Couple honours tradition but with a modern twist in Cayman house which soaks up the view

Steve Maeda and Janet Wilson had their home built on the edge of a hundred feet of pristine white sand at Rum Point on Grand Cayman.

They called it Sun Salutations, which is a series of yoga poses, and the name sums up the ambience and purpose of their home in the Caribbean.

We love to do yoga and we felt that a yoga-themed name would evoke a feeling of Zen and peace . We ultimately settled on Sun Salutations because it incorporated the yoga theme and the sun, which is a big part of why people vacation in Cayman.

The couple, whose main residence is in Manhatten Beach, California, first visited Cayman after Janet watched the movie The Firm, based on a novel by John Grisham, which features scenes shot on the island.

“I had seen the movie and thought that the Cayman Islands looked like the perfect tropical vacation spot,” she says. “During that vacation, Steve and I marvelled at what a perfect beach we were on. We would take walks up and down and there were several empty lots for sale.

“We had always wanted a beach home, but it never seemed affordable. When we started crunching the numbers we realised we could make it work and we made our first offer on the Sun Salutations lot while we were in Cayman’s Owen Roberts airport leaving to go home.”

Janet and Steve were not on island during construction of the house as both have busy work schedules in the United States; so they flew in to check on progress only a couple of times.

Steve is a hugely successful television writer and producer with credits including the X-Files, CSI: Miami, Lost, Daybreak, Lie to Me, and Miami Medical, while Janet has a demanding job as deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County.They relied on their architect John Doak, who is based in the Cayman Islands, to act as a consultant and keep them updated while the house was being built, as well as regular e-mails from their builder, Neil Purton of BCQS.

Janet and Steve describe the house as quasi-traditional Caymanian architecture with a contemporary flair.

“We always envisioned a beach house that had sliding glass doors that opened to the water,” says Janet. “We wanted to create a home where the inside blended with the outside. We also wanted to honour Cayman’s local architecture, but with a modern twist.”

The house is designed so that you can see through the large glass entrance doors right across to wall-to-wall glass sliding doors that open up onto the deck, straight onto an infinity pool, the beach and the turquoise waters of North Sound beyond.

The entire interior is uncluttered, with polished concrete floors throughout and furnishings in the open-plan living area kept to a simple suite of chocolate brown wicker topped with Sunbrella cushions.

The kitchen was laid out so that the wonderful views can be admired while the family is cooking and chatting with friends and guests.

The cabinets are fashioned from dark wood while there is a combination of recessed and pendant lighting to give maximum visibility.

Although there is an indoor eating area, the family prefers to dine outside when the weather permits.

They also spend most of the day in the patio, pool and beach areas where shady cabanas make snug spots for reading and sun breaks.

“It’s not a large pool, but it’s perfect for cooling off or floating around on a lounge chair,” says Janet.

Upstairs in the house, a bunkroom and four bedrooms are situated around a central atrium which overlooks the living area, with the two master suites having inside terraces as well as outdoor balconies.

We really wanted to design a house where multiple families could go and spend a week together with a perfect configuration, also we felt that a bunkroom for kids of different families would be great for the children and the parents. The other four bedrooms are the same size and there are two master suites. We decided not to have one grand master suite so that two families could vacation together and no one would get stuck with an inferior room.

The property has a high-tech entertainment system throughout, with televisions in all the bedrooms, the kitchen and the TV room, while there is also an iPod dock in the kitchen so that guests can listen to their own music.

And in another nod to the yoga theme, there is a delightful little Japanese garden to the side of the house, a detail that John Doak suggested late in the planning process.

While being close to a popular nearby bar and restaurant at Rum Point, the house has privacy and allows the family to spend quality time together, participating in scuba diving and other pastimes.

“Four out of five of us have become certified scuba divers since we purchased the house, so we’ve been exploring the underwater world and have been loving it,” says Janet.

Janet and Steve, along with their three daughters, fly down frequently to spend time in Cayman.

“We love it— it has substantial size, but also cohesiveness, so we can all be together when we want to be and alone when we want to be,” says Janet. “When we walk up to the front door after a long travel day and look through the glass door, through the living room, past the infinity pool, and straight to North Sound, all we can say is ‘wow’.”


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