“I’d always wanted to be an architect,” jests David King of his decision to design and build his vacation home, Sandcastle Pointe, which is on Shoal Bay on the island’s northeastern coast. It’s hard enough to handle the logistics of a home being built by a contractor, let alone take on that role yourself. Fortunately, David had priors.
“I owned a big Victorian house in Boston, which I remodelled,” he explains. “I’m pretty handy. I can do electrical, plumbing and carpentry, but I’d never built from the ground up.”
Having just sold another summer home in Nantucket, the Massachusetts native was interested in another similar property. But that’s not what David and his girlfriend, Cindy Herbst, came for during their first 4-day visit to Anguilla – which itself happened by chance. In 2004, left without Christmas plans after failing to plan their usual ski trip to Aspen, Colorado, a friend suggested Anguilla. “Luckily, we were able to come on Christmas day. We stayed at the Anguilla Great House,” David says.
An exploratory drive piqued their curiosity, and they ended up looking at property. It didn’t take long for them to be smitten both by the island as well as the location of a 1-acre plot they found that was up for sale. “We really liked the very friendly people; the fact there was low crime on the island. The restaurants were great and the beaches are beautiful,” David explains.
We really liked the friendly people; the fact there was low crime on the island. The restaurants were great and the beaches are beautiful.”
Whirlwind negotiations ensued, and within a month, what was to be Sandcastle Pointe was theirs. Then began the task of design and construction, which stretched to three years. Though David hired local designer Ian “Sugar George” Edwards to help with the plans, the design was all his own. “I actually built a three-dimensional model for Cindy, because she wasn’t able to visualize the spaces,” he explains. “I used to put tape on the floor to show how big the rooms were going to be.”
They decided to site the house as close to the ocean’s edge as possible, which meant that the sloping topography created additional space below: perfect for a garage, storage, laundry, a gym, and an office. That also freed them to perfect the landscaping, which transformed into a manicured putting green and croquet lawn just inside the gates as well as a waterfall, where the land slopes drastically near the curved staircase that announces entry to the home.
Inside, Cindy chose a palette of bright white walls punctuated with rich hues of blue, echoing the ocean, which is visible from all the major spaces. “We have a lot of art, and a lot of the furnishings we picked out individually,” David points out. “Mainly mid-century, 1960s furniture.”
Four bedrooms, two on each of the upper two floors, flank the airy, open-plan entertaining areas, which comprise a living room, dining area, modern, compact kitchen, and a game room with an imposing billiards table. The gallery-height living room was one of the leading features of the plan. David also went against the popular suggestion of opening the bedrooms out onto the pool deck by putting them off to the side.
“It would be personal space and public space that you’re really mingling,” he contends. “How much time do you spend in a bedroom, anyway? But although the bedrooms are in the back and are private, they all have great views.”
David spent considerable time on the island supervising the project and doing quite a bit of work himself. “I was down probably once a month, and I would stay for a couple of weeks,” he says.
“Although the main structure goes up pretty easily,” David continues, “our biggest challenge was the finishing work. But it was fun. I spent a lot of time doing it, and we’re very happy with the end result.”
Five years later, he’s still pleased, and Sandcastle Pointe is still a labour of love. When David visits Anguilla every few months, spends much of his time working on his home. “I’ll spend two weeks down there and start building up a new area,” he says. “I’m not bored – that’s for sure. We’re pretty happy with everything. We love it, and all our friends and guests love it, too.”