Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Dream House | Bringing the great outdoors inside

Published:Sunday | June 30, 2019 | 12:00 AM
The rear of the house with peak roofs soaring towards the clouds.
Is this picture taken outside the house? You may be shocked and surprised at the answer!
An impressive presentation
Living room

As I have said before, this column welcomes architectural design ‘that is not staid, conformist, and downright boring’. We seek to explore the boundaries of creativity, even when they challenge accepted notions of home design.

The discovery of this dream house, my friends, is an encounter with the unknown and the unexpected. It holds a hidden secret, which will shock and surprise you on entering!

Imagine telling your children to go outside and play, when outside is right inside the very house! Yes, you read it right the first time! When you open the front door and step inside, you can scarcely believe your eyes, because instead of seeing floors, ceilings, and furniture, you are greeted with a large, green lawn, palm trees, and blue skies above.

This is at the heart and soul of the design. An open-air garden courtyard (with a water fountain at its centre), smack in the middle of the house – surrounded by covered walkways with their circular pillars of support.

The drama intensifies as we walk through a floor plan that engages us with gentle, floor-level variations from one area to the next. The eight-sided dining room leaves a memorable impression. Its adjacent (ceiling fan-cooled, granite counter) kitchen is equipped with modern cabinetry and top-quality stainless steel appliances. Arched alcove areas open to the living room, with its entertainment verandah at rear. Grand wrap-around steps lead down to an egg-shaped swimming pool, with brick terrace.

The three bedrooms (with their own private, enclosed brick terraces), including the master, with a walk-in closet. Its terrace is defined specially with a water fountain. The master bathroom is fitted with granite counter (exposing a vessel sink), and a glass enclosed, walk-in rain shower. No obstruction to step over. No glass door, no curtain, less mould. A family room is the lonesome dove on the upper level, with a bird’s eye view of the city. The lowest level, on the outside, energises with a gym.

The design composition complete with laundry, enclosed drying yard, separate staff quarters, storeroom, and an automated double garage. A guard house at road entry, offers a protective eye.

The Spanish-style house, has shingle peak roofs that soar towards the clouds. Tray ceilings give definition to well-kept interiors. Some internal walls are whimsically sponge coloured, while exterior ones are textured in white. Terraced landscaping, fuels positive reactions. Remodelling of the building has taken place in recent years. The interior décor shines with a gorgeous juxtaposition of Jamaican and Italian furnishings. Brass is everywhere.

Originally owned by Desmond Mair, of insurance fame, it was sold to Lucille Harris in the late 1970s. She has leased it continuously to others ever since. In the 1990s, it was the diplomatic residence, of the Japanese Charge d’ Affairs to Jamaica, Hiroshi Funakoshi.

This house, under no circumstance, could have been prohibited from inclusion in this Dream House series. Located in Jacks Hill, upper St Andrew, its daring architecture goes beyond the expected, offering a thrilling experience for those who are fortunate to reside within its walls.

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