Kool Kai

The interior canvas of a new home in Cayman Kai is a crisp and neutral white, contrasting with the shimmering shades of sea-blues framed by huge windows.

Designed to be open, light and minimalist, inspiration for the indoor spaces came only from the island and the waters around it.

“The whole point of this house is to maximize the views over the North Sound and its glorious vista,” says owner Harry Tee, whose wife Jane undertook the interior decorating.

“The colors are constantly changing from deep-blue through to turquoise.
It’s why we live in Cayman Kai. That, and the fact that it’s the most
beautiful, quiet and peaceful place to be.”

The British couple came
to the island many years ago and, after visiting numerous other
Caribbean destinations, concluded that Cayman was the best.


A decade ago, they decided to buy a property in North Side and now that Harry has retired, the island is their main place of residence.

The couple built their new home as a guest cottage, both situated just steps from Cayman Kai’s powdery white sand.


“But we decided, having spent two weeks in the new house when our sons and their families came down at Christmas, to stay in it permanently simply because it has our own stamp on it,” says Harry.

Designed to fit their own vision – and with local architect John Doak on board to interpret their ideas – they moved in early in 2015.

“We had a very clear image of what we wanted but John interpreted our wishes exactly and added some ideas of his own,” says Harry.

“For example, the original plan did not show an open staircase but we believed it would enhance the room and John agreed and modified the drawings. This led to structural changes which were quite complex but it was done and the result, we think, is terrific.”

The 4,628-square-foot residence is essentially a contemporary beach house, which fits well into the Cayman Kai environment.

“We wanted to build an open-plan, inside/outside living beach house with lots of glass to give the impression of continuity from inside to outside but also with good shade to protect the house from the worst of the sun,” Harry explains.

Although Jane has no formal background in interior decorating, she’s always had an interest in the subject and has designed and furnished a number of homes the couple has owned. These include country houses in England, three London apartments, a Moorish house in Portugal and now a modern house in the same country, where Harry and Jane spend the summer months.

“Jane has her own minimalist style and we both love it,” says Harry. “It’s all her own work from top to bottom.”

With white as the canvas, Jane has accented the house with furnishings and accessories she has sourced locally and overseas as well as items she brought from the couple’s other homes.
“White is a great background to work with,” says Harry. “It is neutral, clean and bright.”

And while neither Harry nor Jane favors any particular designer, they do lean towards Italian styling.

Designed for entertaining friends and family, the downstairs living and kitchen/dining room opens onto the outside seating, dining and sundeck area.

“The doors open up beach-side to form one very large area for cocktail parties but also to maximize the beach-front where we love to walk barefoot,” says Harry.


“But it is also a quiet corner of the island mid-way between Rum Point and Kaibo so if we want music and company, it is nearby.

“What we like most about the house is its openness and the fantastic views of the North Sound. It is easy living but we also have the latest hi-tech sound system and technology which enables us to have our music wherever we want it without disturbing the neighborhood.”

The property also has an unfussy beach garden that reflects the minimalist style of the house and, in pride of place at the entranceway, is a stunning metal water-feature sculpture by the Swiss artist Housi Knecht.

Many of the homes on this stretch of road in Cayman Kai have fun names and Harry has ensured their new beach residence keeps up the tradition.

“The house is known as ‘Kool Kai’ – because we think it is,” he says.

On-island services 

  • Architect:
  • John Doak Architecture
  • Structural Engineers: APEC
  • Construction managers: BCQS
  • Concrete frame, drywall and painting : Fusion Construction
  • Roofing:
  • North Star Roofing
  • Windows and doors: Caribbean Impact Windows and Doors
  • Air Conditioning: Polar Bear
  • Kitchen supplier:
  • Pooley Kitchen
  • Design Studio
  • Wood work
  • and cabinetry:
  • Garrison Industries
  • Glass work:
  • Artistic Glass & Interiors
  • Tiles: Mozaic Creations
  • Audio-visual systems:
  • Audiophile Group
  • Pool:
  • Oasis Pool & Spa
  • Landscaping:
  • East End Garden & Gifts