At the entrance to Michael Joseph and Sandra Gómez-Parra’s
home, a Spanish-inspired sign welcomes visitors to Casa San Miguel.
translation is House of Saint Michael, but the couple prefers to think of it as
the House of Sandra and Michael. It is the first indication that the house you
are about to enter could just as easily be found in the countryside of Spain as
on the canals of North Sound.
“My Spanish background influences everything,” explains
Sandra, who hails from Barcelona.
“It influences everything in the house,” Michael agrees
with a laugh. “Our dog’s name is Pablo El Guapo Joseph Gómez Escobar!”
Indeed, the cheerful interiors of the two-storey duplex
capture the romance of Spain, with an emphasis on outdoor living and a simple
design ethos. Yet, while the house is an insight into Sandra’s love of her
homeland, it is also reveals the couple’s others passions – for family, for
friends and for travel.
Michael and Sandra bought the duplex, located in Prospect
Point, as a pre-construction project, a decision that enabled the couple to
have a level of control over the finishes. The process hit a snag, however,
when Michael saw the original floor plans, which did not suit their needs in a
“We were lucky to be involved in the project early enough
to have an influence on the floor plans,” says Michael, a sales associate at
Re/Max Cayman Islands.
“My father, Arek Joseph, who has been an architect on
island for 40 years, used his experience to bring a perfect blend of function
to the space. As a result, the developer was impressed and it became the standard
floor plan for the development.”
These changes transformed the house into a bright and
welcoming space that Sandra and Michael love to call home.
The first floor features an open-plan kitchen and dining
room, with breathtaking views of the canal. The space truly captures the notion
that the kitchen is the heart of the home, with a charming, rustic-inspired
décor that puts visitors at ease. The look recalls the warmth of a
“I wanted an old-style kitchen,” Sandra says. “I didn’t want
it to be very modern.”
Also on the first floor, a relaxed living room adjoins a
quiet study, where Sandra and Michael can focus on their respective work.
French doors lead to the spacious, sun-dappled patio.
The second floor is home to three bedrooms, including a
master bedroom and a guest bedroom, each opening to the balcony overlooking the
The master bedroom is not large, by such standards, yet it
is an oasis for the busy couple, with an oversized bed and hanging pendant
lamps suspended from the ceiling. Behind the bed, a feature wall covered in
golden-hue wallpaper adds an explosion of colour and warmth to the space.
“The master bedroom is small because we wanted a big
walk-in closet and en suite,” Sandra says.
“I was worried about the lack of
space, but we solved that problem by having the hanging pendants and not having
From first glance at the guest bedroom, it is clear Sandra
and Michael love to spoil their guests. The room is a delight for visitors,
with a soothing colour scheme of white and mint green. It is a simple, yet
elegant space that makes you wish all guest bedrooms could be like this.
“The guest bedroom is my favourite room in the house,”
Sandra says with a smile. “It has such a feeling of calm.”
When it came to the aesthetics of the home, Sandra and
Michael shared the responsibility for the design. Well, almost.
“Sandra has total control of the inside, I had total
control of the outside,” says Michael with a laugh, adding, “with a lot of
input from Sandra.”
For Sandra, creating the home of her dreams meant
capturing the simplicity and style of her native Spain. She relied on an
all-white palette, a decision that seems bold, but works beautifully as a
canvas for the couple’s collection of artwork and ornaments.
While the house
was being built, Sandra worked for International Design Group. The designers at
the firm were instrumental in helping Michael and Sandra bring their vision to
Our style is eclectic,” Sandra says. “I wanted a lot of
different looks. As time goes by, we keep collecting things.”
This eclecticism is reflected throughout the home, from
the copper chandelier in the dining room to the recycled-iron pelican that
perches on the staircase. Every piece has sentimental value, whether a set of
Guatemalan knitting needles, a collection of shipwreck coins from Michael’s
childhood in Cayman, or the collage of family photographs.
“We always pick things when we travel,” Sandra explains.
“If I need a sugar bowl, I won’t go to a store and buy one, I will wait until
we go somewhere and find one then. I found this sugar bowl in Mexico,” she
gestures to a colourful ceramic bowl next to the coffee maker.
“I have a collection of things that I call my treasures,”
“One of my favourite pieces is the sign from the Almond Tree
Restaurant, which was destroyed during Hurricane Ivan. My father was a co-owner
of the restaurant, which was open from 1973 to 2004, and when he sold the land
after Ivan, I was the realtor who made the sale, so he gave the sign to me as a
The couple’s other treasures include carved masks from
Haiti, Mexico, Africa and Alaska; rice paper etchings from Thailand; and
artwork from around the world, including Cuba, Jamaica, Spain, Costa Rica, and,
of course, Cayman.
Michael was initially hesitant about the extensive use of
white in the home, but now loves the finished result. It is an example, he
says, of Sandra’s flawless design instinct.
“I wanted white walls, a white house, white everything,”
Sandra says. “It is very simple and fresh.”
This feeling of utter joy continues outdoors, where the
couple love to relax and host barbecues on their canal-front patio. It is the
perfect area for entertaining, with a swimming pool and blossoming garden
overlooking the water.
Both indoors and out, Sandra and Michael’s home bursts
with colour and life, in much the same way as the couple themselves. This ode to Spain, in the heart of Cayman, is
an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of island life.
“For the first few months after we moved in, we
both had suntans, because we were spending so much time outdoors,” Michael
says. “It felt like we were on holidays. Actually, it still does.”