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