Tue | Oct 19, 2021

Dream House | A building conceived by nature and art

Published:Sunday | January 19, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Endless views from the verandah.
A most unusual fountain on the roof terrace.
Master bedroom with brilliant pieces of coloured glass embedded in its wall.
This house is not for the faint hearted.
Swimming pool cools the dry landscape.
Living area with a large piece of coral stone dramatically inlaid in its staircase wall.

Words alone cannot adequately convey all the emotions rushing through you at your first introduction to this dream house.

It courageously and confidently, with all intent and appearances, radically challenges the orthodox look and feel of Jamaica’s residential architecture. Defying classification, it explodes organically on the land in playful, dynamic, artistic form.

The eclectic, whimsical, two-storey building is inspired and conceived by nature and art, articulating many seductive curves and turns; arches; exquisite, mosaic glass tile work; stonework detailing, adorned by rich ceramics. Also, uniquely decorative, horseshoe-shaped carved doors and intricate grillwork with murals are on display.

It continues with vivid, intense, applied colours, dominated by hues of yellow and blue. The undulating lines of the building mimic the waves on the sea. Imaginative use of brilliant, coloured glass, embedded in textured walls; dazzling cathedral stained-glass windows and timber shutters; and 3,000 square feet of floors finished in tile and concrete.

It’s all this and much more in a tranquil setting, capped with a dominant domed roof, with a mural of the night sky on its inside.

Anxiety quickly mounts as one impatiently awaits entry through its arched portico, to experience all the thrills, the daring, artistically-crafted inside has to offer. Fall asleep lulled by wave action and wake up to an amazing sunrise in four bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms (there is also an encrusted seashell outdoor shower). All have a balcony or private viewing patios.

Upstairs is reserved for the master suite only, with its grand oval-shaped and vaulted ceiling. It also accommodates a sweeping, winding stairway to outside.

The natural light-filled, living-dining area (with a large curious piece of coral stone inlaid in staircase wall), opens to a covered verandah where you can see as far as eyes will allow ... the secluded beachfront; sea turtles as they nest; dolphins at play; and manatees (sea cows) that leaves you at a loss for words!

There is a solid wood kitchen and a spacious ‘sun-and-moon’ rooftop terrace, with thatched shaded areas inviting relaxation, sun-tanning and dining; with compelling 360-degree views of aquamarine waters and mountains. Up here, a fountain clad in mosaic tile is a conspicuous feature.

The furniture is of a contemporary design, painstakingly produced by local artisans.

Externally, an appealing swimming pool also quenches the dry landscape, with its varieties of cacti and bougainvillea plants. Fruit trees and a vegetable garden are also in attendance, along with thatched-roofed gazebos. Solar technology plays its part.

A guardhouse at the entrance stands ready and capable to protect and defend life, limb, and property.

The waterfront-sculptured masterpiece on a gentle hill encompassing approximately two acres, was designed by artist extraordinaire Sally Henzell, and constructed for an American woman in 1999. In 2016, ownership changed to a Canadian lady, who renovated it in 2017.

The property is located facing the southwest coastline at Billy’s Bay District, St Elizabeth.

Architecture and art share equal status in creating this most uplifting and inspiring display. For those who are surprised, read this: “The Royal Institute of British Architects only reclassified architecture as a science in 1958. Before, the subject was predominantly taught in art schools”.

- Barry Rattray is dream house designer and builder. Email: barry-rattray@hotmail.com. Do you want us to feature your dream house? Email: editorial@gleanerjm.com.