CARIBBEAN TREASURE - Cayman Islands' Great House by Kaya Morgan
The Cayman Islands are three small coral islands situated some 480 miles directly south of Miami, west of Jamaica and between Cuba and Central America, in the western Caribbean Sea. Grand Cayman Island, largest of the three, is best known as a divers paradise and a haven for the off-shore banking industry. Most of the 28,000 Cayman population live in George Town, the unpretentious capital, where by His Excellency Michael Gore, governor of the British West Indies, presides over the islands from Glass House, the official government administration building.
Discovered by Columbus in 1503, The Caymans were first colonized by British settlers deserters from Oliver Cromwells army, legends say. Despite a rowdy history of smugglers, sunken treasures and pirates, the islands are quite peaceful and civilized today. The Treaty of Madrid in 1670 made The Cayman Islands a British possession and an unusual agreement with Englands King George III granted islanders exemption from taxation and wartime conscription.
While there are many scenic spots on the island, with royal palms and orchids growing wild, visitors and locals agree that the most beautiful real estate on Grand Cayman is the stretch of coastline known as "Seven Mile Beach." Great House, one of the islands most elegant buildings, is a prime example of the luxury low-rise condominiums that characterize this area. Local law prohibits construction of any buildings "higher than a coconut tree." With twenty-six exclusive residences facing the pristine sugar-sand beach, the Great House offers owners cool sea breezes and expansive views of beautiful West Bay and the sparkling Caribbean beyond.
California interior designer Kathleen Buoymaster was commissioned by the owner of a 3,000-square-foot corner residence in Great House to completely renovate the interiors of their three bedroom, three and one-half bath penthouse. Her mission was to create a tasteful and comfortable retreat suitable for vacation living and entertaining for the owner, a biotech entrepreneur from La Jolla, California and his family.
Because of its location on beautiful Seven Mile Beach," says Buoymaster, "it seemed only appropriate to do an English Colonial Brighton-style interior with, of course, a bit of island whimsey." To help establish a sense of English heritage, Buoymaster specified the architectural detailing, including classic mouldings and door-frames, extensive wainscoting, and stately pilasters and pillars. Additional Colonial design is found in the European furnishings, "but we wanted to keep the styling light," she adds, "to be a good marriage of the architecture of the Great House and the environment of Grand Cayman Island."
The color palette is classic reds, blues, yellows, greens, oranges, purples with black and white integrated throughout the project. Buoymaster's choice of fabrics for upholstery and draperies creates interiors that are as colorful as the Caribbean culture and the lush colors of the tropics. She used Manuel Canovas fabrics almost exclusively in this renovation project. "He is one of the most famous international fabric designer of our day Buoymaster explains, "and the first fabric designer ever to have a showing at the Louvre museum in Paris."
The tasteful elegance of this Great House residence begins at the entry door, which is flanked by sidelights with miniature white shutters and capped with an arched Palladian window. Inside, classic architectural features include white dentel mouldings, a white ceiling with a domed recess, and white pilasters. The walls and alcoves are covered with a subtle, broad-striped pattern from SJW Studios.
Furnishings include a serpentine mahogany chest from Baker Furniture, island chairs covered in Manuel Canovas Pali fabric, a baroque gilded mirror from Italian Imports, and gold-framed Joan Louden antique botanical prints Buoymaster purchased in London. The former gray marble flooring in the entry hallway and kitchen was "jack-hammered out" at the request of the owner, who "felt it was too cold," according to Buoymaster, who then replaced it with gleaming planked Kahrs hardwood.
In the foyer, it is accented by a custom wool carpet runner in a blue Trellis pattern with a glorious tulip border, designed by Buoymaster and fabricated by Eaten Designs. Above it all hangs an imported Italian chandelier. In the hallway alcove, a Lady Albemarle love seat from Wood & Hogan upholstered in solid green Lafayette Veronese fabric with colorful pillows in contrasting floral pastels from Manuel Canovas is centered between white- painted pilasters and under a lighted dome. On the wall above the settee hangs a large painting, "Mykonos Memories," by California artist Patricia George.
The entry steps down to the less formal Grand Salon, with separate areas; living room, formal dining room, game and entertainment area, and office defined by furniture arrangements and ceiling treatments. Below a coffered ceiling with indirect lighting and white-painted mouldings is a colorful living room set, including a red-and-white striped sofa from Baker Furniture and three English lounge chairs from Martin/Brattrud upholstered in the same Canovas "Delft" fabric a gorgeous array of tulips used in the salon's draperies over white Schumacher "Aquilla" sheers. Further defining this area is a custom wool needlepoint rug from Aga john over the "sisal- look" Karstan wool carpeting that is seen throughout most of the home.
The dining room's classical architectural detailing included sparkling drop crystals of the imported Italian chandelier, a mahogany dining table with satinwood inlay, which Buoymaster purchased at an estate sale, surrounded by classic mahogany Chippendale chairs from Archer & Smith Ltd., London. Adjacent to the table, through a white-painted portiere, is an elegant semi-circular buffet of mahogany with yew wood inlaid details from Baker Furniture. On the buffet is a 19th century antique silver service with a shell design, also from an estate sale, and a pair of custom Chinese lamps made from "Ming" statues, with Tom Byrne tortoise shades and bases by Gary Bloom.
The master bedroom suite, which opens through French doors onto a private porch, features Bruschwig & Fils wallcoverings in a pastel blue pattern, Manuel Canovas "Bienaimee" draperies and a romantic mahogany four-poster canopy bed from Baker Fumiture that is draped with Schumacher "Venus Stripe" sheers. The custom bedspread, shams, and pillows all of Manuel Canovas fabrics custom designed by Buoymaster, as was the ottoman, which is upholstered in "Blue and White Stripe" fabric by Hines and fabricated by Wally Evans. The chairs flanking the ottoman, from Baker Furniture, are upholstered in a blue floral fabric by Quadrille. At the foot of the bed, and over the room's Karistan "Zanzibar" wool carpeting, is a floral pattern needlepoint rug from Kathleen Buoymaster Boutique in La Jolla, California, and a Carlton House desk from Archer & Smith, London. The Regency-style desk chair is from Trouvailles while the antique shell prints above the desk are from the Ben Wollman Collection.
The master bathroom, done in gray and white imported marble and dramatic white columns, has a sunken spa tub, separate walk-in shower, a double vanity with marble countertop and Jado hardware, and private water closet and bidet areas.
In addition to the master suite, there are two light and airy guest bedrooms, each with its own luxurious private bath, decorated with Manuel Canovas sheets, towels, and accessories from Paris, available exclusively in the United States at the Kathleen Buoymaster Boutique in La Jolla, California. Elements of classic colonial elegance and vivid colors from the tropical Cayman environment make this island home at Great House a rare Caribbean treasure.
For more information contact them directly at 858.456.2850.
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With respect to the articles and their subject matter, it is based on information provided through research and/or by the interviewed parties and is not based on any original ideas or opinions of the author.
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