- February 29th, 2012
- in Yachting
Bold, Bright & BEAUTIFUL
When I visited Rhumb House on Nora Hazel Point between Brandywine Bay and Buck Island, I was tickled to see jewel-tone and pastel interiors mingling with vivid tropical flora and kaleidoscopic exterior scenes.
The owners and designers clearly chose their colour palette from the spectrum of shades that blossom year-round in the Virgin Islands, so each time I turned a corner or entered another doorway, a fresh combination of sparkling hues surprised and delighted me among indoor gardens and potted palms. Rhumb House is bold and bright and proud atop an outcropping hill with southern views from Virgin Gorda to St John.
My first impression of Rhumb House was the palm-lined pathway (view VIPY cover photo) surrounded by landscaped and lily-laden koi ponds on the side lawn that leads to a circular patio and large, round wrought iron table overlooking Paraquita Bay and beyond into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The tiled path, with symmetrically spaced natural columns—palm trunks—planted along the edge, led my eyes to the sky above—an azure heaven strewn with white translucent clouds and framed by palm fronds.
Behind the house, I regaled at the scopious panorama from the sprawling back patio—the view extended beyond my field of vision. As I crossed the expansive tiled patio and pool area, more islands came into view. After taking in as much sea and sky as I could, I stepped inside Rhumb House. The labyrinthine paths, stepping stones over koi ponds and semi-secret hallways made me feel as if I were in the pages of an illustrated fairytale. The house sprawls and stretches in new directions at every turn.
Rhumb House is a family home. The huge dining tables inside and outside offer the perfect settings for long, lingering meals and bottles of wine. Living rooms, reading rooms and a TV room all face the sea, and each has its own decorative flair—from sailing scenes to palm-tree motifs decorated in a combination of upholstered fabrics, carved antiques and custom-made cabinetry. The pool area, vast lawns and patios encourage outdoor play for all generations—I can almost hear barefoot children laughing in the grass and the knock of bocce balls on the bocce court. Adjacent to the bocce court, inside a sort of breezeway, a comfy, yellow games room features a pool table and pub-like corner seats. These are the rooms where memories are made.
While the common rooms and outdoor spaces are designed for mingling and playing with family and friends, each of the six bedroom suites is like its own villa for low-key relaxing and privacy. The lavender master suite with its green and white marble checkerboard tiled floor sparkles with stunning arched windows and doorways. The same arches are repeated in the pink and green tiled bathroom with its double-headed shower and 120-degree views. The master bedroom is furnished in Victorian style furniture with a four-poster bed, marble-top desk, and striped settees.
The remaining five bedrooms are equally as bright. A pink bedroom with bespoke bookshelves and a marine theme conjures sailing in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Another bedroom, this one painted periwinkle with blue and green marble floors, feels like floating in an underwater seascape. All bedroom suites have en suite bathrooms decked out in unique, vivid colour schemes with glossy imported Egyptian, Italian, French, South American and Asian floor-to-ceiling hand-painted tiles that evoke shelves full of sweets in boardwalk candy shops. The effect of the resplendent hues of the tiles and marble floors in each suite brings inside a bit of the Caribbean colours found outside: lavender sunsets, yellow poui flowers, pink oleander, green palm-leaves, azure blue seas, or all the colours side-by-side in morning shower rainbows. Though each bedroom offers air-conditioning, soft tradewinds from the Channel blow through every room.
Waiting to be discovered throughout the house are inspired touches found nowhere else in the BVI. Again, these touches serve to bring island scenes to the interior. An indoor koi pool in imported ceramic tile and bordered with hand-painted tiles includes sunken potted palms as well as sunken boulders as stepping stones which lead to the traditional study. The study features two desks, reading chairs and built-in, hardwood bookshelves. An indoor tropical flower garden opens to the sky, and lush foliage obscures the entrance to the sixth bedroom suite. Corridors with open ceilings illuminate the house and harness the breeze and sky.
Also on the property, tucked neatly down the hill from Rhumb House, is a two-bedroom caretaker’s cottage with stunning views over the Channel and Paraquita Bay. Bedrooms again have cathedral ceilings and en suite bathrooms with private balconies. A kitchen opens up to the living area and a large deck. The vibrant colours of the main house have found their way into the caretaker’s cottage as well with its pink walls and playful tiled bathrooms.
Before leaving the property, I revisited the outdoor areas—the palm tree-lined tiled koi path, the extensive back patio and the large tiled pool. The seascape before me was too much to take in. I had to look away before turning back and trying to focus on individual scenes—Flanagan Island, Norman, Peter, Round Rock, Salt, Cooper, Fallen Jerusalem, Virgin Gorda, and all the outcroppings in between. I could only imagine the dome of sky lit up at night with the moon in the clouds and stars speckled across the black.
Rhumb House, atop a promontory on the south side of Tortola, is conveniently located 10 minutes away from both Beef Island airport and from Road Town, the capital city of the British Virgin Islands and hub of BVI shopping and nightlife. Numerous marinas within a few minutes’ drive encourage spontaneous explorations of the numerous islands, beaches, bays and cays that entice from Rhumb House’s panoramas.
The sophisticated style and elegance of Rhumb House embrace the colour palette of the islands and incorporate it into the kaleidoscopic décor that also borrows textures and materials from the islands—bamboo, palm trees, rippling pools, granite boulders, marble and hardwood. While bold and proud, the gated property also remains utterly private among close to two acres of lawns and gardens landscaped with meandering trails among trees and palms bearing mangos, soursops, coconuts, bananas and papayas.
Rhumb House Summary
Neighbourhood – Nora Hazel Point, Tortola
Bedrooms – Six
Bathrooms – Six (en suite) and a half
Swimming Pool – Yes
Size – 1.93 acres
Price – US$7,500,000
For more info contact:
e [email protected]