Puttin’ on the Ritz

One residence that embodies the chic, ultra-contemporary design now being favored on-island, has recently been completed at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

In a complete departure from the traditional style found at the resort, this 6,000-square-foot condominium exudes modern island living.

The owners, who live in New York, loved the service and amenities of the Ritz-Carlton and the Seven Mile Beach location, but wanted a modern design for their vacation home.

“The style is completely at the other end of the design spectrum from the original Ritz-Carlton design,” says Eric Kline of design and construction firm Encompass.

“This was specifically our intention and we embraced the contrast.”

Encompass was contracted by the owner to provide the complete design concept and manage the entire design and construction process including the interior design, decorating and furnishing of the residence.

“The concept was definitely modern, but not the stark minimalist or sterile modern that we so oftentimes find,” says Eric.

“We were more inspired to create a sculptural space where lines curved and connected in a way that seems to move your eyes around the rooms and create a sense of fluid movement. We were inspired by the ocean, the waves and the breeze.”

Curved walls 

The curved walls are one of the most unusual design aspects of the residence, which has two master suites and a guest bedroom as well as a movie theatre for days when occupants might tire of the stunning sea views.

“We had a lot of fun with the curves,” says Eric.

“They are the most difficult and technical type of framing to execute. The framing has to be spaced very close together and the drywall has to be carefully attached with many screws to preserve the integrity of the curve. We used a lot of drywall compound and literally sculpted the walls and ceilings until they were smooth.”

A white and gray neutral palette was chosen for the color scheme, with some walls being accented by textured wallpaper that was painted bright red.

“The curves and the indirect lighting work best on the soft canvas as it allows the shadows and the light to play together, creating interest and depth in the space,” explains Eric.

Despite its contemporary style and finishings, the unit initially featured just the basic utility connections common to all The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, which are luxury residential homes pairing sophisticated style with legendary Ritz-Carlton service.

“Although it was never built, there was plumbing, electrical and mechanical stub-outs that would typically limit the design,” says Eric.

“We basically ignored those restrictions and found creative ways to move everything around to where we wanted it. We literally sculpted the ceilings and the walls around pipes and other obstructions while at the same time incorporating the curves into our design.  

“One of the reasons we embraced the ‘curved’ idea was that it gave us the ability to be creative with how we dealt with certain restrictions. We did not let the existing pipes and obstructions drive our design: we instead embraced them and creatively integrated them into our design without compromising the design integrity.”

Eric has witnessed a move towards contemporary design both in Cayman and internationally.

“Manufacturers are providing many more contemporary or modern options for materials, fixtures and finishes,” he says.

“This opens up this genre to be much more creative. I think that of all the styles, the modern and contemporary give designers the most latitude for creativity.

“My favorite thing about the modern style is that it is constantly evolving and the only rule is that there are no rules.”