As soon as the celebrated theatre designer Oliver Messel relocated from London to the Caribbean in 1966, he became the architectural stylist of choice for the international jet set who holidayed there. His clients included Princess Margaret, who chose his signature look – classical grandeur mixed with comfortable indoor-outdoor living – for her house on Mustique.
For decades, Messel’s style set the tone for international homes throughout the region, but contemporary Caribbean architecture now offers 21st-century levels of comfort and luxury, as well as elegance and pared-back beauty. It’s less “traditional colonial style” and more “Beverly Hills modern”, according to Tom Vickery of Savills Global Residential Network.
“In Barbados, notably at the Sandy Lane estate, we still see strong demand for traditional properties,” Vickery explains. “Along other parts of the prime west coast and across the Caribbean, however, owners are introducing a new aesthetic, replacing coral stone and wood with glass and metal, and adding floor-to-ceiling windows to maximise light and provide dramatic sea views.”
A few steps away from Mullins Beach on Barbados, Blue Oyster is a prime example. This five-bedroom beachfront property has been artfully remodelled into a sophisticated home with glorious ocean views.