Sun Serenity, Grand Cayman
From its oceanfront pavilion suites, to its double height living area and rooftop terrace, the magnificent Sun Serenity is the essence of contemporary coastal elegance.
Words by Natasha Were. Photography by Daniel Newcomb, architectphotography.com, Aerial Innovations, aerialinnovations.ky & David Goddard, facebook.com/davidgoddard345
For years before they purchased it, the owners had been coveting the empty lot at Cayman Kai, envisaging what they would build on that slice of paradise, if only it were theirs. Just steps from Rum Point, with its own white sand beach and sensational ocean views, they saw in their mind’s eye a sumptuous villa where their family and groups of friends could indulge both the simple joys of oceanfront living, and the aesthetic pleasures of an impeccably designed retreat.
Tracey and Eric Kline of Encompass Ltd, who undertook every aspect of the design and build, knew that the key architectural challenges would be to make the most of the position by incorporating four full-frontal sea view suites (plus a kids’ room and a ground floor suite for those of limited mobility) and to ensure plenty of shaded outdoor space where fair skinned guests could enjoy the balmy breezes without sizzling in the direct sun.
“Achieving all that is really hard to do, especially on a lot that’s not overly wide,” says Tracey. “But we worked it to our best advantage by placing the two pavilion suites above either end of the pool.”
Working in collaboration with John Zona & Associates of Jacksonville, Florida on the architectural drawings, they positioned the pavilion suites on stilts, one above the shallow bathing shelf of the pool, the other above the swim-up bar. This configuration enabled them to put windows on three sides of the suites, whilst also extending the pool, installed by Pool Patrol, to 70’ and keeping the main outdoor lounging areas out of the sun.
The other two ocean-facing suites were recessed on either side of the soaring, two-storey living area, ensuring no bedroom shared adjoining walls, for maximum privacy. Above these, the third floor terrace was built to capitalise on the sweeping views that take in Stingray City, Bio Bay and, of course, legendary sunsets. The extra elevation means it is even possible to spy individual turtles and rays gliding by.
On the lower level a multi-purpose space of dramatic dimensions features double height windows looking across the pool, beach, sea and sky. Spiralling off a central seating area, which is lit by a spectacular ‘Champagne chandelier’, is a bar with large screen TV for those unmissable matches, an ultra-modern kitchen designed by Pooley Cabinets, with appliances from Bon Vivant, and a glassed in dining area.
“We knew the design had to be contemporary,” Eric says of the interior design, “but we didn’t want it to be stark or sterile. The home needed warmth and depth and colour – those muted sea colours that tie in with the ocean.”
The feature from which the whole design concept of the living area takes its cue is, perhaps surprisingly, not so much the views as the Kauri wood floor tiles from ITC Tiles. All other decorative choices stemmed from the fluid patterns and tones of the flooring.
The Kline's had discovered this rare, ancient wood on a trip to New Zealand, and were not only instantly smitten with the story (it comes from trees that fell tens of thousands of years ago and have lain, preserved in swamps, ever since) but also with the distinctive grain. Kauri wood is so treasured it is not available commercially but when they found a porcelain tile inspired by it, in various shades of blue, grey and white, with hints of taupe, they knew they had to include it.
Bringing in the ‘beachy’ aspect, without being twee or clichéd, Tracey admits, was a tough balance to strike. However, they collected a variety of carefully chosen pieces – a side table supported by a sculptural octopus, a Guy Harvey stingray swimming across an indigo background, a glow-in-the-dark bad-dream-eating shark in the children’s room, a thick slab of aquamarine illuminated Thinkglass for a bar counter – that all paid subtle homage to the ocean-side location.
A cornucopia of other unique design details were implemented with the help of Jack Lonetto from Florida-based The Decorators Unlimited – faux eel-skin wallpapers, negative space vanities and works of art that perfectly match the colours inside and out – all add up to a sophisticated but understated aqua-inspired interior.
Needless to say, in such a sensational home, just as much care and consideration has been given to practicality and functionality as to visual appeal: a one-of-a-kind glass-fronted charging station keeps all digital devices in one place, custom made beds provide storage space beneath, and custom closets by Brand Source were ‘a godsend’ Tracey says, to minimise clutter and avoid marring sight lines. Even in the pool, a footrest has been added to the submerged stools for complete in-water comfort.
At Sun Serenity not a single detail has been left to chance, nor any convenience overlooked. From the macro-matters of clever architecture and layout to the minutiae of matching the pool tiles to the sea colour or finding just the right shade of exterior paint, it is a masterpiece of modern design and tasteful, pared back elegance.
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