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 an all-around great cruising boat. He had previously owned a 43-foot Hatteras, so this purchase would mark a major shift in his boating lifestyle.
Going All In
While a new Westport 112 costs $15 million, “when I bought this I thought that my investment was going to be around three million,” the owner says. Undaunted by this survey’s 134 pages of objections, he bought the 2003 112-foot raised pilothouse motor yacht and set out to bring her up to his high standards.
Newly re-named 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 17-year-old yacht had only 3,400 hours on her MTU engines, as the previous owner had used her primarily as his floating home in Palm Beach. The yacht’s new owner and 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 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) penchant for wanting the best, combined with the unwelcome surprises a refit inevitably uncovers, meant the scope of work grew 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 cool energy-efficient LEDs, which required new wiring.
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. The dated decor needed a makeover and the interior project snowballed along the way, following a “since we’re doing this, why don’t we do that” path.
Recommended by the owner’s broker, the owners selected Destry Darr to envision the new Hannah. The principal of Destry Darr Designs is no stranger to Westport, having worked on six of them 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 horribly difficult to change things.” And what she achieved by covering the old finishes with pearlescent and metallic paints, textured wall coverings, and modern veneers is a remarkable rejuvenation.
“Lighting was of utmost importance to the owner,” Darr says, “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 color temperature the owner chose for the LEDs was 6,000 Kelvin, otherwise known as “super bright white.”
“We based the design on a very clean palette of neutral colors with moody deep blues and soft cerulean blues paired with different shades of whites and grays,” she says. The original cherry cabinetry either received a coat of white or gray paint in a satin pearlescent or glossy metallic finish or was re-veneered with an open grain oak dyed gray.
“The project started out as a minor ‘fluff and puff’ décor refit. However, as we got into the refit, we uncovered areas that needed attention, which led to more work,” Darr says.
One of these areas was the main salon. To open up the space and bring in more light, she removed the original television console that divided the salon and dining area and added two windows flanking 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 that 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 re-created a single luxurious guest cabin, converting one of the en suites into a cedar-lined closet. “It came out phenomenal,” says the appreciative owner.
He particularly loves his new master 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 mitered panels, and modernized the stateroom’s headboard and soffit, creating a completely new look with horizontal light gray upholstered panels framed with the gray oak veneer seen throughout, high-gloss white-painted trim, and recessed perimeter LED lighting.” New insulation shelters the suite from any sound stemming from the main salon above it.
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 color. 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. On deck, the teak was resurfaced and furniture reupholstered.
Naturally, the interior furniture is new, most of it custom-designed and made for Hannah. 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 salon rug. This was a calculated move to make the yacht resilient for charter.
Life is Beautiful
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. She supplied the guest book that sits under a sculpture. The owner’s philosophy is reflected in the artwork’s bold red script: “Life is Beautiful.”
He admits he may have gone a bit overboard, but wanted the yacht to be perfect. While his investment ended up doubling, the renewed yacht is still significantly less than a new build and has more than proved her worth on the family’s first trip to The Bahamas. During the voyage, he wrote Darr a letter expressing his happiness: “I just want to say that life truly is beautiful.”
“It is really hard to pick just one [favorite change]. The whole yacht has gone through such a dramatic change. I love how light and bright the entire interior is now because of the new white headliner and new LED lighting,” Darr says. “I love the new design of the master stateroom headboard and ceiling as the creative process to tie in the old and new architecture is exciting to me.”
At the end of the refit project, the captain told Darr that his favorite change was “the whole boat.” To be more specific, he lists the salon, galley, and master as his top three favorite areas.
“The interior design is fresh and very inviting throughout. I am extremely pleased with the outcome. It is exactly what I was looking for,” the owner says. “I love it!”
This article originally ran in the August 2021 issue of Dockwalk.