Samsara, Turks & Caicos
A palatial Turks & Caicos home grounded in purpose.
Words by Natasha Were. Photography by Andy Mann.
Cleverly designed and lavishly decorated, Samsara is a home of huge proportions, where finding a secluded corner to relax and the space to spread out comfortably, even when at maximum capacity, is never an issue. With space for 20 guests, it's the perfect combination of resort-style amenities and complete privacy for a large family that enjoys holidaying together.
“As our children grew older and the family expanded it was getting ever more difficult to all get comfortable in a hotel, no matter how many stars,” says owner, Linda Crow. “The children wanted their own space, to invite friends along and to make a noise in the pool. We desperately needed a home from home. A place we could all relax and not have to worry about spoiling anyone else's holiday.”
The family had settled on Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) as their ideal island getaway the first time they visited. It had all the Robinson Crusoe attributes they sought – white sand, blue sea, warm sun – along with the first world conveniences of well-stocked supermarkets, fine dining restaurants and an abundance of watersports. Finding the right villa, however, proved more difficult.
After several summers spent viewing properties for sale, they realised that what they wanted – vast amounts of space, elegant design and a private playground for all ages – did not exist. But in 2008 they found something else: three-and-a-half acres of land with 650 feet of immaculate beachfront for sale. The size of the plot, the views, the elevation and the reef just offshore were perfect, all that was missing was the house.
Settling on the right design wasn't so easy. “We wanted something quite different to the existing style of property on island – something traditional with classic elements,” Crow says. They discarded two possibilities before finding the right touch with TCI-based architect Ron Shaw.
Rather than designing a single dwelling, Shaw used the natural gradient of the land to create a series of pavilions at different elevations, each of which houses a living area or bedroom suite. This enabled Shaw to give the family the sea views they wanted from every room, whilst providing a variety of spaces, indoor and out, for friends and family to play, sunbathe, eat or relax, either alone or in company.
“Ron's design for Samsara felt right from the start,” Crow recalls. Completed in summer 2014, Shaw made ample use of timber and stone harvested on the property to give Samsara an organic, natural ambience. The sloping roofs, supported by tapering stone pillars and sliding glass 'window walls' enable the owners to enjoy the indoor-outdoor living they had envisioned, while also echoing their own ties to South East Asia.
A spacious living room with a soaring ceiling lined with strips of Canadian cedar and cooled by a Big Ass Fan opens onto the huge top level of the salt-water pool with views to the ocean beyond. From there, the water cascades down the hillside in a series of tiered pools, each one serving a different purpose: children can play ball or paddle in the shallow pool beside the kitchen, while older guests can relax with a cocktail at the swim up bar, or luxuriate in the vanishing-edge Jacuzzi.
One of the owner's favourite aspects of the villa – and a masterpiece of design inventiveness on the architect's part – is the kitchen and dining room. “I was emphatic that even when the villa was full of family and friends we should be able to cook and dine together comfortably, so these rooms had to be much larger than anything Ron had done before.”
Housed in its own pavilion, with a curved glass wall that borders the swimming pool, the double-height dining room seats fourteen around a circular table, the base of which is made from local stone and is illuminated by an intricate coral chandelier.
Due to her small stature Crow insisted the kitchen have no cabinets above counter height: Shaw responded by creating a series of interconnecting islands – one for cold prep, another for cooking, a third for beverages, which allowed him to do away with walls on three sides, providing intoxicating views across the island and the ocean. The islands' ingeniously conceal refrigerator drawers, a slide-out range, dishwashers and other kitchen appliances, as well as plenty of storage space.
Between the four bedroom suites and the separate guesthouse the owners can host up to ten adults in lavish luxury. Each bedroom is tastefully furnished with king size beds, inviting seating areas, outdoor showers and private terraces, but it is the owners' 1,000 square foot suite with an airy sleeping area, his and hers dressing rooms, a double outdoor shower and an ocean view Jacuzzi that really spells indulgence.
The children, meanwhile, can enjoy their very own adult-free adventure in a separate bunkhouse. Each side – one for boys, one for girls – sleeps six in queen size bunk beds, and above the sleeping quarters they have their own kids-only loft equipped with games consoles, smart TV and plenty of cosy seating. Low doorways from there lead out to a wrap around balcony with lots more entertainment, including a fireman's pole allowing them to slide from one area to the other.
Superb snorkelling off the private beach, a tennis and basketball court along with hammocks, a sunbathing dock and relaxation pavilions ensure comfort and entertainment at all levels and all ages.
The realisation of Crow's clear vision for a sumptuous holiday home that is both a peaceful retreat for family and friends, as well as a thrilling adventure for their children, Samsara is truly a paradisiacal home away from home.
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