As anyone who has ever undertaken a home-construction project knows, setting a completion date you can count on is tricky. So when Miami-based recording artist Marc Anthony and his wife, model Shannon de Lima Muñiz, began renovating their dream getaway at the Casa de Campo resort in the Dominican Republic, they opted for a bold, if risky, strategy: scheduling the start of their marriage festivities for the very day they were to move in. “Our housewarming party was literally our wedding week,” Anthony says of the couple’s 2014 nuptials.

“Explored” in this case is no overstatement. The property, capable of sleeping 24, encompasses a 10,000-square-foot main house, a variety of pavilions, guest bungalows, and cabanas, two swimming pools, and a spectacular array of outdoor entertainment and lounging areas, including a man-made beach—all linked by meandering, densely landscaped pathways. “We made it big with the idea we’d be sharing it,” Anthony says of the compound, which is situated away from the coastline, ensuring maximum privacy for the couple, their seven children, and frequent visitors.

Still, thanks to the many truckloads of sand brought in as ground cover, you’d think you were mere feet from Casa de Campo’s pristine waterfront. That was hardly the case when Anthony bought the commodious main house three years ago. The plot, which didn’t comprise much more than the house and pool immediately behind it, was “surrounded by wild vegetation,” says the musician, who immediately began to imagine more—much more. “The second we moved in I started drawing my ideas on napkins and buying up the adjacent lots. I just had a vision for it.”

To help realize his concept, Anthony turned to local architect Dino Barré of DM Dominicana, the man responsible for designing the original house, which was fashioned after the sugar mills that once proliferated here. Among other amenities, Anthony requested an outdoor movie theater, a sports-bar pavilion, and a series of palapas and villas to serve as guest quarters, many incorporating indigenous materials such as eucalyptus wood and coral stone. “We put up four guest bungalows around the new sand-bottom pool, just like you’d see at resorts in the Maldives or Bora-Bora,” Barré says. Notes the singer, “I’m glad I didn’t think about the scope of the undertaking for too long—I probably wouldn’t have had the nerve to do it.”

The project, Anthony says, was driven as much by his love for design as a desire to create the ultimate retreat. “I’ve been touring for 20-something years,” he explains. “And when you’re locked in a hotel room, you learn how to enjoy spaces.” It’s knowledge he put to good use here, personally outfitting the rooms with a mix of furnishings custom made by local craftsmen as well as Indonesian and Balinese furniture and accessories fashioned from teak, mahogany, and sapele. “Marc appreciates detail and will spend as much time as it takes on something he’s passionate about,” De Lima Muñiz says. “Sometimes we’d stay up until 5 A.M. just looking at colors and textures.”

Anthony’s aesthetic interests extend to painting, too—a pastime he pursues in the artist’s studio he set up in one of the palapas. “There’s not so much imagination in performing a song that’s already a hit, so I need outlets like painting,” says the multiple Grammy winner, who will be touring in New York City in February. “I also like to do nothing,” he confesses of his ideal day at the compound. “I can sit in one spot for hours and simply watch my wife and kids in the pool or listen to the music playing on the sound system.” Adds De Lima Muñiz, “Music fills the house, inside and out, at all times!”

Anthony and De Lima Muñiz take pleasure in watching their guests embrace a toes-in-the-sand attitude as well. “The first day people get here, they want to do everything,” Anthony says.

In the evenings everyone usually gathers around the 20-foot-long teak dining table next to the pool. “I love that we can all sit down together at dinner, no matter how many we are,” says De Lima Muñiz. Anthony agrees: “It’s great to sit back and see how happy this place makes everyone. It’s priceless.”