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A modern living room with pendant lights, sectional sofa, armchairs, and a large ottoman.

Villa Sapphire, Fiona Watkins Design

Recently completed in January, Villa Sapphire is located in a small fishing village in Brac Island, Croatia. With a harbour, restaurants, and cafes, it is the perfect location for large groups of family and friends to visit.

We sat down with Kate, the owner of this luxury Croatian villa, to delve into the finer details of the styling process and how interior design company Fiona Watkins Design achieved the overall exterior and interior scheme.

What led you to build Villa Sapphire?
We had had a couple of holidays to Croatia and fell in love with Brac Island so much so that we wanted somewhere of our own to enjoy. We started looking for land and soon found a plot in Sutivan, a small fishing village with harbour, restaurants, and cafes approximately 25 minutes in a speedboat from Split airport. We love Sutivan - it is very child friendly and quiet with scenery of the mainland yet idyllic island life.

What was the build process like?
We worked with Pin & Pin, a Split based design firm to design the shell and outside area of the villa. Once planning was granted, the build started in 2021 and the concrete shell was completed in October that year. Then came the interior design… and after spending 6 ½ hours debating a floor tile with my husband in a factory in Split we decided we needed an interior designer to guide us on the internal finish. This is when we hired Fiona Watkins and her team to work their magic. The villa was finished in January 2023 and we can’t wait to enjoy the space with family and friends.

What was the initial brief to Fiona Watkins Design?
Our initial brief to Fiona Watkins Design was to design and source materials for the main areas in Villa Sapphire. We wanted the villa to have a luxury feeling whilst in keeping with the local area on Brac Island. As we have a large family and want to visit with family and friends, we needed materials that are robust for large groups and families. Fiona and her team then proposed a theme using local natural materials and incorporated this into the designs with the end project being perfect.

Drawing inspiration from the surrounding landscape, Fiona Watkins Design created a neutral theme, utilising local stone and materials to compliment not only the house but also the scenery. In keeping with the natural qualities found in the decor, our Elara table lamps are seen atop a side table as you walk through the front door. With a handsome ceramic base full of little craters and dimples, they help create a sense of tactility and earthiness, establishing the ambiance of the villa. The lamp's sleek and modern design, with smooth curves and bold black hue, draws the eye towards it. Against the linear backdrop of the wooden slats, the lamp becomes a focal point that adds depth and character.

The neutral and natural theme of the villa continues upstairs where our Terra table lamps have been paired with directional reading lights to create a layered lighting scheme in the guest bedroom. The textured ceramic base of Terra brings grounding and calming elements to the spare bedrooms. With their organic formations, the textured base mimics the theme throughout the villa. Upon entering the master bedroom, the eye is immediately drawn towards two Kobi pendants; these modern two-tier ceiling fittings highlight the high ceilings within the room. Contrasting with the simple design of Kobi, the bold yet elegant form of our Piera table lamps flank the bedside. The stone base creates a delicate palette of cascading ivory tones, in keeping with the colour palette and organic resources.

A spacious living area with modern lighting, furniture, and an open staircase.