Dream House | Overwhelmed!
Architecture’s very being revolves around people and the lives they live. Their homes tell the story of who they are, their past, and even their hopes and dreams.
I now introduce you to Faith Downie, an ambitious Jamaican who spent 20 long years in the Netherlands. But as much as she initially loved it there, the land of her birth refused to sever the umbilical cord, or part thereof; constantly tugging at her emotions, leaving the lady sad and tearful. She became desperate to come home!
Now, here she is, with her dream scheme, in the Kingston 8 locale of upper St Andrew. A complex of three traditionally styled, Mediterranean influenced, ultra-luxurious mega units. Possibly one of the most impressive townhomes in Jamaica.
The question begs. Why did so many passers-by seek to unabashedly beg and bribe the security personnel at the front gate, to allow their entry to take pictures? The answer is simply this. They were overwhelmed!
Traditionally inspired architectural style as depicted here, hark back to a time in history offering the warmth and comfort of familiar, classical forms, and a feeling of deep-rooted stability.
The original property was bought by Ms Downie, 12 years ago, from the co-director of maybe the leading advertising agency at one time. As the developer, she forthwith bull-dozed the existing house upon it (which was split in two, because of the failed bearing capacity of the soil). A two-year period of construction then ensued.
One of the tenants (no unit was sold, but all were furnished), who prefers dream townhouse living, has gratefully obliged our request for a walk-through.
Three floors of living space, with two separate staircases, encompasses five bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. A columned foyer, two sitting rooms on different levels, powder room, kitchen (with butler’s pantry), air-conditioned helpers accommodation, laundry and double (automated door) garage. All this topped off by entertainment roof deck and balconies. Of note is that although this design is traditional, the floor plan has elements of the open-plan, which is a modern architectural concept.
This elaborate, opulent haven, is replete with rich ornamentation, where quality and refinement are inherent in every detail. Come, continue to walk with me.
Heavy mouldings (crown and otherwise) run throughout. Towering circular columned archways, massive double and eight feet height single doors, eye-catching corbels (decorative brackets), roof skylights, recessed ceiling lights shining in the grandest of tray ceiling designs ever witnessed – curving right through with a mix of rectangular and circular presentations. Travertine, granite and marble, transform surfaces (floors, counters and walls). Curved walls and niches (recess in a wall) create focal points. Combination wood and decorative wrought iron bannister and balusters (stair railings).
Interiors also reflect the European vocabulary of well-appointed and elegant, traditional décor, e.g., Pinch pleated, curtain valances, dressing glass windows. Light colours blend with furnishings.
Landscaping has blossomed into a picture-perfect setting. The free-form swimming pool is decked out with multiple water fountains and a rock-face waterfall – spewing and cascading refreshingly. A waterfall at the road entrance, also spills to the amazement of all.
The architectural and engineering services were provided by Donovan Thompson, with the keen eye of the owner.
It would be remiss of Ms Downie, not to mention her ex-husband who gave valuable assistance when it was required. Ruud Vanderpluijm, owns the seventh-largest company (computer programming) on the Dutch Stock Exchange. He still loves her and he is still her best friend.