Eco-construction has enjoyed a rise in popularity internationally, as the desire to create less damaging, sustainable communities increases.
More new builds are therefore incorporating energy efficient features and renewable energy sources into their architectural design.
And Cayman is leading the way, with new development Cypress Pointe North being one of the most energy efficient communities in the Caribbean.
The complex in Crystal Harbour proves that eco-friendly design can co-exist with modern, aesthetically pleasing architecture and interior design.
Residences and common areas of the NCB Group development enjoy state-of-the-art, energy efficient features and renewable energy sources. The use of insulated concrete forms (ICF), and spray foam insulation in the construction phase is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the eco-friendly features utilized.
Solar panels provide power, while geothermal technology cools the homes with the added benefit of hot water as a free by-product. Double-glazed windows, energy efficient appliances, LED lights, and cisterns supplying irrigation water further enhance the efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of Cypress Pointe North.
“NCB’s mission is to build residential and commercial projects with Cayman’s future in mind,” explains Matthew Wight, managing director of NCB Group.
“As a country, we need to be more concerned with the impact we have on the environment for the sake of future generations. Given the amount of sunshine the Cayman Islands receives, we need to start integrating renewable energy sources like solar into as many construction projects as possible.”
NCB’s commitment to sustainable construction and green initiatives earned the company the prestigious Regional Investor of the Year Award from the Caribbean Export Agency in 2014.
These eco-features are also of importance to homeowners who recently moved into Cypress Pointe North.
“They all appreciate the attention to detail and the fact that because Cypress Pointe North is a sustainable community, it will continue to thrive long after the developer moves on,” says Matthew.
“The methods of construction and sustainable materials used will ensure minimum maintenance and upkeep so residents can focus on enjoying their homes and neighborhood.”
A young professional lady who owns a one-bedroom condominium in Cypress Pointe North loves both the eco-features and the fact that it is a gated community.
“What attracted me to the property was that it was a gated family community, in a beautiful area, with a feeling of safety, and also because it was eco-friendly and energy efficient,” she explains.
Her home comprises an open-plan kitchen and living area, with light-gray porcelain tiled floors and large patio doors overlooking the canal and the villas of Cypress Pointe North beyond.
Her bedroom and bathroom lie off the main living space, with a pocket door leading from the living room into her bedroom.
Almost every homeowner took advantage of the opportunity to customize the design of their homes, whether with tiles, fixtures or paint colors. This owner customized her condo’s layout at the beginning of the construction period, and was able to make some changes to the bathroom and closet area, which was originally designed as a standard wall closet.
“I decided to change around my closet to enable space for a walk-in closet,” she says.
“I moved the wall back a bit and changed the position of my shower to accommodate the closet. I also added the pocket door in my bedroom so that I would not have to go through my bathroom to get out of my bedroom.”
As for the interior design, she took this on herself, using inspiration from Pinterest and Houzz websites, home magazines and home television show HGTV, with input from family and friends.
“The style I had in mind was a modern flare with neutral colors and a burst of bluish-gray tones,” she says. “However, I still wanted the place to feel like a home and therefore did not go too modern.”
The owner added homely touches with a soft, comfortable sofa, as well as a coffee table she constructed herself from wooden crates, topped with glass she had cut on-island.
Aside from the coffee table, her furniture was purchased from several stores off-island, namely Z Gallerie, Ikea and City Furniture. On-island purchases completed the clean and stylish look, with rugs from A. L. Thompson’s and some accessories from Kirk Home Centre. “It is possible to find things locally that bring a flare to your home,” she says.
The eco-friendly aspects of the development were also of interest to her when she was deciding to buy.
“It’s important in this day and age to be conscious of our planet and attempt to do everything we can to preserve it and create less pollution,” she says.
“It’s a really good feeling to know that where you live is eco-friendly and is contributing less to the overall pollution produced.”
As well as benefiting from the knowledge that she is being more environmentally responsible, the owner is also enjoying the monetary benefits that come with living in an eco-community, especially in her monthly CUC bill.
