Sun | Nov 28, 2021

Dream House | Hollywood-style homes bring magic of silver screen to Ja

Published:Saturday | October 16, 2021 | 12:10 AM
Artist impression of a residence designed by Barry Rattray with the late Georgio Ferarri, an award-winning Italian maestro and lecturer in Hollywood movie special and visual effects, in Chancery Hall, St Andrew.
Artist impression of a residence designed by Barry Rattray with the late Georgio Ferarri, an award-winning Italian maestro and lecturer in Hollywood movie special and visual effects, in Chancery Hall, St Andrew.
Fantasy pool surrounded by double fountains, whirlpool spa and swim -- up bar at Chancery Hall residence.
Fantasy pool surrounded by double fountains, whirlpool spa and swim -- up bar at Chancery Hall residence.
The modified completed project.
The modified completed project.

Residence in Norbrook, St Andrew, designed by architect and theatre technical director, Robin Baston.
Residence in Norbrook, St Andrew, designed by architect and theatre technical director, Robin Baston.
Barry Rattray
Barry Rattray
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I invite you to imagine the look and feel of your very own house if it were designed and built by the very production crew responsible for creating those magical Hollywood movies.

I ask, how can house architecture and the cinema or the theatre reside in concert with each other — directing their artistic craft to produce unbelievable houses not only in the world of make-believe but in the here and now?

Many of the houses you see in motion pictures and on television sitcoms have actually played starring roles in the shows themselves, and they engage your attention as much as the characters who play living in them.

Did you know that many architects over the last 80 years have been employed in the movie industry as A-list actors, set designers, directors, etc? Notable ones being Oscar-winning actors, the late Jimmy Stewart and Anthony Quinn, as well as others who switched while studying architecture in college, such as Samuel L. Jackson. Tom Ford, a top American fashion designer and former creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, is a successful film director and yes, is also an architect.

There have also been architects in the profession associated deeply with Hollywood and its glamour image. Its most celebrated was African-American Paul R. Williams. With the moniker ‘architect to the stars’, Williams designed ‘wow’ mansions for many famous celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Gary Grant, William Holden and Barbara Stanwick. With an archive of 10,000 drawings, he helped shape the Hollywood lifestyle into his houses. Sadly, he was not accepted in the neighbourhoods where he designed his homes or in the hotels and restaurants he created! The American Institute of Architects gave him the coveted gold medal in architecture, its highest award, in 2017 — 37 years after his death!

Exceptional ‘interior designer to the stars’, Stephen Shadley, was earlier on a scenic artist, creating illusions with paint at 20th-Century Fox Studios. He has styled the homes of actors Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Modine, etc., infusing his designs with the magic of the silver screen. But what about Jamaica?

Architect and theatre technical director, production, set, and lighting designer, Robin Baston has accumulated numerous awards for his stagecraft as he balances both artistic disciplines with the finesse required in expressing true masterpieces for us to behold.

Junior architect Courtney Payne is a talented young lady who is a dancer and a set designer with the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company. Her architectural career in front of her will be as exciting as any blockbuster picture topping the box office charts.

Recognised theatre set designer (grand galas and pantomimes), the late architect Michael Lorde, delivered you into the world of imagination.

Twenty-five years ago, I teamed up with an award-winning Italian maestro and lecturer in Hollywood movie special and visual effects, the late Georgio Ferarri. His many film credits include The Mighty Quinn starring Denzil Washington; Wide Sargasso Sea with Naomi Watts and Michael York; and Scam starring Christopher Walken.

Together, we began choreographing the design/construction sequences of houses to strike the eye and gladden the spirit.

As the curtain comes down on this article, we are left with the certainty that houses shaped by cinematic and theatrical special effects — will blow your mind!

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