Pop Art, Along With Eye-Popping Views in Tobago


An article by Jewel Fraser for The New York Times.

Jay Ferreira, who was born in Trinidad and had grown to love its sister island, Tobago, had yearned to build something groundbreakingly modern there, eventually choosing Bacolet Bay, a stomping ground of Hollywood celebrities in the mid-20th century, as the site for his eco-friendly property.

Mr. Ferreira, 35, recalled that the Blue Haven Hotel, close to his property, which he named The Marion Villa, had hosted people like John Lennon, Rita Hayworth and Queen Elizabeth. “This is where all the high-end people live,” a taxi driver had remarked as he pulled up to the property, mentioning the name of a retired United Nations diplomat who lived nearby.

But for Mr. Ferreira, a real estate and securities investor, the $1.8 million property was another step in realizing his goal of owning guest properties throughout the Caribbean that “stay clear of the classical Caribbean architecture” with its colonial influence.

“I think, moving forward, we should adopt modern styles of living,” said Mr. Ferreira, who now lives in Connecticut. “I think we need — as young Caribbean people — we need to be a step ahead, create modern architecture, sustainable ways of living.”

The Marion Villa is a boxy, 2,225-square-foot villa named after Mr. Ferreira’s mother. It was designed in 2013 by a husband-and-wife team of architects, Mandilee and Timothy Newton, who are based in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.

In designing the property, the Newtons said, they sought to create an axis so that anyone entering the home by the front door would immediately be met with an ocean view. The house has no windows facing the driveway leading up to it, but inside the house, sliding glass doors run the length of the side facing the water. On a terrace is a Jacuzzi that feeds into a salt-water pool. Beyond its edge, the property drops steeply into an as-yet-undeveloped garden space, just steps from the water.

The house, which is painted white, with black trim, is made of concrete, steel and glass and is decorated in what Mr. Ferreira described as a “modern pop” style. Reproductions of art by Roy Lichtenstein are in each of the bedrooms, and decals of images by Banksy adorn the walls by the staircase.

Upstairs, three en suite bedrooms sit side by side and, with the rest of the house, share a harmonious color scheme. A balcony of tempered glass was constructed so as not to block a seaview and runs the length of the three bedrooms. “When you are lying in bed, you can see right out,” Ms. Newton said.

The bathrooms were also designed to allow unhindered vistas of the sea.

Over the stairwell is a skylight. “We tried to use a passive approach to sustainability,” Ms. Newton said. “We have let a lot of natural light into the spaces to reduce reliance on electrical lighting.”

“We tried to allow the breeze to pass through the house naturally,” she added. “It’s designed with natural windflow patterns. We used low-flush and low-flow fixtures. We also reduced the amount of materials used; we did not tile the floors, so it is a polished concrete floor.”

According to the Newtons, Mr. Ferreira was a dream client. “He had a lot of ideas, and he just needed us to articulate it for him,” Ms. Newton said.

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