Capturing the wide open sea views from as many rooms as possible was the start and end point for the design of Seas the Day, a mould-breaking home on the shores of South Sound.
Impressive entertainment spaces and energy-efficient design were also must-haves and, for the owner, James Bussey — who also owns Oasis Pool and Spa — a spectacular outdoor space was a given.
There was no question he wanted to go modern — but not the typical boxy, geometric style. He wanted to build something bold, individual and, literally, outside the box.
Finding the right architect to design his home was easy. Bussey had worked with Stace McGee over the years; he liked his approach and wanted a sustainable home, something the US-based architect specialises in.
With over 15 years of experience in pool design and construction, Bussey chose to act as a project manager himself, and his company carried out the construction.
“We usually build structures that have to hold water, so building something that holds air is way easier,” he says of the decision. By modelling all the ductwork, plumbing and MEP before even breaking ground, he says, they avoided unpleasant surprises further down the line.
Ultimately, it was the curved shoreline of the lot that determined the design. Due to the setback requirement on oceanfront lots (75-feet from the high water mark), a rectangular shape was not an option.
“I kind of dropped the bomb on Stace,” Bussey says. “I said, ‘we’re going to build a triangle. Stop fighting it!"
The architect ran with the idea, designing a three-storey structure that was narrower on the inland side and fanned out towards the ocean, with wall-to-wall glass across the entire sea-facing facade and multiple shaded and open decks, front and back, on different levels.
The triangular form allowed him to incorporate Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘compression and expansion’ concept, whereby the progression from a small, confined entry through to a wider, taller space creates a sense of release. Thus from the front door, one is drawn forward into the wide open-plan living area, a double-height space where a two-storey window-wall floods the interior with natural light and creates sightlines that extend down the length of the pool to the ocean.
With such massive expanses of glass on the southern side, it was essential to mitigate the potential solar gain. To do so, the architect designed a 55-foot high exterior wall that juts out from the western side of the house, providing an anchor point for the series of terraces at each level to attach to. Each terrace’s size and angle was calculated to ensure it would shade the glass from direct sun, while the wall itself blocks much of the western sun. Cutouts in the wall allow for airflow while framing the view and casting interesting shadows on vertical and horizontal planes.
Because the couple love to entertain, both interior and exterior spaces were conceived with this in mind. Naturally, the pool was Bussey’s domain, and he went all-out to create something extraordinary. The 50-foot pool reaches out from the terrace towards the ocean, its infinity edge merging the two so that the water appears to come right up to the house. Palm trees in planters line one side, with subwoofers buried between them and a paved ‘dance floor’ in the centre of the lawn, installed by Vigoro, on the other side. Both the ten-person hot tub and the main pool are wrapped entirely in black granite and designed with perimeter overflows so that they can take on the look of a pane of glass, reflecting the palm trees at sunset and sunrise, or be illuminated with coloured LED lights at night.
Inside, the unexpected angles continue, with slightly asymmetrical rooms. Simple, unembellished furniture and minimal decor accentuate the architectural lines with a few carefully chosen accessories from Design Studio adding a dash of colour to the muted palette.
The owners worked with Design First Interiors to refine the interior floor plans and create a kitchen layout that put all the necessities within arm’s reach while concealing the top-of-the-range Sub Zero appliances (sourced from A. L. Thompson’s) behind their custom-built cabinetry, with countertops from ITC.
“The key to good design is continuity, and when it comes to a custom home, it is essential to marry the exterior to the interior designs,” Nichole Hubert, lead designer at Design First Interiors, observes. Thus the shape and angles of the pool and house inspired the design of the kitchen island and other interior elements.
To satisfy Bussey’s inner child, one cabinet is, in fact, a secret door that opens into a hidden pantry with space for small appliances and a food prep area, ensuring he can keep any cooking mess out of sight when entertaining.
Contrasting with the soaring, light-filled living room, the intimate dining room is tucked behind the kitchen. Here, the impact is created not by the views butby the large-format black Porcelanosa tiles covering one wall and a stunning copper chandelier over the table.
Zig-zagging its way from the centre of the lower level up to the next two storeys, the glass and steel feature staircase provides a progression of views as one ascends.
Serenity reigns in the calm, spacious master suite. Here, wall-to-wall glass slides back to a private terrace, while a large dressing room with custom closets by Design First Interiors ensures every item has its place. Most spectacular of all, perhaps, is the bathroom, where in addition to a vast shower, a cantilevered alcove houses a soaking tub where the owners can lie back and admire the views through a picture window.
Two guest bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and outdoor space, and a laundry room complete this floor. The top floor, Bussey says, is the couple’s hobby floor: for her a large, fully-equipped ocean view gym, for him an entertainment space, complete with a 140-inch projector screen, a bar and a herb garden on the terrace, so that he can muddle a perfect mojito when guests come over for movie night.
Ensuring the structure was as energy efficient as possible involved creating a highly insulated envelope, which was pressure tested to detect any leaks. This was then paired with the most efficient mechanical cooling systems and appliances and a solar array installed to offset their electrical needs. As a result, CUC bills for this 7,400 square foot home come to just CI$150 per month.
Such energy efficiency was one of the greatest successes of Seas the Day, the owner says. But it is the view from the top floor terrace that, despite having sent a drone up to check it pre-construction, has exceeded all expectations.
By embracing the asymmetry of the lot and celebrating the unusual angles of the design, the architect and interior designers have created a bold, highly individual home that reflects the owners’ unique personalities and lifestyles. Seas the Day is a house that definitely makes a statement.It is, both Bussey and McGee agree, what they would call Architecture with a capital A.