The Goat Islands may sound familiar, but KÚYA writer Mirah Lim Todd explains the importance of the entire Portland Bight Protected Area
Stretching over the parishes of Clarendon and St. Catherine and extending outward into the waters off the island’s South Coast, the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) is a unique and significant part of Jamaica’s natural environment. It is Jamaica’s largest and most protected area, safeguarded under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act in 1999 and three more local laws. It is also recognized by five international agencies for its biodiversity. The area is filled with distinctive scenery as well as plants and animals not found anywhere else in Jamaica, and in some cases not in the Caribbean or, even more impressively, not in the world.
Almost everywhere in the PBPA, there is something special to see. Lining dark emerald rivers or venturing into the rust coloured marshes or the brackish shoreline, there are dense mangrove forests; their gnarled roots gracefully dipping into the water. These trees make up two-thirds of all of Jamaica’s remaining mangrove forests and provide the vital service of cleaning the water of pollutants and removing carbon dioxide from the air. In 2006, these majestic mangroves and their surrounding lands were declared Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The turquoise waters of the PBPA hold healthy coral reefs and sea grass beds, which provide nurseries for fish and other marine life. Accordingly, the Government of Jamaica established three fish sanctuaries at Galleon Harbour, Salt Harbour and Three Bays. Also speckled within the PBPA waters are a collection of small cays, many with white sand beaches like Pigeon Island and Big Pelican Cay. Often described as the best cruising spot in Jamaica, these cays are perfect for snorkelling and as well as other recreational and potential eco- tourism related activities. Just off the coast, near Old Harbour Bay, are the largest of these cays, the two Goat Islands. The islands are connected by a network of mangroves and together they cover 900 acres. Towering over Little Goat Island, the dry limestone forest of Great Goat Island climbs 100 meters above sea level. In addition to their natural resources, the Goat Islands are also home to Taino artifacts as well as remnants of a World War II US naval base, located on Little Goat Island.
Perched on a quiet bay just outside Whitehouse in Westmoreland is “Rivendell”, the country home of a Kingston-based family, which is simply delightful. “We wanted a very open house,” said the owner of the family’s vision for the villa. “Every room had to have a view of the sea and it had to be lowmaintenancewithnofuss.”Indeedthefivebedrooms,multipleseatingand dining areas, large verandahs, private beach cove and lush gardens all spread out over three acres, suggest a relaxed barefoot elegance with spaces large enough to find peace and quiet from the crowd, but also intimate enough for meaningful connections to be made.
The design team of architect Allan Foster, interior designers Tammy Tavares- Finson (Orange Blossom) and Kathryn May (Artsmiths Interiors) as well as South Carolina-based landscape designer Charlie Rulick, set out to translate the owners’ needs and wishes into reality all within the tight timeline of only seven months.“The pace was the greatest challenge,”said May, who added that the owners basically moved in to oversee the construction. Such involvement by owners could lead to conflict in a design team but it was quite the opposite for this job, claim May and Tavares-Finson. In fact, Tavares-Finson said, “It was such a joy to work with clients who were willing to go that far and take on these big projects,”and May added,“The clients were great and so enthusiastic about doing it right and not cutting corners.”
This attention to detail and high quality finishes is evident both in and outside the villa. And even though there is a wide mix of materials—polished concrete, driftwood, ceramic, stainless steel, cut stone, sea glass, pebbles, bamboo and even molded acrylic and turf to name a few—there is only harmony here at Rivendell emphasised in the soothing coastal palette of turquoise, teal, ivory, taupe and hints of coral. The entrance itself sets the stage by bringing the outside in: giant boulders sliced in half provide the stepping stones into the courtyard of native plants, which is lit up at night by candles jutting out of the cut stone wall. Leading into the villa, oversized (and hurricane rated) glass doors fold back to reveal stunning sea views that can be enjoyed in either the plush sitting areas or around the large dining table made from a fallen cedar that seats 18. Step out onto the spacious verandah and bar for more seating
In a world where convenience rules, why leave the comfort of your house, when you can bring home the luxury? That was exactly the thought of these home and villa owners, whose appreciation for lux living led them to enhance their residences with spaces that suit their fancy, as well as add property value. Allow KúYA to guide you.
Man Cave | Barbican, Kingston
It is a 1,200 square foot space, where the worlds of sport and music converge. And LIME Chairman, Chris Dehring’s man cave—also known as ‘CD’s Bunker’—holds too, a lifetime of memories. It is elegantly filled with memorabilia, paraphernalia and stories dedicated to the sporting personalities and people that shaped his life, and provides for Dehring a retreat from the world. “It’s my sanctuary…where I can lock out the rest of the world, from time to time,” he shares, “and surround myself with things that inspire me and make me happy. The space includes the television room, a bar and an external Cuban-themed patio and bathroom, complete with its own television,“so I don’t miss an important goal or wicket,”Dehring explains.
