Building and fixing up houses is a lifestyle choice for Cheryl and Chris
Kellett who moved into their fourteenth home a few months ago.
And, in fact, the Canadian couple has moved 20 times in Cayman alone, including rental properties where they lived in between building their own residences.
The pair, who wed over 30 years ago, have spent their married life designing and building houses then selling up and repeating the process almost immediately.
“We have built five houses in Canada and five in Cayman,” says Cheryl. “We have also done five extreme renovations to our own properties over the years.
“What appeals to us about this lifestyle is definitely our passion for creating something new, unique, nice… accumulating our ideas and watching them go from concept to sketches to a full set of plans and, finally, to a finished product that we can be proud of. It’s a very exhilarating and rewarding process.
“We have all kinds of ideas so, by the time we complete a project, we are already thinking about the next one.”
The Kelletts – who run their own construction company – have also undertaken 31 new-builds and numerous renovations for clients.
In this dynamic husband-and-wife team, Chris overseas construction while Cheryl is behind most of the design concepts.
“We actually work very well together,” says Cheryl. “When we are in the middle of a project we talk about it all the time, coming up with ideas and how we are going to accomplish the design idea in terms of materials, methods, etc.
“It’s quite amazing sometimes; if I come up with an idea and start explaining it to Chris, he can picture immediately what I’m suggesting and we work from there to incorporate it into the project.”
Their latest residence is in Snug Harbour with a design best described as modern which, by definition, encompasses an open concept floor plan and clean lines.
“Chris and I both like modern design style which to me means simple, functional spaces without clutter,” explains Cheryl. “We design our homes around the way we live.”
The house feels spacious and airy with large windows letting lots of light into the open-plan living areas of the ground floor, and a solid maple open staircase that wends its way to the two bedrooms on the upper floor.
The master suite, featuring a giant Prince Platform Bed by Modloft, is downstairs adjacent to the main seating area, with doors leading straight onto the pool deck.
It’s the master bath, however, which has the greatest wow factor, with a sliding door that turns the room into an inside-outside oasis.
A free-standing bath features a Kohler laminar ceiling-mounted tub filler that creates a pure column of water by manipulating the molecules to provide a clear, glass-like cascade that’s splash-free.
Additionally, there is a rain shower by the bath, while glass doors slide back to access another shower in a screened-in outdoor area that features tropical foliage.
“The vision for the master bathroom was to create an open, airy, spa-like environment /serene retreat,” explains Cheryl. “We wanted to eliminate unnecessary physical barriers and mesh the indoors with the outdoors, so the bathroom itself is designed as a wet-room. By pocketing the sliding glass doors into the wall of the bathroom we were able to remove the barrier and blur the lines between the inside and outside.”
The laundry room, an upstairs office and guest bedroom are at the opposite side of the house, while the kitchen is centrally located. The cabinets in the kitchen are solid maple with shaker doors and flat drawer fronts, with a unique stain to complement the neutral gray background palette in the house.
“The kitchen is very functional and spacious and easy to work in,” says Cheryl.
“I really like the large island because it has loads of storage – it’s a great work space, has seating for four plus the essential wine fridge.”
Photographs taken by Cheryl add personal touches to the couple’s home, including shots taken in The Azores, Portugal and Spain during a transatlantic cruise.
Cheryl also has a fondness for elephants, with two photos she took of these animal giants in a Barcelona zoo, as well as a number of elephant carvings and figurines scattered around the house.
Cheryl’s favorite room is the screened-in porch where she and Chris spend the majority of their waking hours and which features another of her artistic creations: a mosaic tile-top table.
“I love being outdoors, the porch is nicely shaded, has a great breeze, has a TV, fridge, sink, BBQ, comfortable seating and looks out over the pool and backyard which is very quiet and private, so it’s a great place to relax and just chill,” she says.
And, if they want to cool off in the water, it is just steps to the pool which has a “sun shelf” with umbrella, built-in planters and a bench running the width of the shallow end.
As well as being a modern design, the house also includes a number of up-to-the-minute technologies to make it energy efficient. This includes LED lighting, tankless water heaters, a variable speed pool pump, a three-zone variable speed inverter IQ air conditioning system, ICF construction and Icynene spray foam insulation to reduce power consumption.
The exterior of the house also features landscape design by Chris and Cheryl who planted the flowers, hedges and trees.
You might think the couple would be ready to settle down in such a sublime residence in Snug Harbour, but they have no plans to live anywhere permanently for the foreseeable future.
“We’ve talked about it and have even sworn we’d stay in a particular house for at least two to three years but once we move in and are settled we forget about the negative aspects of this lifestyle (the boxing up and moving of all our stuff),” says Cheryl.
“Eventually, I suppose, we will have to settle in a house because we will just get too old to keep up the pace.”