Sun | May 24, 2020

Dream House | A design masterpiece

Published:Sunday | September 29, 2019 | 12:00 AM
A bridge crosses the pool, unlike anything you have ever seen before.
The beauty of this home lies equally in the successful blending of appealing architecture and landscaping.
The dining room in all its tropical splendour
Shades of colour blend and pop on soft furnishings and accent walls in the bedrooms
Delightful bedroom decor enhances a good night's rest

Let’s retract the curtain of unawareness as we seek to enlighten on aspects of dream house architecture in Jamaica.

To commence, I have never witnessed a beautiful house without a beautiful garden! Landscape architect James E. Voss, member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, was invited many years ago by the Jamaican Society of Architects (as it was known then), to write in their Jamaica Architect magazines. He wrote that without landscaping, “Buildings alone can look raw and unappealing. Proper landscape designs softens the formal lines of a building, enhances its beauty and blends the structure into its surroundings.”

Famous Mexican architect Luis Barragan, winner of the highest award in international architecture, The Pritzker Prize, once said, “I don’t divide architecture, landscape and gardening; to me they are one.” So I say to you, my readers, when hiring an architect/designer on your next project, don’t leave out the landscape architect/designer.

Then there is the interior of the house. A well-executed interior design/decoration many times may have you wondering if it is the architecture, or the interior designer’s space creation and décor efforts, that is really making you enjoy the space within!

In 1975, the Jamaican Society of Architects had its Governor General’s award in Architecture. In its residential, single-family category, the overseas-based assessors (Professor Antonio Miro-Montilla, dean of the School of Architecture of The University of Puerto Rico, and ‘eminent’ architect Ruskin Punch of Trinidad and Tobago) had this to say about the entries: “We found it extremely difficult to assess this very personalised section. Particularly, as outsiders, we found that the standard of living of the families was so high that we wondered whether we were judging the carpets and furniture or the houses.”

Late American architect Phillip Johnson, a giant of 20th-century architecture and recipient of the most prestigious international architectural award, the Pritzker Prize, said, “Architecture is basically the design of interiors, the art of organising interior space.”

Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably the most celebrated architect of the 20th century, is quoted as saying, “I came to realise that the reality of a building was not the container, but the space within.” Readers, without fail, bring in the interior designer/decorator on your next project.


This one may come as a surprise! Take careful note and be guided by its content. With all the energy, passion and enthusiasm you bring with your significant other, try temper it with patience, love, understanding and compromise during the design and construction phases. When your house of dreams relinquishes its glamour because of martial disconnect, it can submerge into a nightmare stuck in hell! Divorces have been known to follow!

This week’s dream house nurtures that beautiful garden. The joyous interior, and exterior design and layout feed off each other in their quest to comfort and excite. Love, respect and tolerance between the owners keep guests comfortable – not looking for the nearest point of exit!

A design masterpiece in western Jamaica, this significant-size home accommodates five air-conditioned bedrooms and their attached rain-shower bathrooms. Entertainment terraces and balconies provide utter relaxation, overlooking scenic vistas and heated, infinity-edge swimming pool. A gazebo aids in the recreational value of the property. A bubbling whirlpool spa rejuvenates those reluctant, unresponsive parts of the body.

Interior shades of orange, green, etc, blend and pop on soft furnishings and walls. Meticulous detailing to a fault, does not escape your attention.

This column’s Raison d’être is to entertain and educate on Jamaica’s surprisingly unknown dream residential architecture. May the discoveries continue without respite.

- Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and builder. Email: or