King's View, Harbour Island, The Bahamas
At the southern end of Harbour Island, on a lot leading down to a picture-perfect private beach stands King's View, a home where old-world island charm meets contemporary cool.
Words by Natasha Were and Finn Jones. Photography courtesy of www.kingsviewhi.com
The couple had spotted the potential of the lot as soon as they saw it. “We were renting a tiny home nearby, and fell in love with the property,” says Paul. “We spent many sunsets swimming in the bay looking back at it and dreamed of one day owning the land. We managed to close on it just two months before our wedding on Pink Sands Beach.”
Both were actively involved in every aspect of the build, with Paul taking on the project management and Rita the interior design. As first-time builders, it was a daunting undertaking, but one they completed in record time, moving into the 6650 square foot home just a year after breaking ground.
Arranged over three levels, with three guest suites on the top floor, the living area, various bedrooms, pool and terrace on the ground floor, and an entertainment space on the basement level, they have created a spacious, airy family home, with a traditional Bahamian look and feel, where they can embrace an active, outdoor lifestyle, entertain friends and family and make the most of their privileged bay views.
Bahamian-raised but schooled in the UK, Paul’s passion for traditional island architecture and carpentry is reflected in the property’s two-storey cypress-wood facade, pitched roofs and wood siding, while Rita’s artistic eye has created warm, welcoming interiors that play with elements of industrial design, coastal accents and whimsical details.
“What is truly amazing is that Rita sourced the furniture and fittings entirely online, without visiting one show room,” says Paul. “She has an insane knack for visualizing rooms from start to finish.”
A curving driveway leads down through lush palms to the property. Rather than a front door the entrance is a covered breezeway where hanging day beds swing lazily in the shade. This cool
wind tunnel opens onto a courtyard with a turtle pond at its centre, which in turn leads to the true heart of the home – the great room.
Next to the pool, the covered terrace provides ample outdoor living space, with a large dining table, outdoor kitchen, and a vast L-shaped sofa.
Avowed foodies, the Kings have designed an elegant, character-filled kitchen that makes cooking a joy. A 14-foot kitchen island with a weathered hardwood countertop is lit by salvaged ship’s lights and a backsplash of Cuban-inspired black and white tiles continues the vintage theme. Positioned in front of the sliding terrace doors, two oversize Chesterfields from Roger + Chris invite one to sink down and drink in the view of the infinity pool and sea beyond.
Rita’s flair for design has created a different ambience in each of the eight en suite bedrooms. On the top floor, the guest rooms open onto long shady verandas front and back, and offer plenty of old-world charm with pitched ceilings, dormer windows and soothing pastel walls. On the ground floor, the master suite is a fresh, modern space with wall-to-wall glass on the sea-facing side and a dramatic statement wall, clad in reclaimed barn wood, framing the king size bed. A large canvas of a red rooster hanging above the bed brings colour and life to the space and pendant lights made from glass wine jugs add sophisticated style.
Double bunk beds in the kids’ room promise fun for the young, whilst in the navy and white room iron bed frames, decorative life rings and brass pendant lights whisper of ships at sea in days of old. The flamingo room, on the other hand, where one wall is papered with the national bird of the Bahamas, is quirkily contemporary, and the self-contained apartment with adjoining kitchenette and living room, is bright and beachy.
Activity and entertainment being a huge part of the owner’s lives, the basement level houses a gym, table tennis table and a full size Brunswick pool table, as well as a changing room, only steps from the beach. Painted in bright bold stripes, it is a playful, modern take on the Victorian beach huts once common to English seaside resorts. With storage space for water toys, a 100-foot dock and a separate 25-metre lap pool, there’s no room for boredom at King’s View.
Hot sun, salty air, wet swimsuits and a 115-pound family dog all take their toll on furnishings, so in order to ensure practicality as well as beauty, the couple designed many of the signature pieces themselves – the hanging day beds, the outdoor sofa, the master bed – and had them built from Brazilian hardwood.
Impressive in both scale and design, it is the minute attention to detail that is perhaps the Kings’ greatest feat. From grooves and rain holes in exterior stairs, to A/C vents screened by whitewashed fish pot material and locally-made lattice work on cabinet doors, even the smallest element has been carefully chosen to create a harmonious aesthetic.
Rita’s tasteful mix of natural materials, antique maritime pieces, and local art and photography, all come together beautifully within King’s View’s gracious walls, while its outdoor spaces and endless sports facilities take full advantage of its beachside location. With its lust list of design features and A-lister vibe, this is one residence that is more than fit for royalty.
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