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Design Inside & Out

Contemporary Design Inside & Out
By Traci O'Dea

More and more in the Caribbean, the sleek, clean lines of contemporary design are infiltrating the architecture, furnishings and fittings of homes and commercial buildings. This isn’t a bad thing, just an evolution of style that reflects the increased clutter-free and simple living habits of many of our residents. New commercial buildings on Waterfront Drive reflect this trend as do homes dotted on the hillsides.

The stone and outdoor furnishings complement the hillside landscapes at Soper' s Hole. Photos by Traci O'Dea.

In the West end of Tortola, one contemporary facade distinctly stands out from the others, Tower House—a stone, concrete and stainless steel villa on the waterfront nestled among the pastel-coloured gingerbread homes and businesses of soper’s Hole. Architect matthew Collins of Caribbean Architecture limited expressed that “the house was designed in response to the location of the site immediately adjacent to soper’s Hole. A lot of the materials used, such as stainless steel railings and rigging wires are the same as can be found on the yachts moored in soper’s Hole. The open patio decks and large door openings allow uninterrupted views of the constant activity on the water.” Like much of the contemporary design that I see on island, most of the colours and materials seem plucked directly from the landscapes. In the master bedroom, azure accent walls evoke the waves while by the poolside deck beige tiles imitate the sandy sea floor.

Arawak Interiors worked with the owners of the house and the architect to have the interior and exterior furnishings custom made to match the contemporary design of the home. Arawak Interiors manager Mandy Gorringe said that she’s been ordering more and more contemporary furniture based both on customer demand and the trends she sees in magazines. “A lot of people want cleaner lines,” she said. “people are coming in and saying, ‘We have concrete and white, straight lines, no curves,’ so we can get them what they want.” The most popular contemporary items in the store are media cabinets, accent pieces, beds and “every type of table—dining tables, coffee tables, accent tables,” mandy said. Additionally, the synthetic rattan, indoor/outdoor furniture that seems to be the new standard for patios, restaurants, dining rooms and porches introduces a new material to interior and exterior furnishings and is available in an infinite number of shapes and colours.

The interior bedroom steals its colour from the sea.

Simple shapes, clean lines and harmonious colours combine to create contemporary style. In the BVI, the style guidelines are often dictated by mother nature.

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