A Hollywood mirage at Villa Gravilléa: interview with David and Anouk

Discover this French couple’s ‘50s dream which brings Palm Springs, Miami, and the French Riviera to the exotic depths of Costa Rica.
A Hollywood mirage at Villa Gravilléa: interview with David and Anouk
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Unspoilt nature and preserved wild landscapes have long attracted the adventurous at heart to Costa Rica. Between hikes through rugged mountains, lazy afternoons on the beach, and everything in between, the Caribbean country offers a range of experiences for every kind of traveller, making it one of our best luxury exotic destinations.

With such a title, it’s no wonder that this exceptional haven drew in the French couple David and Anouk, who decided to plant roots in Costa Rica. The result is a stunning contemporary home that feels at once modern and timeless.

Step inside the incomparable Villa Gravilléa with its owners and get to know this unique property, inspired by the iconic auras of old Hollywood and 1950s’ Palm Springs, Miami, and the French Riviera.




Such a project was a long time coming for David and Anouk. The former, originally from the South of France, had started his career in the film industry designing sets for television. With experience staging fake home environments, it was only a matter of time before he would pivot towards interior design and hospitality, creating real, lived-in spaces.

This took shape through hostel rooms in Marseille, which ran like a hotel. With increasing success, David moved into real estate, renovating homes in his area. His wife Anouk — who incidentally designed the Le Collectionist office in Paris — was a perfect partner in this endeavour, designing interiors to sublimate her husband’s structures.




Eventually, the couple took a leap they had been considering for a while. As an entrepreneur and adventurer, David is always looking for new ventures off the beaten path, and at the urging of a friend, he visited Costa Rica on the hunt for a new project.

There, he discovered a razed worksite that opened on a staggering view of the Pacific Ocean through the jungle trees, which he knew was poised to become his next home. A chance encounter with a French architect completes the villa’s origin story, ultimately leading to this mirage nestled in the exotic forest of Costa Rica.



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When conceptualising their new home, David and Anouk wanted something that would blend modernist architecture and vintage inspirations without overpowering the tropical atmosphere that had so attracted David in the first place. The ensuing Villa Gravilléa is a testament to their artful vision and masterful hand in design, though it was no short feat getting there.

It took the couple over a year and a half to meticulously gather the decor that would make Villa Gravilléa. Deeply inspired by a glamourized 1950s vision of Miami, Palm Springs, and coastal Mediterranean Europe like the French Riviera and Italy, they combed through flea markets in France and Belgium to source each individual piece of furniture and decor that would help materialise this vision. Through Anouk’s careful attention to detail, down to the last decorative ashtray, Villa Gravilléa took shape as the vintage haven you find today.

Want to explore more stunning homes like this one? See our collection of extraordinary rentals perfect for going with the wind in the Caribbean.




When piecing Villa Gravilléa together, it was important to the couple that the space feel lived in. Like one of David’s film sets, every piece of decor had to feel authentic, not planted for aesthetic purposes. As such, the ensuing home is stocked beyond vacation home basics so as not to feel like a backdrop to your vacation, rather a true home, with recipe books and rum glasses and palettes of kitchenware catering to your every need.

“You feel good here because each of your daily life’s details has been thought through.”





Villa Gravilléa unfolds in utter refinement where “bling bling luxury,” as David puts it, is forsaken to favour a chic sense of timelessness and wonder. As such, each time you visit, it feels like stepping into a familiar dream driven by amazement and awe. Even after years of visiting the property, David and Anouk are still overcome with bewilderment every time they come home to it, always approaching their sanctuary with a sense of stunned reverence.

The wild environment plays a part in these feelings of admiration. Villa Gravilléa’s wooden beams and immaculately atemporal design blend seamlessly into the preserved Costa Rican landscapes.



In fact, the wonderment facilitated at this home extends to animals as well: David recounts monkeys climbing the trees in front of their home for a view of the horizon and visits from exotic animals like coati walking along their pool and eating a papaya they had left outside.

These encounters contribute to a sense of oneness and harmony with the surrounding nature, making Villa Gravilléa feel like even more of a dream in the heart of Costa Rica’s wilderness. The home stands like an impossible mirage of vintage charm in a preserved and rugged setting which can only be pulled from a dream.

The Collection

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