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Conversation Pieces

Conversation Pieces

On a recent trip to Little Bay, Tortola, I visited the newly built home of Peter and Gloria Mitchell with Roy Keegan from Arawak Interiors. Though I had passed the house many times over the course of its construction and completion, I appreciated the opportunity to marvel at the property and discover some hidden gems that I couldn’t see from the road.

First to catch my eye—a gazebo inside the pool, complete with a moat and two small footbridges. The setting provides a perfect spot for coffee or cocktails while taking in a view that was clearly designed to include the stunning infinity-edge pool. Four soft grey, rounded-back synthetic rattan chairs complement a round, quartzite table in shimmering, streaked silver.


Interior designer Debi Carson worked with the homeowners and Arawak Interiors to find furnishings and fittings for the home. Of the synthetic rattan, she said, “It’s lightweight, in that it can be moved and manipulated as entertaining dictates. The Mitchells have a great amount of family and friends, and the flexibility of furniture groupings is greatly increased with the ability to easily move things about.” She also praised the colour palette offered for the rattan—emphasizing how it mimics natural tones and also “maintains a textural feel that works well with other materials.”

Inside the house, a stunning mahogany stand-alone screen—accented with liana vines sourced by Roy—serves as the centerpiece of the cathedral-sized great room. Debi mentioned that the architects had originally conceptualized a full concrete wall to break up the room. “This always bothered me in the plan,” she said, “that it would be a harsh separation in what I interpreted to be an open space with multi-function. A space where you should be able to still be a part of the group or activity, regardless of which side of the screen you are on.” Again, the materials work together to provide fluidity. “The screen is intended to introduce natural materials with organic shape and texture into the more formal and structured surrounding of the dining and living space,” Debi said. “The roots’ shapes contrast to the wood slats behind and the trough they are seated in.”


The highlight of the kitchen is the granite island and breakfast bar in shades of mossy green that Debi said were “reminiscent of leafy greens and vegetation” in the surrounding hillsides. Synthetic rattan barstools in a tone plucked from the granite countertops further showcase the combinations of synthetic and natural materials which will hold up to frequent use when the bustling kitchen is filled with guests.


The furnishings and design achieved the homeowners’ goals of creating comfortable, usable spaces. “The home needs to function for several generations of family and festivities for friends,” Debi said, “as well as time for appreciating the relaxing trade winds of the islands.”

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