the sight of that stunning Mediterranean-styled poolside, with its cacti accents and aqua highlights. We definitely want an invitation too!