(Published in Inside Out magazine, spring/summer 2015)
By Joanna Lewis
Opening the door to their new home on one of the most pristine parts of Seven Mile Beach, Belinda and Llion Ogden didn’t know quite what to expect.
Having handed the reigns over to local designer Joyce Wells Burcombe of Vista Development Company Ltd. the young couple hadn’t even seen a picture of their new home.
“To say we were nervous is probably an understatement,” Llion says. “We arrived after a long flight, tired and with a little trepidation, but from the moment we opened the door we were hit with the wow factor.”
Monaco residents Llion and Belinda purchased the Sea Breeze condo following an extensive search for a Seven Mile Beach property which would make an ideal holiday home, be kid-friendly for their two young children who are both younger than five, and serve as a luxurious rental unit when not on island.
Only in Cayman for short periods of time, the couple decided to enlist the help of an on-island interior designer to furnish the four-bedroom property.
“With the apartment being in Cayman and us being in Monaco, it was really impractical for us to furnish it ourselves,” Llion explains. “Joyce was recommended to us by a friend and it felt great handing the reins over to someone else.”
Joyce was given a free hand to design the condo, with Belinda and Llion giving her only a loose brief of what they had in mind.
“The original theme came from driftwood and our general love of bright airy spaces,” Llion explains. “The idea of natural colors and distressed natural woods and stone, but in a modern style, was the driving force behind the décor we were aiming for. Many of the units we saw on the beach were dark internal condos with dark woods and other furnishings, which we really wanted to stay away from.”
Joyce explains that the villa had to be fun and classy, but not pretentious or comical either.
“Both Belinda and Llion wanted soft, casual, comfort in a light and airy setting,” she says. “Belinda, in particular, loved the feel and look of rough surfaces on recycled woods, so we went from there.”
One of the key design challenges for Joyce was creating a space which was more than an average holiday home, yet still maintained the casual comfort of a beach villa. The design took four months to complete, with Joyce sourcing many of the items from her wholesale accounts with overseas suppliers.
The result is a stunning beach-inspired, sumptuous home-from-home, ideal for leisurely carefree days, or for large family gatherings which is exactly what the Ogdens had in mind.
Furniture made from recycled woods is interspersed with items fashioned from soft leathers, while natural sisal rugs in neutral colors adorn the floor, helping to create a natural flow from one room to the next. White coral lamps give a hint of the ocean while seascape abstract artworks decorate the walls.
It all works together seamlessly, creating a breathtaking space which is perfectly in tune with its beach-front surroundings.
Amongst many of the standout pieces is a beautiful teak “root” table that has pride of place in the hallway: a unique, petrified-wood bench, which greets visitors at the front door. There is also a dark-purple velvet chaise lounge in the bedroom that adds a dramatic pop of color and a glamorous feminine touch.
There’s even a children’s table-and-chair set that matches the property’s recycled wood-look perfectly. “I was so excited about it, that I set it with a children’s tea set so that it was ready for a tea party when the children arrived at their new home,” says Joyce.
However, despite the property’s delightful beach-inspired interior, Llion is adamant nothing quite beats the real deal.
“The biggest thing is probably the stunning beach view,” he says. “It really is incredible. You can lie in bed and see the sunsets, framed beautifully by the natural foliage and not see anything else, apart from the odd snorkeler from Cemetery Beach.
“I think it’s safe to say that we wish we could take the apartment back to Monaco with us.”