Cayman home is modern great house and Caribbean centre for performers and artists

Built in the design of a traditional West Indian great house, Callaloo often plays centre stage to cultural events in the Cayman Islands.

Callaloo is the gracious home of Martyn and Vivian Bould and has been designed to reflect the elegance and studied proportions of Caribbean style.

Martyn is a founding board member and chairman of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, a founding board member and chairman of the building committee of the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, and is involved in many cultural events throughout the Caribbean.

Martyn has always been interested in different cultures, realising that culture is not simply to be watched or enjoyed in its performance mode, but embodies who we are, how we eat, talk, worship and live,

The couple frequently uses Callaloo, which is situated on the waterfront of the Cayman Islands Yacht Club in Grand Cayman, as a setting for cultural performances and fundraising events. “For large gatherings outside, the terrace is big enough for guests to mingle and have a view of the two formal lawns where some of the performances take place,” explains Vivian.

Events have included festivals such as Gimistory, Culture Meets Tourism, and Culture at Callaloo, for which a temporary stage was built over the swimming pool, with an area large enough for musical groups and six to eight dancers to perform.

“The symmetry of the house makes the outdoor area very pleasing to be in as everything is in balance with evening lighting, sound and calmness of the water, and seated guests on both sides of the temporary stage which is elevated for the best view of the performance,” says Vivian. Cottages on either side of the performing area are used for changing areas for the performers “who can appear from the lower area, up the steps and onto the stage without being seen by the guests before they enter the stage’’.

And, with all the doors that lead onto the terrace, the catering staff can serve guests fluidly, without having to work through the crowds to get to the other end of the terrace.

Following tradition, the property, which was designed by Cayman-based architect John Doak, is centred around the great house, which incorporates a great room, kitchen, laundry, study, wine cellar and master bedroom.

Individual cottages provide guest accommodation, a gym, staff quarters, a garden potting room and garage.

The west side of the property has a coconut grove which gives natural shade from the setting sun as well as an abundant supply of coconut water for the household, and a thriving kitchen garden yields a bountiful supply of fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables.

“For many years, Martyn lived in Jamaica and experienced the wonderful world of being entertained in great houses all over the island,” says Vivian. “The layouts and design stayed with him after he settled in Grand Cayman but the thought of creating a home along the same lines was something he always wanted to achieve. I was introduced to these beautiful homes when Martyn took me on trips to Jamaica to visit friends and at that time I fell in love with the West Indian great house design too.”

Callaloo’s colour scheme of cream and light tan is in keeping with the large mahogany front door which is flanked with mahogany serpentine louvres, and with the external dark green louvred shutters and the white french doors and windows.

The house has four main entry doors facing north, south, east and west and all areas are just one room deep to provide extensive natural light and ventilation.

In the great room, french doors lead to the garden, making a seamless transition of living space from the inside to the outdoors. This room has the all grandeur of the older houses it replicates, with formal furniture, matt tiles and fine Persian carpets that are more than 40 years old.

And while the house has been built in a vernacular style, modern materials and technologies have been used for 21st century convenience.

These include anti-glare and double-glazed windows, a telephone intercom system, a sound system which is wired throughout the house and grounds, wireless Internet, and gas-fuelled stove, water heater and dryer for energy efficiency.

The house was also designed for privacy, so guests are accommodated in the garden cottage while the Boulds’ bedroom, which features separate bathrooms and dressing rooms, is on the upper floor of the main house.

“Martyn is an early riser and as he leaves the master bedroom in the morning he can shower, dress and leave by the connecting door to the upper landing without too much disturbance,” says Vivian.

In true great house style, a sweeping staircase leads to their bedroom and this provides a magnificent backdrop for the couple’s art collection.

Pieces that take pride of place on the wall include a colourful painting (a wedding gift from Vivian to Martyn) by Cayman artist Chris Mann of a lady jumping over huts.

Other treasured pictures include Suffer the Little Children to Come unto Me, a present from the late Caymanian intuitive artist known as Miss Lassie, and a series of great house prints by Jamaican artist John Fielding.

Other artwork around the house includes early colourful local scenes by Caymanian artist Charles Long, a portrait of Vivian and Martyn by Joanne Sibley, The Kiss, an art and light piece from St Paul de Vence in Provence, France, by Pacotto, Ashanti Woman by Jamaican sculptor Gene Pearson, and Dream Lover by Surinamese sculptor Ugery Uderhott.

Martyn and Vivian both enjoy visiting other countries and have travelled extensively throughout the world, returning to Cayman with many of the treasures that adorn their home.

Just sitting in the great room, I look around at some of the artefacts we have collected from Thailand, Greece, France, Jamaica, Suriname, St Vincent, Bhutan, Egypt, and an interesting collection of containers from all over the world, mostly in the form of boxes,
  “They are a lovely reminder of various places when one takes time to reminisce on our travels.” Vivian has a collection of silver and crystal, too, which she often uses at dinner parties.

The couple also has a wine cellar, with a large part of the contents coming from a vineyard in Oregon in which Martyn and Vivian are shareholders.

Both of them have a passion for cooking, especially with organic vegetables grown in their garden, and this, in part, is why they chose the name of the property. It is also the name of a dish which they enjoy cooking.

“My husband and I love the name Callaloo and it rolls off your tongue,” says Vivian. “It cannot be more Caribbean.’’



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