Three-bedroom condominiums also feature at Cypress Pointe North, and Denis and Lee-Anne Corin occupy one that overlooks the canal.
While renting at another development, Denis and Lee-Anne visited friends in one of the villas and were so impressed by Cypress Pointe North’s construction and high-end finishes that their interest to buy was peaked. Less than a year later they moved in.
“We loved the vision for the community,” says Denis.
“It’s family oriented, with lots of kids of similar ages running around and riding bikes together. The buildings were modern and cool, and built to withstand just about anything Mother Nature could throw at us.”
The couple’s home has a light, neutral color palette for the walls and porcelain tiled floors. The color scheme contrasts beautifully with the dark wood table, chairs and bench of the dining space, and the dark wood stools perched under the kitchen breakfast bar.
The dining room set is complimented by a Restoration Hardware rope filament round chandelier hanging overhead from a recessed tray ceiling, a design feature that is mirrored in the master bedroom.
Overlooking the dining area, the kitchen features modern deep brown cabinets, light countertops and stainless steel appliances, with a gray and white mosaic-effect backsplash. The millwork in the kitchen, and in all Cypress Pointe North homes, was by KW Woodwork.
The couple designed the interior of their home themselves, sourcing furniture and accessories online and in-store when off-island. Restoration Hardware was used as a source for ideas, with its wood, metal and natural color theme used throughout the home.
The master bedroom and dining room furniture was purchased from Macys, while the children were allowed some input in the furniture choices for their rooms, which were purchased from Rooms to Go. LoveSac, a company that offers modular sectionals which can be altered to any configuration, provided the living room set.
In between the master bedroom and its walk-in closet, is an expansive master bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling gray tiling, and a white rectangular bath positioned within the tiled shower area, gives the bathroom a wet room feel. High-end finishes continue throughout, with a rain-effect shower head and river-rock tiles on the floor.
As well as enjoying the beautiful design of their interiors, Denis and Lee-Anne benefit from the green features, especially solar power arrays on their roof, the geo-thermal air conditioning unit, and the resulting hot water by-product.
Behind the Mediterranean-style buildings that house the condominiums, lie the villas of Cypress Pointe North.
Jeremy and Angela Smith own a two-story, four-bedroom villa and were attracted by the development’s environmental ethos, energy efficiency, design, safety and the ease of maintenance, which fits in with their frequent travel itinerary.
The interior of the property was designed by the couple, who wanted a mix of modern, infused with natural and rustic features to complement the environmental aspects of the property.
They utilized experience from designing other properties, as well as inspiration from design magazines and other real estate they had viewed.
“We selected natural woods and leather hide to create a warm, authentic rustic feel juxtaposed with the modern lines and features of the home,” explains Angie.
The resulting dark leather and wood of the furniture and cabinetry, creates a hint of masculinity that contrasts with the light porcelain tiled floor and light walls. Soft touches were introduced throughout with plush rugs and window dressings.
Furniture and accessories were sourced on-island from Absolutely Fabulous, and overseas from Restoration Hardware. The artwork adorning the walls was purchased from Kennedy Gallery in Cayman, and works by Carlo Allion and Peter Lik were bought overseas.
The dining table continues the theme of dark wood and upholstery from the living room, and sits beneath stainless steel, wide industrial pendant lights. Overlooking this space is the open plan kitchen, complete with top-of-the-range appliances from Bon Vivant, and light quartz countertops fitted by Elite Marble & Granite.
The juxtaposition of natural aspects and modern lines is echoed in the natural stone façade of the stairwell walls, set against contemporary metal stair railings and glass orb hanging light fixtures.
The light floors of the house continue upstairs and overflow onto the master bedroom’s private balcony that overlooks the garden, patio and pool area below.
The upstairs master bathroom features double sinks, and a large bath that sits against a tiled wall. Behind this wall, and accessible from both sides of the bath, lies the expansive walk-in shower area.
The family enjoys the additional benefits of reduced energy costs and efficient climate control.
“We are strong supporters for sustainable development and reducing damaging energy emissions,” says Angie.
“And we are advocates for continued efforts to raise the level of environmental sustainability in the Cayman Islands.”