“The clients love modern design and wanted to create a home that was architecturally unique to Cayman.”
Amongst Cayman’s crop of well-heeled property developers and interior designers, there seems to be a baseline standard of beautiful, contemporary homes. Tour luxury homes from district-to-district and you will likely feel hard-pressed to find one that you did not think was, at the very least, grand.
Such was my thinking when I toured a “modern” new home in South Sound that I was told was unlike anything in Cayman. Modern, well, that could mean anything, but it takes a certain level of intention and execution to be “modern” enough to make news.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Christina Hefner is an interior designer at Bronte Property Group, a boutique property development firm in Grand Cayman. She worked on the design team for Seascape, a 9,500-square-foot home on the ocean in South Sound.
“The clients love modern design and wanted to create a home that was architecturally unique to Cayman,” says Christina, recipient of a 2015 Governor’s Award for Design and Construction Excellence in the Cayman Islands.
“A lot of front-end design work was put into the conceptualizing of unique architectural elements for the project and ensuring the finished product was very strong visually.”
“Unique architectural elements” is an understatement when you are standing in front of Seascape. The main building’s shape is a conversation starter in itself, with a simple square shape coated in a soft, rendered white. The house stands apart from its neighbors not only because of its generous proportions, grand drive and sophisticated slickness, but also because it feels surprisingly like it belongs there.
“We created balance to the exterior with the mix of materials and textures and also a beautiful use of landscaping,” says Christina, highlighting the building’s harmony against the Cayman coastal landscape. “Simple details, like the use of herringbone pattern on the driveway, gave the home a subtle, but warmer entry.”
Even with strong exterior design elements like a slate-gray ledgestone tiled feature wall creating a bold facade, Seascape manages to be both visually striking and softly inviting.
Suffice it to say, Seascape more than defied my expectation of being just another modern, luxury home. Two years in the making and on special commission by a private owner, the house is simultaneously ultra-modern and classically executed.
“The architecture style is very modern, with hard lines and strong attention paid to creating different depths to the spaces which creates a very visually and aesthetically pleasing building,” Christina explains. “We minimized our color palette to very clean whites, blacks, and grays, which keeps your focus drawn to the architectural details, and the beauty of the simplicity of those elements.”
The restraint in the design’s base color palette created breadth for Christina’s imagination, as she started to build an interior design concept for the home’s eventual owners.
For an exercise in modern minimalism, Seascape is decidedly lacking in beige, predictable interior décor. What it delivers in spades is full-on glamour and an elegantly simple, function-driven design.
From the “infinity kitchen” which opens onto both an oceanfront dining room and vanishing edge pool to the expanses of hidden pantry and shelving wrapped in glittering high-gloss white paint, the home’s flow and ease is undeniable.
The biggest departure from Seascape’s understated elegance is the home’s furnishings. The pieces were sourced through a distributor in New York City and were meant to introduce an element of art into the highly-functional and multi-purpose space.
“Many of the feature furniture items within the home are conversation pieces in that they are mechanized, or they rotate, or they move and change shapes,” she says, referencing pieces such as a dining room table custom-cut in glass, which can be expanded or collapsed in size by the touch of a button.
Artwork plays a large role in the Seascape design and thus bold colors such as turquoise, apple green and deep red create rhythm from room to room. Even as new motifs are introduced via color and pattern, there is a feeling of synergy throughout the entire house.
As modern as it may be, Seascape is much more about luxury and function than it is about its interior design.
“If you take away the furniture and artwork from the space and think about the bones of the interior, interior and exterior have a perfect harmony with the balance of minimalism, luxury, and strong features,” Christina says.
“The idea behind the interiors was to provide the clients, and any potential homeowner with these beautiful bones, and simplistic style, so that whatever furniture and décor style they used to fill the space, those pieces would ‘pop’ and become a feature,” she says