“I’ve never seen anything quite like it in Cayman” says Nigel Torrance of the Mastic Cottages he has built in North Side.


And anyone driving the quiet approach road, which also leads to the Mastic Trail, would surely agree.

A first glimpse of the property captures stained glass windows and an ascending tower, which gives the main building its name of Chapel Cottage.

Once through the gates, immaculate landscaping leads to the cottages.


Nigel has been a contractor on island for many years, building custom homes through his company NLT Construction. He used his expertise to build the cottages himself, enlisting local contractors when needed.

“I purchased the land in 2007, and built my own house,” Nigel explains. “I then acquired different parcels over the years.”

Contemporary furnishings and antique windows. Image: HEATHER HOLT

His home still sits at the rear of the property, away from the cottages.

Two years ago, he began building the cottages, which encompass two-bedroom Chapel Cottage, two-bedroom Cana Cottage, and three-bedroom Sunnyhill Cottage, all of which Nigel rents as vacation homes.

Cookie-cutter builds are not in Nigel’s remit, and he has been lucky enough to have some excellent clients in his building career, who are open to interesting and different design choices.

“It’s nice to work with people who listen to ideas,” Nigel says. “I’m not in construction just to keep knocking out one after the other of the same old thing.”

High-end appliances and technology are used throughout the cottages. Image: TANEOS RAMSAY

The Mastic Cottages project was another chance for Nigel to spread his wings and build something different. And that he did, putting his heart and soul into this expansive project, which still manages to retain a cosy feel despite the large land footprint.

In building and designing, Nigel was inspired by memories of travelling as a youth.

“I travelled a lot when I was young, to Europe and Asia,” he says. “In Europe everything is old.”

As such, aspects of the build lend an old feel, such as the exterior stone walls of two of the cottages, with the stone facades coming from the land upon which the cottages are built.


The most obvious nod to yesteryear is the colourful stained glass windows, creating a unique and eye-catching focal point to the cottages.

Above the front door of Chapel Cottage sits a tympanum, bought from the same collector as the windows, and estimated to be of a similar age.

Modern construction and design choices beautifully juxtapose these antique touches, with carefully placed LED lighting used to highlight the windows and interior ceilings, top-notch technology in the properties, contemporary furniture, and sleek kitchens throughout.



“The texture in this glass is amazing,” says Nigel, of the centrepieces of the cottages. “They are Kokomo glass, from the late 1800s, so quite rare nowadays, I believe.”

Antique aspects meet modern luxuries. Image: HEATHER HOLT

Kokomo glass is made at Kokomo Opalescent Glass Co. in Indiana, a company founded in 1888, which has made glass for Louis Comfort Tiffany, J&R Lamb and La Farge. The company’s glass can be seen in architectural sites worldwide, including the Vatican, the Chicago Cultural Center, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana House, Disney World (Florida, California and Tokyo), The White House, Yellowstone National Park, Washington DC Metro, DreamWorks Studios and churches worldwide.

Nigel’s Kokomo glass windows were originally in one of these churches.

“They came from a church in Keokuk, Iowa but a collector had them in Minnesota,” he explains. When the collector passed away a family member offered them to Nigel.

Softly illuminated bedroom. Image: HEATHER HOLT

What followed was a lengthy process to get the glass, as well as the tympanum, safely and intact to Cayman. A container was sent to the collector’s farm and, amazingly, none were broken on the journey back.

Even to the untrained eye, this glass is stunning. While many traditional stained-glass windows are the cathedral type, with one colour per pane, Kokomo glass is of the opalescent variety, weaving numerous colours through one pane, and introducing intricate textures along the way.

The different aspects of this property combine to create an oasis within the dense bush of the Mastic Trail area.

Its construction and the unique result are testament to both Nigel’s talents as a contractor, and his unique vision of an island getaway far from the madding crowd.




This article appears in the Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of InsideOut magazine, now available at magazine stands around the island.