Dream House | A natural water-kissed home
Covering 71% of the earth’s surface, water, since the dawn of civilization, has been fought over and worshipped by mankind … as he realised its essentiality to his very existence and essence.
Water is an aesthetic component in architecture, stimulating your senses through movement, sound and reflection. So many of the worlds, fancy homes pretend, by incorporating man-made, natural looking water features, ie. ponds, fountains, waterfalls etc., to enhance their living spaces. But that’s just what they are … natural looking - not natural!
Not so with this water-kissed house, some 12 miles outside of Montego Bay. There is nothing artificial about its aquatic element, as you come face to face with the phenomenon of billions of cubic meters of the Caribbean Sea, right at your doorstep.
The property on the site of a former fort, is among an extremely private and well guarded constellation of special residences, home to some of the world’s priviledged. Lot prices here go as high as US$1,000,000.00, and that’s just for the lot only. Nearly 20 years ago, only one Jamaican family had a home here … today more have been, let’s say, fortunate to have joined the exclusivity of it all.
Known as 'Karma Bay' and owned by a developer and his attorney wife, it was designed as their family home, expressing a preference for "openness, comfort and happy vibes". The name was chosen in honour of the husband’s grandfather whose home in Kingston was named ‘Karma’.
Let’s unlock the door (after walking through a welcoming colonnade) and immerse ourselves in this sprawling design … resembling a series of bungalows, interlocked by breezeways (open corridors). Most rooms strategically capture the scenic vista and value of the site, with emerald waters and green lawns embracing the multi-shingle roofed structure, in a most enchanting presentation.
Expansive living room and dining, along with the master suite and some of the five other bedrooms (with on-suite bathrooms), open widely through glass doors to leisure and dining verandahs. The main one off the living room is refreshed with a granite counter wet bar.
The master suite enjoys its own attached gazebo, also bathed by sea breeze. It’s out of the ordinary marble bathroom, rinses away all stress with a rain shower. Just walk straight in … no obstructing upstand wall to step over … no restrictive glass door or curtain to harbour unwanted soap scum, just total freedom of movement. But there is more. Within the same bathroom is another unusual rain shower area (beside the formentioned one) – open to the outside … walled in, but with no roof. Completely open to the sky! So pick you choice (indoor or outdoor), for your daily ablutions. Double sinks in solid surface counter also complement with wood cabinetry.
Don’t forget the study (with full bathroom) and the surprisingly two separate powder rooms.
Staff quarters nearby consists of two bedrooms, with their own dining and cooking facilities.
The interior with its traditional flavour, is influenced by Caribbean and Asian styles, with vibrant colours and intricately carved and polished woodwork everywhere – from doors to the furniture etc. Floors throughout are mostly of precious marble.
Outside invigorates with swimming pool and its gazebo. A beachfront promenade is sculptured from rocks. It just does not get any better than this!
The home owners utilised as much local material as possible ie. marble floor tiles, but found it impossible to build without importing the majority of materials.
As we say goodbye, I am reminded by noted neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Alan Hirsch, who researched and found that the smell of sea water creates quiet relaxation. We also know that scientific tests have proven that the sound of waves breaking against the shore, acts as a tranquiliser, I suppose it’s no accident that the majority of holiday destinations worldwide are by water.
Located at the The Tryall Club, the impact of this dream house on us is quite obvious.
- Barry Rattray is a dream designer and builder.