Often, we get caught up with the readily measurable indicators of architecture – square footage, ceiling heights or the number of in-suite bathrooms – and neglect the subtle design choices that differentiate between a nice building and a breath-taking one. But we need only notice the way the light hits a pool of water and reflects into a room, the curvature of a door handle, or the subtle visual texture of a stone wall to recognize that the details complete the design.
The Beach House on Meads Bay exemplifies the power of detail. Completed in 2009, and designed and built by Ian ‘Sugar George’ Edwards and his Sunset Homes team, the sheer size of the 12,000 sq. ft., 8-bedroom home certainly inspires awe, but it is the smaller design elements that make it shine.
At first blush, the Beach House on Mead’s Bay seems very white, though that impression wouldn’t be altogether wrong. Taking its cues from some of the other contemporary homes built at the time, the Beach House is as unabashedly white as a fresh canvas. Sugar George sees a boldness and beauty in the style. “Not everyone wants the traditional Caribbean style,” he explained, “This is what I like. I have done different styles [in the past], but I decided to go ultra-modern on the beach for a different look.”
The artful attention to detail starts at the front door. The grey slate stone walkway leads to the large, 8-foot wooden doors, which offer a pause before revealing what lies beyond – expansive views of the white sandy beach that is Meads Bay. Throughout, the spaces are oriented to make the most of the sea view. Large floor-to-ceiling window and door glass panels unsparingly envelop the view and can slide away entirely to invite the cool sea breezes into the home.
The spaces that do not open to the bay incorporate water features that maintain aquatic continuity throughout the home. One such water feature is the highlight of the interior, a 12’ high waterfall made with split-face travertine.
To underline its decidedly 21st-century character, an extensive home automation system offers convenient control over the entertainment/audio-visual, lighting, climate control, and security systems from anywhere in the house – or the world.
The attention to detail spills over into the kitchen: double ovens, a double microwave, and an island with a large stainless-steel countertop combine to compose a culinary enthusiast’s fantasy. Stainless-steel miniature tiles that form the backsplash behind the engineered stone countertops cleverly add visual texture. Interestingly, Sugar George conceived of the kitchen as a separate space, away from the open-planned living, dining and great rooms.
“The kitchen was designed to be separate from the main living area to fit into the occupants’ lifestyle,” he explained, “By maintaining the separation, the busy functions of the kitchen would not interfere with the relaxed spirit and entertaining mode in the great room.”
Each bathroom has its own character, featuring bespoke finishes and spacious accommodations. “Careful attention was paid to making bathrooms a spa-like social area,” Sugar George pointed out, “the bathrooms are spacious, so a couple could enjoy use at the same time.”
Continuing the celebration of the outdoors, external showers just beyond full-height glass panels bring natural light inside and allow the user to flirt with exhibitionism. The sunken jetted tubs melt unobtrusively into the floor, allowing the space to feel even larger than it already is.
Pale tiles flow seamlessly from the interior to the outdoor living spaces to mimic the expanse of sand that is Meads Bay beach, only steps away. Outside, a full kitchen with BBQ grill, fridge and a handmade, rubbed-concrete countertop complement the pool deck and create an elegant ambiance for outdoor living.
Fittingly, the building recently received a total of five awards at the 2012-2013 International Property Awards ceremony in London, including the most coveted World’s Best International Architecture for a Single Residence, suggesting that it is the smallest details, working in harmony, that contribute the most to that “wow” factor.
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All images copyright Rene Guinto.