Tue | Dec 6, 2022

Dream Home | Dream homes are mirrors of ourselves

Published:Sunday | September 25, 2022 | 12:06 AM
Relaxation comes so easy in a covered outdoor setting as this.
Relaxation comes so easy in a covered outdoor setting as this.
Step inside a handcrafted, artistic interior.
Step inside a handcrafted, artistic interior.
The exterior of this home makes a powerful statement.
The exterior of this home makes a powerful statement.
Magnificently carved front doors with the Jamaican coat of arms symbol.
Magnificently carved front doors with the Jamaican coat of arms symbol.
Helena  searched the Caribbean and South America before choosing Jamaica to build her home.
Helena searched the Caribbean and South America before choosing Jamaica to build her home.
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We continue to bring to the fore the lives behind the walls of some of these dream houses, that reflect the personalities and attributes of their very existence.

An invitation has kindly been extended to the home of Helena. Its latitudinal and longitudinal geographical coordinates position it in the unexpected and out-of-the-way territory, with no neighbours in sight.

Its almost four-acre terrain is not going to be the only surprising element of our visit here.

Firstly, we enter monumental gates, driving through the middle of a jungle environment, within a gully, crossing a flat bridge over flowing waters. Up the precipitous slope we proceed, until we reach the four-level residence on the brink of the hill, focused on the sea beyond. The landscape up here is a horticulturist’s delight, emphasised by many swaying palm and fruit trees of every variety, and fragrant flowering plants.

Greeting us on arrival is the lady of the house, who was born and raised in Helsinki, Finland. She studied business and hospitality management at university in England, spending eight years there.

It was during her spell in that country, while hosting a dinner party at her home, that an American fellow, unknown to all, unapologetically crashed the function. Helena would henceforth find him loud, rude, and arrogant, but he gave his heart to her unconditionally! They would both get married and live in the United States, producing four kids.

Now divorced, after 10 years of marriage (he was never home), and with a new lease on life, she searched ardently throughout the Caribbean and South America for a site to build her house, until she happened upon her island paradise, Jamaica.

Helena is a creative soul, versed in the subject of interior design, and drew the building’s original sketches on toilet paper (please don’t ask how that happened!).

The house has an artsy vibe to it, energised by its natural surroundings. Wherever you look, you see special wood carvings from skilled artisans, for example, the large double front doors, fantastically carved with the Jamaican coat of arms symbol. Furniture pieces are also built locally and crafted expertly from mahogany.

The exterior makes a powerful statement with its large covered balconies, verandahs, terraces, and imposing pergolas (uncovered wood beam and rafter framework), exciting the facade in a most relaxing way. Dip into the swimming pool and enjoy the private beach right nearby.

The substantial size house trumpets an art gallery foyer; eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms; two separate living rooms; lounge and dining areas, and so forth. Bathrooms are tiled in marble and porcelain, and floors are mainly of decorative concrete all through.

Cardiff Hall Estates, Runaway Bay, St Ann, is its address, with construction beginning in 2009 and taking two and a half years to complete.

We thank this artistic, independent, and confident lady for reminding us that our homes are true, a mirror of ourselves.

Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and builder. Email feedback to barry-rattray@hotmail.com and lifestyle@gleanerjm.com