Mon | Jul 6, 2020

Dream House | A strong house blending with the natural environment

Published:Sunday | February 9, 2020 | 12:00 AM
This pool is designed to seemingly flow right into the sea.
Poolside cabana – the perfect place to cool out.
The roadway carries you through the middle of nowhere to reach this house.
The rooftop entertainment terrace showing a dome roof and never-ending sea views.
The Morrocan-style reading corner of the living room.
Escape the seascape, where the expected becomes the unexpected.

Humankind is continually transforming and reshaping the world through architecture, with the dwelling house being endlessly interpreted throughout history.

This one continues in that vein. The building’s proud designer and owner is early 70-plus year-old France-born graphic designer Gilles Reidberger. He has lived and worked in London, owning at one time one of the top 10 design companies in France; boasting an enviable international clientele, such as Nestlé (the world’s largest food and beverage company); Heineken, British Tobacco, Colgate Palmolive, Henkel, etc.

His 40-year-old wife Caroline runs her own event-planning business, and they both reside six months of the year in Jamaica and the remainder in Marrakech, Morocco. They have three children.

Gilles happily discovered Jamaica, Negril specifically, in the 1990s and built a house, living there for five years. When he came across Treasure Beach on the south coast and realised how it resembled the Mediterranean, which he so admired, he immediately sold his Negril real estate and bought this six acres of seascape sandwiched between the reef-protected beach and rolling hills – seemingly lost to the outside world.

He then moved decisively to imagine a concoction for a strong house that would blend with the natural environment, have the ingredients of Greek and Tunisian architectural forms, and flavoured with the character and atmosphere of the Greek Islands.

The 1,400-square-foot design catapults into the spotlight – a gleaming white, austere villa built in 2008, with its louvred windows and doors pulling your eyes with their Mediterranean-blue colour. There are mostly no sharp corners on the building’s exterior – instead, intentionally curved ones for strong winds.

The dome roof, called the ‘king of all roofs’, seen on the most important buildings around the globe, exhibits its mini version which is integrated with the overall building style. Light radiates through glass at its very top, provoking a heavenly presentation. Oh my God!

The cosy, unpredictable interiors with never-ending views from every corner envelopes you with four bedrooms, each with their own (walk-in shower) bathroom. We can’t help but notice that there are no doors to the bathrooms, for the effective communication between bedrooms and bathrooms. How about that!

The living/dining areas are organised with some Moroccan themes, with part exotic furnishing, including wicker.

The kitchen counter is constructed in concrete, waxed beautifully in white, with cupboards portraying red cedar wood. A laundry and single carport follows.

The base of the beds in the rooms are built from concrete, with mattress atop. There are no tiles on bathroom walls, no tiles on floors, but rather, polished cement in shades of white, gray and black, displaying tribal motifs marked into it. You now begin to realise how indispensable concrete is to the overall creative concept and layout.

Thatch and fish pot sticks are also in the details, along with many niches (decorative recesses in the walls). Ceilings and walls are mostly in white.

A roof area with two entertainment terraces and balcony contributes a full 360-degree view of all-encompassing scenery. An expansive sundeck adequately serves the infinity-edge swimming pool; and a large, welcoming courtyard at front, along with a restful gazebo, play their expected parts. The driveway is formed from gravel.

It has been said that when we put our imaginative and technical skills to good use, there can be no end to man’s accomplishments. Our lifestyle has certainly progressed since man lived in caves as shelter and refuge from the enormous beasts that shared his earth.

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