Villa La Choza on Taboga Island, Panama

Like more than 500 years ago, when the first conquistadors stepped on the Latin American terrirory smitten by its beauty and riches, a modern man remains equally enchanted by this alluring land. We imagine vibrant shades of green, an almost unrealistically blue sky, stunning landscapes. Surrounded by the chaos of civilization, we still seem to have this image of Latin American continent as a ‘virginal’ territory. Although the reality is much less utopian, the area is still abundant in vegetation, the sun makes it sizzle with colour and stunning views compose an idyllic scenery.

Taboga Island (often referred to as the Island of Flowers), Panama, is as close to such paradise as you can get. American designer Diane Burn, who arrived here a few years ago to research the property market, was instantly in awe of the picturesque town of San Pedro. Inhabited by only 400 residents, with no cars in sight, it seems untouched by time and modern innovation, leaving its people to their quiet and peaceful existence. Burn was so adamant on owning a house on the island that she grabbed the first opportunity and bought what was quite literally a shack (‘la choza’ in Spanish) to work on it from her temporary design studio in the nearby Panama City. With the help of a local craftsman and builder Armando Lopez, knowing very little about restoring a property in a tropical climate, she set out on a mission to transform a run down hutch into a stylish abode. The result is this beautiful Villa La Choza.

Diane Burn restored the house using natural materials and colours typical to the Caribbean. A tropical aesthetic is achieved by incorporating a simple, warm colour palette. The villa is situated on a hill slope overloloking the town.

Variations of burnt orange, sandy ochre, and terracotta, combined with lighter hues, dominate throughout the living area. The space is richly decorated with antiques that the designer collected from different parts of the world. Textiles come from Italy and Guatemala.

The painted finish has been skillfully distressed to suit the eclectic mixture of styles and cultures that Burn put together.

Another seating area with some gorgeous textiles and lush greenery that make it a perfect place to relax and take in the view.

The kitchen area is light and airy with a large window that lets in lots of natural light illuminating the bright compositions of flowers and fruit. The antique shelf unit shows off some lovely local ceramics and adds both elegant and rustic touch.

This simple yet stylish bedroom derives its character from the Louis XVI baldachin that Burn brought with her from France. On the Caribbean island it is both decorative and practical.

Local artwork decorates interior walls. Outside, a hammock for a quiet siesta.

The main terrace gives a spectacular panoramic view of the town and the Gulf of Panama.

The masks of Guatemalan origin provide decoration on the exterior wall.

*Source: Architectural Digest


7 thoughts on “Villa La Choza on Taboga Island, Panama

  1. I’m not notmally a fan of traditional design but there’s something about this place that I really like – maybe all the warm colours and sunshine?

    Great post, thanks for sharing!

  2. I prefer black than white, but this layout is more trimmed and legible than the previous one. Photo section and list of older posts are great ideas, is it a job of your fellow webdesigner or is it a template?

  3. Hi Joanna! Thank you for your comment. i’m really impressed by the beauty of these colourful interiors. Look soooo warm and comfortable. The bedroom is lovely!

  4. Who cares what the home looks like; the view is spectacular. But, I live in southern USA and I can only picture it being hotter than blazes on the patio between 7am and 7pm with NO shade. Makes me think of skin cancer. The cool looking terracotta colored courtyard full of greenery pictured in AD 09/2010 was AMAZING. However, I DID fall in love with the kitchen. The window did it for me. Wow!

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