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DREAM HOUSE

Dream House | St James Shangri-La boasts 20-acres, stunning views

Published:Sunday | September 24, 2023 | 12:08 AM
An isolated mountaintop home, completely hidden from the world, until today!
An isolated mountaintop home, completely hidden from the world, until today!
Living areas, acting as verandahs, open completely to pool and sea vistas.
Living areas, acting as verandahs, open completely to pool and sea vistas.

The spacious living room is inseparable from the eye-catching outside.
The spacious living room is inseparable from the eye-catching outside.
All bedrooms enjoy private and stunning viewing decks.
All bedrooms enjoy private and stunning viewing decks.
A floor-to-ceiling porcelain-clad bathroom with twin vessel vanity sinks.
A floor-to-ceiling porcelain-clad bathroom with twin vessel vanity sinks.
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Humankind has been fixated with living close to the sky.

If it’s not a home built high in the mountains, the penthouse of a skyscraper, or the plan by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, to colonise outer space, many of us still wish to feel on top of the world by living in a home that is far removed from adverse prevailing conditions.

We are agog with this isolated architectural find, whose very existence has been completely unknown to us! Not even Google Maps can find it.

Opportunely for us and our heightened spirit of enquiry, the present owners, James and Denise, have given their blessing for us to take the tour of the villa, with the acceptance that its enduring secret reality is now over!

The well-fruited, 20-acre utopian estate that it is ensconced on is to be found in Spring Gardens, Reading, St James; 2.6 miles west of Montego Bay. It’s a 10-minute, challenging, lonely drive up a narrow, winding path, climbing to 1,000 feet above sea level to the crest of your own mountain. Up here, you relish the 360-degree view of Montego Bay, the sea, and beyond.

The house in the clouds was originally built in 1960 by Roberto Pagano, an Italian-American abstract artist. It was purchased by James and Denise, who have laboured with love to rehabilitate it, in 2015. Both are originally from the United Kingdom, university-trained in hospitality and catering, with James being a rare, Michelin multi-star chef. It is the highest accolade one can receive in the culinary international community.

They both succumbed to the unbridled beauty and pulse of the island, long before they bought the property, after an onerous four-year search. With two sons, they have never returned to the UK since. James is an ex-rugby player who has coached and played with the Montego Bay Rugby Team.

The attributes of the decramastic roof, vaulted ceiling, 7,500 square foot villa include: five four-poster bedrooms, five rain-shower bathrooms (the main one illuminated by a crystal chandelier); all with private timber and stunning viewing decks. The living room betrays a riveting cut-stone accent wall. A commercial kitchen parades with preparation surfaces of stainless steel. Traverse porcelain tile and white polished concrete floors, with stirring interiors complemented by soft grey hues, with outside in off-white. The furniture was locally handcrafted from the surrounding treescape.

Blissful living areas (acting as verandahs), open completely to the swimming pool hugging the house, blending amazingly with the sweeping, stupendous vistas.

Our exploration, and subsequent discovery of this Shangri-La environ, has taken us above and beyond what we could ever have dreamt of.

Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and builder. Email feedback to barry-rattray@hotmail.com and lifestyle@gleanerjm.com.