This Old House

Kitchen and living area.
Kitchen and living area. Photos by Stephen Clarke.

New home features design
with “old” look.

While many new homes in the Cayman Islands are trending towards modern minimalism, one recently completed residence has deliberately opted for the opposite look.

Hand-carved chair.
Hand-carved chair.

“When we started the project, I told (my husband) Alistair (Walters), I want to build a house that is already 100-years-old,” says owner Julie McLaughlin.

The home is Spanish Colonial Revival style, which she also describes as old-world Latin American.

“It’s Spanish design, crumbling around the edges,” says Julie, who lived in Latin America for three years and loves the architectural influences from that region.

The couple engaged architect Mike Stroh from Trio Architecture to interpret their vision for the house.

Accessory boxes.

“He’s from Colombia and has great respect for the architectural features that belong to that particular style,” says Julie.

To bring the house to life, the couple then incorporated tiles from the Dominican Republic, doors from Mexico, and furnishings from Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

“I love the rustic old-world look, so included antique pieces from France, Italy, Morocco and India,” says Julie. “Alistair and I have traveled extensively and wanted our house to remind us of those experiences.”

Pool room.
Pool room.

These rustic elements have been used as focal design points throughout the house.

Ornate doors to master bedroom.
Ornate doors to master bedroom.

In the kitchen, the design centers around the hood (which was custom-made in Mexico), the backsplash and hand-painted terracotta tiles. The light fixtures are fashioned from hand-forged iron.

In the passageway leading to the kitchen, an ornate doorframe has been turned into a work of art, in which artist Avril Ward has used a faux painting technique, with a specially created orange color, to highlight the piece.

Avril has used the same technique in the powder room, this time with a bold blue shade on the walls. The hue compliments the vanity, which was made on-island from an antique marble table, and a vintage brass vessel sink.

Upstairs the statement pieces continue with huge double doors to the master suite. Originally exterior doors, they were hand-carved in India and purchased from an old warehouse in Texas.

Master bath.
Master bath.

The master bathroom’s focal design is a huge double-slipper pedestal tub, which is hammered from black-finished copper, with a chandelier overhead.

“I wanted to create a space that was truly luxurious,” says Julie. “The chandelier is like jewelry hanging over my tub, which is the perfect complement.”

The tiles behind the tub are hand-painted terracotta and are of the ornamental style common in the metro stations of Paris in the 1930s.

Adjacent to the bathroom is the dressing room, which evokes elements of vintage Vogue, such as the gold gilt mirror, French-feel vanity table and racks of dresses, bags and shoes on display. There is also a yoga bench in the middle of the room.

Dressing room.
Dressing room.

“I love having a space with soft lighting, scented candles, music and a serene ambiance to prepare myself for my day, both inside and out,” says Julie.

Scattered throughout the house, adding texture, color and comfort, is a selection of hand-made oriental carpets from Rugs Oriental.

And for the walls, Julie and Alistair have chosen to display the work of local artists including pieces from Avril Ward, Saba, Dready, John Broad, Guy Harvey, Anshula Singh and Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette.

“What I love most about our home is that the look and feel is unfinished and imperfect,” says Julie. “Every room holds a memory and almost every piece of furniture has a story. It’s as if the house is living our lives with us and will only get better with age.”