Casa de Campo

Residential

After completing an amazing London residence for my clients—who are now my very dear friends—I flew to the Dominican Republic to help them with their Casa de Campo property. It is difficult to explain my emotion when I arrived at their house. I honestly had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming; I remember thinking, This is as close to heaven you will ever get! That was the first day of a long project and true love affair with an exceptional property.

Originally created by Oscar de la Renta, the Balinese-style house has since had a few different owners, not all as enamored with it as I was. However, I was very fortunate that my friends and I agreed from the start how to bring this “Sleeping Beauty” back to life. I feel that I acted as much like a plastic surgeon than as a designer. I was fully intent on maintaining and reviving the beauty and the glamour of the original estate, whilst building several additional houses to enhance the compound without destroying its remarkable legacy. The new structures, which serve as guesthouses for family and friends, were designed in complementary yet distinctive styles, all with a focus on low-key but luxurious comfort.

It was an exceptional pleasure and privilege to create this extraordinary, idyllic retreat for these very special clients, and this project will forever remain a most beautiful memory. Since completing the Casa de Campo compound (will it ever be complete?), we have started work on several projects in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, including the zone’s largest historical property. No wonder I fell in love with the Dominican Republic—my local friends keep asking me when I will get the nationality!

—Philip Vergeylen

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