Kolenik completes Carribean villa project
Peek inside an inspiring year-round family home
A breeze of fresh air, each and every detail of this Cayman Islands’ dream residence breathes radical care and conscious luxury.
Growing kids and the desire to live sustainably led the Dutch-Canadian couple to build their dream life in Grand Cayman. The family’s lifestyle and values are reflected in the villa’s design, a mesmerizing combination of conscious design choices, high-end finishes, and respect for the local community.
This villa sits at a unique place on our planet. The ocean, the vegetation, the skies — residing here is genuinely living the dream, says Robert Kolenik, who could only visit the project after completion. ‘The travel restrictions during the pandemic caused us to design, monitor and execute the entire project from The Netherlands. Up to the tiniest detail.’
Without a doubt, the main eyecatcher is the infinity pool that visually joins the salty emerald waters. Seen from the living room with its impressive lighting sculpture Flylight by Dutch Studio Drift, one would almost forget the private beach behind it. ‘Having your own stretch of beach here is extremely rare.’ Other marvelling features include the kids’ crafts room, Pilates room, wellness area, and outdoor plunge pool. ‘The house is designed to provide options for spending time outdoors no matter what time of day.’
To offer modern comfort, the architecture and interior design use the latest technology — from intelligent choices that minimize energy consumption to hurricane-proof window solutions. For the doors, they opted for 150 years old reclaimed timber obtained from a former mine shaft. The hardwood, Kapur, comes from trees found in Southeast Asia and has a beautiful patina.
Mangroves are a crucial part of the Cayman Islands’ coastline, where they protect communities from storms, prevent erosion, store carbon, and offer essential habitats for threatened species. Sustainability is also ingrained in the residents’ lifestyle, who, a.o. helped purchase an area of mangroves to preserve the natural habitat, and by doing so offset carbon dioxide emissions.
The landscape design features indigenous plants, a unique work of art by Margaret Barwick. The octogenarian artist arrived in the Cayman Islands from New Zealand in 1977 via the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Malawi. She quickly became involved in the establishment of the Visual Arts Society, the Island’s first formal art collective. As a landscape designer, Barwick set up botanic gardens around the archipelago. She describes trees by their specific attributes and profiles, such as colour, shape, texture, flowers, foliage, edible fruit, spice or timber, and those traditionally providing an essential element to their communities.