Mon | Oct 25, 2021

Dream House | Revolutionary St Elizabeth abode a beautiful work in progress

Published:Saturday | September 18, 2021 | 12:10 AM
A house like you have never seen before. Who lives here may surprise you.
A house like you have never seen before. Who lives here may surprise you.
Winding steps take you up to the isolated hilltop house, deliberately camouflaged amongst trees.
Winding steps take you up to the isolated hilltop house, deliberately camouflaged amongst trees.
A bathroom leading to the outdoors highlighting both a rounded stone and curvy and smooth wall shower.
A bathroom leading to the outdoors highlighting both a rounded stone and curvy and smooth wall shower.

A highly unusual bedroom with leafless trees appearing to grow within it.
A highly unusual bedroom with leafless trees appearing to grow within it.
An unexpected fig-wood canopy  (below the main ceiling) defines the kitchen area.
An unexpected fig-wood canopy (below the main ceiling) defines the kitchen area.
Barry Rattray
Barry Rattray
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This house rebels against conventional residential architecture; it resists the boring and breaks the rules with spirited determination.

Its interiors are also in revolt against hackneyed and unsurprising décor. In short, this dream house has brought an architectural revolution to our landscape!

The owner and designer happens to be a former commander of an elite, special forces commando unit in Germany. They only respond to the most dangerous combat situations involving covert counter-terrorism, hostage sieges, fugitive apprehension, organised crime etc.

Meet Norbert Bleses, a man with two distinct, formidable skill sets: one is the passionate ability to defy the norm in design and decoration, and the other, an unrelenting commitment and attention to detail when he was active in law enforcement.

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

My surveillance and classified intelligence led us to pursue this unknown locality in the middle of nowhere so that we could investigate its secret rustic spaces.

The only possible way to arrive at this home is to climb a winding series of steps to the summit of a hill – surrounded by the dry vegetated wilderness of its terrain.

The sculptured appearance of the building flows with playful, wave-like curves, simulating the sea on the nearby horizon while also being influenced by the unspoilt beauty of the shapes of the natural outdoors.

Psychologists and neuroscientists have long proven that we are much more attracted to curved lines rather than straight ones. We are also less likely to gravitate to buildings with squared angled corners compared to those with fluid, rounded ones.

Step inside my friends and be mentally stimulated by the unexpected. Trees appear to grow in strategic positions throughout. Look up and see separate inner ceilings made of fig–wood pieces below main ceilings. Walk on polished, stained concrete floors in colours of red, green and yellow. Walls embrace you in earth colours (the exterior is full white).

Cedar and lignum vitae wood from the area were transformed by local artisans into finely crafted furniture pieces, along with arched and standard doors, windows and kitchen cabinetry.

The open floor plan is an arrangement of two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Kitchen/dining and living sections extend unto a full-length verandah with sea views and a gazebo within its midst. The two outdoor showers are the coolest amenities that the place has to offer.

Norbert first arrived here on the coast of St Elizabeth on holiday in the 1990s and was bewitched by the panorama from this two-acre site – with the beach within a 10-minute walk. He had to buy it – and he barely did. There was no road, water or electricity. But that did not deter him in the early years from pitching his tent and living on the land when on the island. Main construction began in 2009 with a projected completion date that was never and will never be realised. A work in progress, perpetually.

A family man, his wife’s name is Stephanie, and his two daughters are Selina and Tanjá. We thank them for inviting and allowing us to be part of the non-conformist experience.

Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and builder. Email feedback to barry-rattray@hotmail.com and lifestyle@gleanerjm.com.