Mon | Apr 6, 2020

Dream House | The perfect retreat

Published:Sunday | August 18, 2019 | 12:05 AM
Has an Intergalactic spaceship landed here in Jamaica?
Bedroom with opening to the clouds
A kitchen with the latest in modern design
Living area with multiple roof windows welcoming the precious sunlight
Revolutionary geodesic dome house
You may feel confused on entering this out-of-this-world bathroom for the first time

Just when the shock and awe triggered from last week’s featured, revolutionary, geodesic dome house was dissipating, and our collective blood pressure was returning to some normality, yet another such structure has been uncovered, much to our surprise!

Discovered in the hills of Runaway Bay, St Ann, in an area called Tripoli, there it sits, resembling NASA’s planned Mars habitats. A unique, audacious, hemispherical shell house, with unmatched strength, ease of assembly, ability to better withstand hurricanes and earthquakes; as well as being more economical than conventional buildings to construct.

Fuller’s Story

Developed and popularised by the American, R. Buckminster Fuller (designer, author and inventor), the system was his solution and contribution to mankind’s housing dilemma. He was expelled from Harvard University, twice, while a student there, seriously contemplated suicide earlier on, and wore three watches at the same time (for differentiating time zones). He would eventually lecture as a professor at the same Harvard University, and amass 47 honorary doctorate degrees from all over. Fuller received his nation’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He would also receive the Gold Medal award from the American Institute of Architects, for his development of the Geodesic Dome, with the citation, “The strongest, lightest and most efficient means of enclosing space yet known to man”, in 1970.


This is the family retreat of Robert Stephens (a semi-retired) management consultant and his dear wife, Donna, an interior designer/decorator – the creative force behind this endeavour. Originally built in 2010, by a Jamaican residing in Canada, it would become abandoned, vandalised and engulfed in bus for six painful years. Thankfully, the Stephens saved it from its long-suffering dereliction, by purchasing and extensively revamping it, over a one year period.


The space-age enthralling home, with its angular walls and dome roofs of glass windows, is able to observe the celestial bodies above, in all their infinite freedom. Wow! There are five bedrooms (with their own bathrooms); two separate living areas; dining and a state-of-the-art galley designed kitchen. Interiors reflect a modern layout and finishes, as it pampers and relaxes you into a world that you have never experienced before!


The swimming pool makes a splash with its infinity edge design, affectionately caressing the house with its blue invigorating water. An outdoor garden entertainment terrace, permits views of the pool, golf course and the sea. A private beach is a little over a mile away.


The triumph of this residence lies in its ability to have moved from the past and the present… continuing to map out a future that is better able to survive the world of tomorrow, with its volatile climatic-change scenarios.


Barry Rattray is a Dream House designer and Builder