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Beach House, Little Cayman

Tranquil, remote and mercifully undeveloped, few who visit Little Cayman fail to be charmed by the tiny isle. The owner of the Beach House was no exception. A ten-year, worldwide search for the ideal piece of beachfront real estate ended the day he set foot on its sandy shores.

Tranquil, remote and mercifully undeveloped, few who visit Little Cayman fail to be charmed by the tiny isle. The owner of the Beach House was no exception. A ten-year, worldwide search for the ideal piece of beachfront real estate ended the day he set foot on its sandy shores.

The island’s pristine, protected natural assets – both underwater and on land – combined with first-world connectivity and the all the services and conveniences of Grand Cayman just a hop away, put Little Cayman in a class of its own. By the following day he had found the perfect spot: a two and a half acre oceanfront lot with 300 feet of reef-protected beach.

Hunkered down amongst sea grape trees, and set back from the pink-hued sands at the far eastern end of Little Cayman,the Beach House is everything the owner had envisioned. Concealed from the road, and only partially visible from the beach, the home’s muted hardwood exterior and single storey design lend it an unassuming air. Inside, however, it’s a showstopper.

Adamant that the home should have minimal impact on the natural environment, he sketched out his ideas for a three bedroom home arranged in three ‘pods’ and connected by elevated walkways. Spanish architect Lirika Vula draw up the initial plans for the 9225 square foot house, then the team at Edgewater Development took over managing all aspects of the project, taking the plans to local firm AMR Consulting Engineers for a viability assessment, while Hue.Lyew.Chin Structrual Engineering Ltd. completed the engineering requirements.

“The clients wanted a home that would be a showpiece, but also liveable and that felt like it had been dropped in place with mature landscaping,” say Kris and Debi Bergstrom, the husband and wife owners and founders of Edgewater Development. To this end, a team from Edgewater Development, led by Kris, hand-cleared the footprint of the home so as to minimise disturbing existing vegetation on the property.

Built on stilts to mitigate flood risk, it’s a walk through the treetops from sleeping to entertainment areas, with the whisper of the ocean a constant companion. Cooled by gentle breezes, the deep, shady terraces frame the vivid colours beyond: emerald green trees, sugary sand and tantalising glimpses of aquamarine sea.

The interior, in sharp contrast, is dominated by rich browns, bronzes and brasses. Furnished with an exuberant mix of mid-century modern antiques and sleek, contemporary pieces, it is a profusion of tones and textures: leather, chrome, crystal and wood all come together seamlessly, breathing old-world, easy-living comfort.

At once glamorous and welcoming, the entertainment area is vast and open plan. Clusters of sofas, a full-size pool table, horseshoe shaped bar and ultra-modern kitchen are all framed by high, beamed ceilings and a glossy, coconut wood floor.

“Most of the design was my idea but I had a lot of help from the team at Edgewater Development. Because the house is in the Caribbean and because I am half-Indian, I wanted that element of British Colonial style, but I also wanted to capture the elegance of the 1930s,” the owner explains.

There is certainly more than a hint of art deco in the decorative vases and bowls and the Hudson Furniture chandelier that hangs low over the dining table, but unexpected quirks – a fuchsia wall panel here, a set of turquoise table legs there – lighten the tone and anchor it in the 21st century.

“We included these splashes of colour to prevent it being too tasteful,” explains the owner. “It injects a bit of fun, a bit of personality, into the design.”

Old, new and exotic mix equally comfortably in the guest and master bedrooms. Ornate woodcarvings hang above king-size beds, African masks look down from the walls, oriental rugs cover hardwood floors and travel-worn trunks and suitcases are both evidence of the owner’s wanderlust, and an allusion to the golden age of travel, he says.

In the master bedroom suite, it’s the sleek, frameless indoor/outdoor shower and freestanding copper bathtub, raised on a plinth and lit by a chandelier, that are the real eye-catchers.

Every curio and statement piece throughout the home has a story and a travel log all its own. Much came from the owner’s own collection but, along with the interior designer, he also travelled to Miami to search out antiques, and sourced one off-items from Europe. Construction materials were equally sourced from Indonesia, Jamaica, the US and South America, their transportation and delivery to Little Cayman seamlessly coordinated by the developers.

Completed in the spring of 2014, the Beach House captures the comfort, style and privacy the owner wanted – and all on an island where crime is unheard of, but a 10MB internet connection is the norm.

As lavish and luxurious as his new home is, for the owner of the Beach House, it’s the setting that is the star feature, he says. “It’s totally quiet, you’re ensconced in nature, with an untouched beach in front of you. Anything you could build pales into insignificance compared to that.”

 


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