The story of Hannah starts with one man’s quest for a Westport. It was to be his first large yacht, and the Pacific Northwest brand was the one many had recommended to him as a great all-around cruising boat. He had previously owned a 13-meter Hatteras, used primarily for fishing, so this purchase would mark a major shift in his boating lifestyle.

With minimal structural changes, the refit of the 34-metre Westport Hannah transformed it into a completely new boat.

Taking the refit route over commissioning a new-build helped ease the transition. While a new Westport 112 would have cost $15 million (£10.8m), “When I bought this, I thought that my investment was going to be around three million,” the owner says. He attended all the boat shows and searched far and wide. “I actually signed the contract to buy two before this one. Both times, I unfortunately had to cancel.” Third time was the charm and, undaunted by his survey’s 134 pages of objections, he bought the 2003 34 metre raised-pilothouse motor yacht and set out to bring her up to his high standards.

Newly renamed Hannah, the yacht spent nine months at Rolly Marine Service in Fort Lauderdale, getting up to speed mechanically and aesthetically. The owner was hands-on and at the yard every day. The many points noted by the surveyor were relatively minor in his eyes, the likes of expired fire extinguishers, and the 17-year-old yacht had only 3,400 hours on her MTU engines. The new owner and his captain, who acted as the project manager, decided to do the 4,000-hour work early to catch up on maintenance.

“I wanted to make sure that everything was not 100, but 1,000 percent correct if I was going to use it, so we went overboard,” the owner says. His and his wife’s desire for wanting the best, combined with the surprises a refit can uncover, meant the scope of work began to grow during the refit.

They swapped out the “so-so” air-conditioning chillers, which led them to replace the air handlers, and why not all 13 of them? The old halogen lights, which are known fire hazards, were traded for energy-efficient LEDs, which required new wiring. The yacht’s previous sedentary lifestyle was evident in the engine room, where they installed new hoses, risers and pumps.

While all of this behind-the-scenes work ensures the yacht’s reliable running for years to come, the real star of the refit is the interior’s dramatic transformation.

Following a recommendation by Andrew Miles, his broker, the owner selected Destry Darr to envision the new Hannah. The principal of Destry Darr Designs has worked on six Westports over the years, and she says she loves them for their future-proof design. “It’s almost like they plan ahead; they don’t make it difficult to change things.” And what she achieved by covering the old finishes with pearlescent and metallic paints, textured wall coverings and modern veneers amounts to a remarkable rejuvenation.

She first visited the owners’ home to get a sense of their style. “It’s very contemporary with cool tones and plenty of texture, so I wanted to incorporate as many different finishes and textures as we could,” she says. “Lighting was of the utmost importance to the owner, and he wanted the headliners to be as white and bright as possible.” She added more lighting in almost every area on board, and the colour temperature the owner chose for the LEDs was 6,000 Kelvin, otherwise known as super bright white. “I selected the white paint and showed him the different colour lights with the paint. The warmer lights made the paint look more yellow,” Darr says – and yellow was the opposite of her cool decor plan.

“We based the design on a very clean palette of neutral colours with moody deep blues and soft cerulean blues paired with different shades of whites and greys,” she says. The original cherry cabinetry either received a coat of white or grey paint in a satin pearlescent or glossy metallic finish or was reveneered with an open-grain oak dyed grey. “For the main deck, we chose a wire-brushed oak engineered wood floor, which conveys a contemporary coastal feel,” Darr says, pointing out that its rustic look also makes a nice contrast to the high-gloss surfaces.

“The project started out as a minor ‘fluff and puff’ decor refit. However, as we got into the project, we uncovered areas that needed some attention, which led to more work,” Darr continues. One of these areas was the main saloon. To open the space and bring in light, Darr removed the original television console that split the saloon from the dining area and added two windows on either side of the sliding glass door. New cabinets in the aft corners now hide the television and a bar.

The biggest interior change, however, is in the forward space Westport normally reserves for a VIP cabin, where two small bunk cabins had been built for the original owner’s security detail. The area was gutted and Darr recreated a single luxurious guest cabin, converting one of the en suites into a cedar-lined wardrobe. “It came out phenomenally,” the owner says.

He particularly loves his new cabin and en suite. A shower and spa tub divided the original full-beam bathroom in a traditional his-and-hers arrangement. The redesign got rid of the seldom-used tub, lowered the floor and raised the ceiling, making space for an enormous shower clad in Pompeii quartz. In the cabin, Darr says, “We removed the outdated mirror, semi-circular soffit and mitred panels and modernised the stateroom’s headboard and soffit.” New insulation shelters the suite from any sound stemming from the main saloon above it.

The other two guest cabins received new furnishings, upholstery and Fabrica carpeting. “In the twin guest stateroom, we added a Pullman berth and modified the twin beds to slide together easily to create a king,” Darr adds.

There is little on board that remains untouched; it’s all new, from the galley’s shiny Cambria quartz countertops, to the Sub-Zero, Viking and U-line appliances, to the wall coverings by Phillip Jeffries and Crezana Design that beg to be touched. “We didn’t have a lot of patterns in colour so we did this fun tile,” says Darr, referencing the eye-popping mosaics that brighten each head, which also feature elegant Villeroy & Boch and Kallista fixtures.

The interior furniture is new, most of it custom designed. You wouldn’t know it from the refined impression they make, but some of the interior fabrics by Perennials are meant for the outdoors, including the main saloon rug. This was a calculated move to make the yacht resilient for charter. “We really wanted to bring in as many durable finishes as possible,” Darr says.

The final step in the ever-escalating project was outfitting Hannah for personal and charter use. Darr, whose company opened a showroom in Fort Lauderdale last year, delivered the yacht turnkey, down to tabletop accessories by Kim Seybert and bed linens by Yves Delorme and Sferra. She even supplied the guest book that sits in a nook under a sculpture by contemporary artist Thierry Guetta, aka Mr Brainwash. The artwork’s words in bold red script spelling “Life is Beautiful” reflect the owner’s philosophy.

He admits he may have gone a bit overboard on the refit, but he couldn’t resist making the yacht perfect. “You know what I tell Destry? With my chequebook and her work, we’ll go places,” he says with a laugh.

While his investment ended up doubling over the course of the project, the renewed yacht is still significantly less expensive than a new build and more than proved its worth on the family’s first trip to the Bahamas. During the voyage, he wrote his interior designer a letter expressing his happiness: “I just want to say that life truly is beautiful.”

Article Original Source: Boat International
10 November 2021 • Written by Kate Lardy