They say that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. The same applies to bespoke yacht design, where one man’s minimalist heaven can be another man’s angular hell. The owners of the 160-foot Chasseur fell in love with the Christensen yacht’s clean exterior lines, but the cold interior with its sharp corners and dark colors was another story. Rather than walk away, they decided to remake the boat into an ergonomic, Zen-like space.
Chasseur was originally inspired by the contemporary design of Christensen’s Odessa, which has a crisp, fresh interior penned by Cristina Gherardi Benardeau. Built on the same platform, Chasseur struck a balance between minimalism and modernism, with high-gloss ceiling panels, milk-glazed sycamore cabinetry and bold geometric shapes. But the new owners, who bought the boat in 2022, found the interior rectilinear repellent, and tasked designer Patrick Knowles with fixing it.
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“They thought it was too harsh, cold and angular,” Knowles told Robb Report. “They really wanted a more ergonomic space.”
The 2022 refit took place at Safe Harbor Marina in Fort Lauderdale, formerly known as Lauderdale Marine Center, in three phases.
Top of the owners’ complaints were the sharp, 90-degree corners on all the cabinetry and furnishings. They also disliked the combination of teak and maple decking, which added to the stark aesthetic. The Venetian blinds on the windows also felt austere to them.
Knowles’ team designed bespoke, hand-stitched textile panels that were then applied to the bulkheads, berths, soffits and window mullions to soften the aesthetic and improve the yacht’s ambient acoustics. Custom rugs were laid over the existing teak flooring for a warmer barefoot experience. Similarly, the windows were dressed in a variety of roller mesh blinds, faux Roman valances, fixed drapery panels for a more inviting ambiance. “It gives a sense of being embraced by the interior,” says Knowles.
Another area of contention was the exposed glass stairwell between the main deck and bridge deck, which had transparent railings and treads. “Most guests found it unnerving to negotiate a staircase of floating, clear-glass treads, particularly while at sea,” says Knowles. “It drove them to use the exterior staircases when moving between the decks, which was quite impractical.”
Rather than replace the staircase, Knowles designed a snap-on solution that placed foam-backed cream panels over the suspended glass areas. In the main salon, a new, full-height entertainment cabinet divides the open-plan main salon from the formal dining area where guests congregate around a custom-made Armani table.
Most problematic of all was the clear line of sight from the main salon into the master suite. A bow-front console that the team designed now conceals direct views, and is made from fumed eucalyptus, polished stainless steel, mirror and fabric panels with a cappuccino onyx top, lacquer and overhead lights. The dark, square cabinetry in the master suite was also replaced with softer, rounder furniture.
“Tranquility is key for the owners,” says Knowles. It’s a sentiment made evident from the choice of calm, neutral shades of blue and cream, and the use of textural materials, such as leather and mohair.
When first delivered in 2016, the yacht contained a lot of English sycamore woodwork coated in a milk-glaze to avoid any red tones often associated with that type of wood, but over time it had taken on a tinge.
“English sycamore requires certain pre-treatment processes that appear to have not been implemented, and so the wood had a pastel pink cast that, in certain light like dusk, intensified to a more aggressive shade of pink,” says Knowles.
To avoid wasting the hardwood, it was stripped down, tinted a storm gray tone and given a satin finish. On the lower deck, the wood was painted in cream and covered with removable upholstered panels or natural grass cloth with a refined textured weave. The overall effect is both chic and inviting.
The owners like to cruise the US Eastern Seaboard and island-hop the Bahamas and Caribbean. When aboard, they spend most of their time in the sky lounge, where a games table was added to make the area more sociable. It opens onto the bridge deck aft where there is a new custom dining table.
Other relaxation areas are found on the sun deck with a jacuzzi, and the main deck aft where a new bar topped with natural quartzite brings sophistication. A dramatic navy racing boot stripe adds the final touch to the yacht’s exterior.
Click here to see more images of Chasseur.
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