As Good As It Gets - Grand Cayman
In search of the simpler life, a busy New England family finds beauty and tranquillity in the idyllic folds of Grand Cayman.
Words by Caroline Key. Photographs by Martyn Poyner.
Not often do you come across a destination that offers a relaxing island paradise as well as all the luxuries of a world class city, but Cayman's picturesque environs and carefree lifestyle is exactly what attracted the owners of this unique South Sound home.
"We've always wanted to live in a warmer climate," explains the head of the house and mother of two. "Beyond beautiful, everything about island living has exceeded our expectations. We wake up to breathtaking ocean views and the sound of the sea. The kids love it here and with schools and amenities nearby, life couldn't be easier."
Finding perfection takes time, however. "We looked everywhere but nothing fit. We wanted to be on the water and eventually thought: why not build something ourselves?" Settling on a secluded beachfront plot, the couple (with the help of local construction and property development firm Edgewater Development) soon began work on their centre-hall Colonial styled home. The result, an ultra-sleek abode that on the exterior reflects a traditional family home yet once inside, welcomes the contemporary and defines a very distinct sense of style.
Transition through the columned doorway and instantly you are met with a cool, contemporary elegance. Geometric lines, low-profile furnishings and custom artwork set the tone; a two-storey floor to ceiling glass window forms the centrepiece, capturing the very reason they came here. Only once the glistening backdrop melts into the background do you fully appreciate the subtle impact of this sanctuary-like dwelling. Neutral tones, minimal décor and a fine collection of modern art lean toward the avant-garde; a commissioned driftwood sculpture, hints of whitewash quarter sawn oak and a touching collection of family photographs, add warmth and welcome. Light and bright, the heart of the house – the living room – is defined by openness. Folding glass doors lead onto the pool deck, where vanishing edges give way to the horizon; a double ceiling stretches to the second floor balcony with wrap-around bookshelves and the bedrooms beyond. Tastefully decorated, the simple floor plan hints of laid-back sophistication, whereas the artwork suggests playfulness. Designed to embrace indoor-outdoor living, the home reveals its occupants. "We wanted the house to reflect a sense of who we are and how we live," say the owners.
But more than a house of discerning taste, it was the owners' hands-on approach to the architectural and interior design that demonstrates their keen eye for form and function. Outdoor-centric, the house opens onto coralstone plateaus and gently manicured lawns which were designed by local landscaping firm, Vigoro Nursery, to provide ample space for enjoying the best of a Caribbean lifestyle. A plethora of outdoor eating areas have replaced the formal dining room – poolside palapas, a dock cabana and intimate shaded courtyards provide the perfect spot for family meals to be enjoyed en plein air. The office – featuring Italian glass, modular shelving and a Flos oversize hand-carved porcelain dome light (smaller versions can be found in the recessed lighting of the third floor games room) – is a work of art in its own right.
As is the ultra chic master suite – a haven of neutral shades, soft textures, unique objets d'art, a cheeky Perspex mounted C-type trio print by Boyarde Messenger and private balcony from which to enjoy uninterrupted views of the sea and swaying palms below. The professional grade kitchen, sporting all the latest bells and whistles such as a built-in Miele coffee machine, 150 bottle Viking wine fridge, two whisper quiet Bosche dishwashers and marble countertops complete with rare crystalline seams, is industrial yet warm in feel. Personal touches such as the one-of-a-kind walnut kitchen table serendipitously found on their travels, bring fluidity and movement to the space. What is more, automated technologies allow for complete control at the touch of a button. From air conditioning to security cameras, the house can be operated from anywhere in the world.
Post-modern in feel, this five-bedroom residence plus guest villa is a true an expression of self. Effortlessly chic, luxuriously easy, this family-friendly South Sound home embraces a love for life, laughter and family memories. The simple life, as good as it gets.
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