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Dream House | A spatial buffer in the ‘wilderness’

Published:Sunday | March 29, 2020 | 12:00 AM
A house that appears to stand in the midst of a wilderness. Where is it?
The upper floor terrace, where the gentle sea breeze is ever constant.
Beachfront gazebo, 50 steps from the salt water pool.
Glass and wood cabinets enhance the kitchen’s appeal.
One of the ensuite bathrooms.

HERE IS an ideal spatial buffer which subjects you to great distances and segregation, greatly minimising the infection risk of this current, dreaded contagion upon us.

It is in an area that appears to be in the midst of a wilderness, away from the sights and sounds of humankind. But, there the building stands, ready to safeguard and entertain you through this health crisis.

The house was erected in 2016 and two years later, it was sold to its current owners from London, Stephen Atherton, QC, and his charming wife, Lucy. Stephen is a lawyer based in London and the Caribbean, and Lucy is a former BBC TV and radio news correspondent, who is a public relations consultant. Their 15-year-old daughter is proud to have as many friends in Jamaica as in England.

Many Jamaicans know not of the existence of this actual geographical area on the island, so the questions begs: how in heaven’s name did this family find this out-of-the way, deserted place?

Well, this is how it happened. The favourable outcome of a charity auction (benefiting the cause of children in Jamaica and around the world) had the Athertons luckily winning a holiday at a nearish guest facility here.

No! They did not relish the thought of coming to this unknown place, as it was not Montego Bay that they had heard so much about. But in the end, they put themselves in the hands of fate, and took that chance of coming.

It would become a life-altering experience! They were left swooning, overcome by the natural beauty of the area. They immediately started looking, found, and purchased this house on the shores, making adjustments to the existing physical layout. Their intention was to retire here when that time came.

The open-plan configuration of the very simple, yet standout modern design is spread over an area of 1,428 square feet (between both floors), on land occupying nearly three-quarters of an acre.

It encloses three air-conditioned double bedrooms, with walk-in wardrobes and en-suite bathrooms.

There is a linen closet, and the upper-floor viewing terrace, complete with its roof covering of fig-wood pieces. The clean-looking wood and glass kitchen with dining area is attractively produced. A lavatory is also downstairs, along with an entrance porch. The sitting room opens its doors into covered outside patios, and a saltwater pool, with its part-trellised sun deck.

From my vantage point within the gentle, wind-swept areas, I see the annex, having sleeping, sitting areas and bathroom.

The interiors indicate blue and turquoise accents on walls and furnishings. The ceilings are of concrete and timber, and the floors are of beautifully stained concrete – no tiles. Large expanses of sliding glass windows and doors invite the magnetic sea and mountain views in.

The exterior shows concrete roof (with solar panels); white paint on walls; large garden (front and back); and a long, open-air sun deck, with a thatched-roofed gazebo, extending 50 steps along a timber walkway from poolside to beachfront.

The sandy beach cove delights and entices you to swim for undisturbed hours. Interestingly, the property is within the second-largest sea turtle nesting area in Jamaica – home to the endangered hawksbill turtle.

Cheers to this secret locale to be found somewhere in the median of Santa Cruz Mountains and Pedro Plains, in a place known as Old Wharf, St Elizabeth.

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