The sleepy community of South Sound has long been eclipsed by the glamour of Seven Mile Beach. But the emergence of The SeaView Residences has signaled a new era of luxury living in South Sound.
Located on South Church Street, the high-end complex is defined by its contemporary design and breathtaking surrounds. Entering the lush, tranquil courtyard, the activity of the island seems to melt away. The sparkling azure waters of the Caribbean Sea stretch to the horizon, complemented by vibrant shades of emerald and jade in the tropical landscaping. With only 18 apartments, SeaView feels like a sanctuary, a residence where luxury and privacy go hand-in-hand. And with every dwelling offering sweeping views of George Town Harbour and Seven Mile Beach, the complex is true to its name.
“The apartments are very unique in the way they are laid out,” explains interior designer Lydia Geerlings, of Designworks Ltd, referring to the staggered, horseshoe arrangement of the apartments around the central courtyard. “This gives each apartment a surprising and welcome amount of privacy, especially in the outdoor areas.”
SeaView was the brainchild of James Lagan, director of Bronte Development Ltd, who identified a need for a contemporary yet luxurious residence in the local property market. “I was trying to find a place to live when I moved to Cayman, but just couldn’t find what I wanted,” explains the Australian-born developer.
“There was nothing like what you might find in the UK or Australia.”
Enlisting architects Eduardo Bernal and Derek Serpell, and construction company Arch and Godfrey, James created a residence he was happy to call home on the site of the old Seaview Hotel in South Sound.
“We chose South Sound because Seven Mile Beach has become so cost prohibitive,” James says. “And the fact that the land was so deep meant it could lend itself to something really different.”
Lydia later joined the project and explains that the team shared a similar vision when it came to the aesthetics and footprint of SeaView. Their collective aim was to create warm, contemporary residences that complement the stunning surrounds, while redefining the concept of luxury, waterfront living.
“It was a truly creative collaboration, and as an interior designer it was exciting to work with a team who were open to new ideas and who thoroughly understood how spaces within a home communicate with one another,” says Lydia.
“I was greatly inspired by the architecture so followed suit by keeping the interior palette minimal and refined, working within the existing footprint to create a contemporary look [for the apartments] that was uncluttered and fluid.” Architect Eduardo Bernal says SeaView’s focus on design was instrumental to its success.
“With SeaView, we were selling during one of the most crushing economic crises and we still sold out,” he says. “I think that’s because people appreciated the design, not the price.”
This design, complete with streamlined modern kitchens, substantial living areas and a largely neutral palette, was then tailored to suit each owner’s taste and style. Lydia, while working at IDG, designed custom kitchens for each apartment including appliances from high-end German brand Miele. Superior fittings were used throughout the complex, with an acute attention to detail evident in such small elements as the vertical placement of the power points. Lydia attributes much of this quality to Dan Scott, who project managed the interiors.
“Dan [formerly of Arch and Godfrey, now owner of i3] is the reason the interiors look as good as they do,” she enthuses. “His attention to detail is second to none.”
“We wanted the interiors to reflect the exteriors,” James explains.
“We wanted them to be aesthetically clean with contemporary and well thought out features, such as walk-in showers and individually designed kitchens and bathrooms that focused on function as well as design.”
The adaptability of SeaView is evident in a ground-floor apartment, which Lydia has transformed into a masculine space that takes its cue from the outdoors. “We didn’t want to detract from the view,” Lydia says. “We chose pieces that harmonised with the environment using natural textures, and colors from the landscape – browns, blues and muted greens.”
The open-plan living space can only be described as expansive. Floor to ceiling glass windows and minimal furnishings enhance the bright, spacious feeling of the area. The master bedroom is devoted to simplistic comfort with luxury linens on a custom bed; a vibrant painting of Buddha captures the eye, providing a striking contrast to the neutral shades of the interior. The adjoining bathroom is simple, yet elegant, with sleek cabinetry and a large open shower. By using few accessories, in both the bedrooms and living area, the fresh aesthetic of the apartment has been retained.
“The general idea with the apartment was to marry the design with the architecture, peaceful, minimalistic, no-fuss. We used light colours on the walls to enhance the feeling of space, and grounded the overall scheme with darker pieces of furniture that mimicked the angular lines of the apartment,” Lydia says.
“Comfort was high on the list of priorities, so much so that the owner didn’t want to compromise comfort for aesthetics. Luckily I work with some great vendors, in this case Italian company Jesse, so there was no need for compromise.”
A custom desk, created out of Monkeypod wood by Clayton Oxford, adds an interesting texture to the apartment and serves as the centrepiece for the home office, which faces the living room window. With spectacular views that stretch beyond the infinity pool, it is an idyllic place to work from home.
A large entertainment unit takes centre stage in the living room, providing ample storage for the owner’s DVD and book collections. The unit, custom designed by Lydia, was made on island by Mario & Son. In the adjacent hallway a floor-standing mirror has been installed asymmetrically, cleverly hiding the apartment’s service panels, and is balanced visually with a console by Clayton Oxford. Jute area rugs add depth and texture to the apartment, with the chunky, heavy weave providing the perfect juxtaposition for the concrete and steel coffee table, from New York designer Eric Slayton.
The owner’s love of Eastern spiritualism is evident in the Buddha sculptures found throughout the living areas. Striking images by Hawaiian surf photographer Clark Little line the hallway, capturing the owner’s passion for surfing and the ocean, as does a huge painting in the living room of the owner’s home town beach.
In addition to its stunning location and unparalleled focus on design, James believes what truly sets SeaView apart is its livability.
“The apartments are so quiet you can’t hear a thing,” he says, gesturing to the outdoor area where the only sound is the gentle lapping of the ocean on the ironshore.
“We know we got it right when the owners tell me is ‘It’s just so easy to live here’.”
With a final glance at the brilliant blues of the Caribbean Sea, it’s not hard to see why.