Sat | Apr 4, 2020

Dream House | Paradise in Treasure Beach

Published:Sunday | January 26, 2020 | 12:11 AM
Who lives here may just surprise you like the house itself.
The living area. When all doors are folded back, nothing stands between the outside and inside.
Louvred doors open to a compact kitchen.
The dining porch. This is where we would rather eat – not inside.
Comfy and highly unusual interiors.
The main bedroom speaks for itself.

She was 18 years old, born in the 1940s and schooled at Hampton. Her first job was in an advertising agency, and it was here that fiery feelings would be ignited when she met account executive Perry Henzell (who would later famously direct and produce The Harder They Come, a Jamaican movie) and others.

He was already married and he told her to go away for two years and come back and marry him. She did just that ... went away to England and on her return, he married her and gave her two children.

Today we go in pursuit of paradise unknown and pop in on Sally, who designed and erected this house for herself after Perry had died, realising that she would be living alone. She had often dreamt about a house with no walls, so this cottage was an answer to those dreams; seated perfectly in dialogue with the ebb and flow of the perennially gentle, pounding surf. The weathered wood fencing by the waterfront adds a certain rustic charm.

All are consciously executed to blur the lines between the inside and outside, where you are sometimes not sure which is which.

Camouflaged in a seeming wilderness of trees on a one-quarter of an acre parcel of land, the maritime house is tucked quietly away in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth.

You enter, walking through a lily pond, and once you encounter the interior, it will visually stir you in a state of incredulity. This is not a hallucinatory experience. You, in fact, have just entered the unshackled, surreal world of Sally Henzell, artist, cook, designer-builder, movie art director, and founder/owner of Jakes Hotel.

Easily the smallest, most economically constructed dwelling featured so far, and the biggest in expressing sheer creative individuality. Free-spirited Sally has with this internationally recognised abode, thrown convention unapologetically to the wind, stretched the boundaries of imagination while adventurously breaking so-called design rules and order.

To sum it up, she has eschewed the modern, social urban lifestyle in favour of a nature-inspired, relaxed, carefree, norm-defying way of life.

Colours everywhere

The gabled, metal-roofed rustic structure occupies a tad over 1,000 square feet, with its artfully conceived, innovative, simple spaces. It strikes you with its high-level, pear-shaped fixed windows, ornamental handmade mosaic at every turn, walls of magical inlaid colourful glass, and so much more.

n The exterior is painted in magenta (a reddish, purple colour). Wow!

n Upstairs, the uninhibited, comforting living area flings its walls of louvred doors and windows wide open to receive the awe-inspiring, unbroken horizon of the sea and sky. Its decor is mostly collected old pieces, striped sofas and areas of colourful patterned fabrics. Walls are embellished with all kinds of personal paraphernalia, including artwork from established artists.

The main bedroom (there is also another cum office) is highlighted with a tall, tentlike, orange-coloured netting over the pine wood bed. This room also includes a dumb waiter (a small elevator) leading directly to the kitchen. The floors here are of guango wood; and high-beamed ceilings are in pale, sky blue tones.

The kitchen is quite small and compact, as how Sally believes a kitchen should be. Its pine fabricated cupboards are faced with metal roof sheeting, built by local carpenters.

The atmospheric dining porch inhales the tropical sea breeze, with its much-admired, raw concrete unpainted ceilings, and smooth-rendered, concrete-stained floors.

Her two companions who reside here, Butta and Charlie, are both proud members of the canine family.

Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and builder. Email