Sugar Bay House

St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands

This luxurious villa sits on a hilltop overlooking the north shore’s scenic Salt River Bay on the island of St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands. The original wood-framed structure occupying the site was completely destroyed by the category 5-force winds of Hurricane Hugo. This project sought to use the remaining foundation and pool of the original house as a springboard for a completely new and hurricane-resistant residence. Taking advantage of the dramatic views from all rooms was paramount within the new design. The house features an open-air covered gallery connecting a “spine” of bedrooms that leads up to the high-ceilinged Great Room. Hip roofs, minimal overhangs, and reinforced masonry construction ensure better hurricane resistance for the new house. A free-standing dining pavilion provides a stunning view of the surrounding ocean and bay.


From locally produced tile to distinctive wood detailing, the house includes many features that help it integrate well with island’s distinctive architectural tradition. The house also utilizes design techniques to promote natural air flow and cooling, rainwater collection to cisterns, shading, and visual privacy, all important items on a Caribbean island.