While the sanctuary may “lock out” the world, this does not include the world of sports. That world has unlimited access to CD’s Bunker. In fact, the space plays homage to sport. “Playing sports really helped to shape my personality and outlook on life, and my bunker is dedicated to some of my sporting heroes and icons who inspired me,” says Dehring. This includes large black and white autographed photographs from renowned cricketers such as Michael Holding, Garry Sobers, and Lawrence Rowe, as well as the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, whom Dehring was privileged to meet a few years ago. “Footie scarves” as well as various used tickets collected from attending Arsenal matches in England, and all the FIFA football world cups since 1990, also contribute to the sporting mementos.
His photos have appeared in Esquire and the former Newsweek, Condé Nast Traveler and Departures. His blog is studded with pictures of visits to Ibiza and Southampton, but Wyatt Gallery, an actual human being and not a place where art is shown, is these days focused on something with a distinctly lower- key flavor: a quiet, haunting series of images documenting the Jewish experience in the Caribbean, from tiny, sand-floored synagogues in St. Thomas, USVI, to perfectly-preserved 18th century gravestones in a shaded jungle far upriver in Suriname.
Wyatt Gallery considers the West Indies his second home. The fascination with the region began on a trip with friends to Costa Rica in 1996, while a student at New York University (NYU). Trading a job as a photo editor at Entertainment Weekly for some time on the beach, Gallery found himself on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica where he was amazed by the Jamaican influence, one that he had come to know from living in New York. After living on the beach for two months with a group of hybrid Jamaican-Costa Ricans surfers, Gallery took his first photos of religious sites.
An eye for detail comes easier to some than to others, but for Kevin Bryan, this seems to be a gift he’s been blessed with. those who have been lucky enough to work with this Montego Bay based designer say that his talent seems effortless. this native ‘Kingstonian’, is head of KdB designs and has carved out a niche for himself within the marketplace, successfully integrating himself into the tapestry of Jamaica’s design rolodex.
in 1983, Kevin started to chase his design dreams by enrolling at the College of Arts, science and technology (CAst), now the university of technology. Kevin continued on to the new york institute of technology, where in 1987, he completed his Bachelor’s of science in Architectural technology. His first taste of corporate design came in the form of a three-year position working with one of his role models, architect and now proprietor of the Kingston restaurant red Bones, evan Williams, at design Collaborative.
the next chapter in Bryan’s design history, was a successful two year engagement with another one of Jamaica’s highly acclaimed architects, Clifton yap in 1993, honing his craft while learning about proportion, function and flow of spaces. A lengthy stint with Plexus Architects in 1995 followed before Kevin got the itch to start his own firm. His goal since then has been to build his own independent design firm primarily focused on the residential side of the market.
Bryan’s commercial experience started in 2005, after Hurricane ivan, when he was approached by the executive management team of Margaritaville to assist with the reconstruction of the restaurant and the creation of the brand new Blue Beat lounge. thereafter, Kevin was integral in the design of the rainforest seafoods head office in Montego Bay and the Margaritaville restaurant in turks and Caicos.
Montego Bay businessman Brian Jardim summed up working with Bryan in one word, “awesome.” He went on to explain that he worked with him on several projects in Jamaica and overseas and “cannot say enough about his ego-less, understated talent as an architect and conceptualizer.” Jardim added, “Kevin’s sense of perspective and space is unique and his ability to accommodate a client’s feedback without resistance is so refreshing…nothing is too much or too challenging for him.”
It’s another hot summer in Jamaica! I hope that as you flip through the pages of this issue you are keeping cool, by the sea, in the hills or relaxing in a place of comfort. On the cover of this issue of KúYA, we feature Rivendell, a recently constructed villa in the South Coast town of Whitehouse. We chose to feature this house, to highlight how real estate in Jamaica is constantly evolving.
Identifying the right location, moving at the opportune moment, using debt financing wisely and controlling costs are the key ingredients for rewarding real estate investments, according to Matthew Wright, a real estate investor and founding partner of IWC Capital Management.
Wright has always had an interest in real estate and first caught the real estate bug while working at Citibank in Kingston. Ironically, it was a Coldwell Banker agent who presented Wright with an opportunity to buy an apartment pre- construction in Norbrook and the deal proved to be a solid investment when the property sold for multiples of the purchase price five years later. Wright went on to acquire several more residential rental properties in Kingston.