A coupleÂ’s dream ocean home in the Abacos. By Regina Cole
When first considering a site on which to build a vacation home, a high-powered couple from suburban Boston hadnÂ’t even thought of the Bahamas. But when the passionate golfers got wind of a new course by architects Donald Steel and Tom McKenzie at Abaco Club on Winding Bay, their search quickly came to an end. Their destination decided, the couple turned to friend and business associate Keith Gross, architect at HDS Architects of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who guided them through the next steps: choosing a lot and designing their dream beachfront home.
Â“I recommended this lot because it is on a promontory,Â” Gross says of the homeÂ’s location. Â“ItÂ’s close to the water and the view wonÂ’t be obstructed by future buildings.Â” The couple were among the first to purchase property there, and added on a second lot for privacy and investment purposes. On that site, overlooking a pristine bay, an offshore island, and miles of beach in either direction, Gross designed a 6,500-square-foot house and a two-bedroom guest cottage. Golf might have brought the owners to the Abacos, but the couple now return for the beautiful scenery, spectacular sunsets, and the joy of experiencing it all from the effortless elegance of their vacation home.
Also called the Out Islands of the Bahamas, the Abacos were settled by New England Loyalists after the American Revolution. The resulting local building traditions favor clapboards and cedar shakes, center-entry Cape-like houses, shutters, and steeply pitched roofs. For this project, though, Gross drew inspiration from an earlier regional architectural style: the stone Colonial planterÂ’s house.
Clad in hand-hewn local white limestone, the main part of the house shines above the sand dunes and water. Atlantic white cedar forms the roof, designed with the Caribbean preference for deep overhangs, which provide shade. Gross organized the structure around a cupola-crowned two-story central block flanked by single-story wings. A living room, dining room, bar, and game room fill the central core. A luxurious master suite with a sybaritic bath occupies most of the second story. An upper-story deck wraps around the front faÃ§ade, and the view is dazzling.
Gross kept walls to a minimum and created a clean modern interior, which is Â“subtle, not flashy,Â” he says. Â“The flooring is Italian limestone. Some of the walls are plastered, while some are vertical boards, wire brushed to raise the grain.Â” The owners still play lots of golf, and while the course is all they hoped for, the neighborhood adds even more.