Jacob Hocking of CTX Design Group pushes the boundaries in contemporary design with a new home in Pokiok Estate. Nestled at the south shore end of Pokiok, the owners of Cerromar are a young couple with an eye for contemporary designs and inventive architectural features, and an appreciation of their stunning sea views.
A newly built home, it is unique for its flat roof deck, straight lines and very tall windows, sitting alongside a traditional Bermuda roof and traditional windows with cedar shutters. Two contrasting styles in one building that manages to work seamlessly.
“This is one of my favourites because it was an opportunity to deviate a bit from the Bermuda cottage,” says CTX Design Group owner, Jacob Hocking. “They were more interested in a contemporary design, but still wanted it to be Bermudian. They let us try lots of new things we hadn’t tried before so there are some big spans inside, tall spaces and lots of glass, which is something I’ve been playing with for a while.”
These “new things” include a bridge across to the one-bedroomed apartment and a large glass-to-glass corner window in the kitchen. “I desperately wanted to build a bridge,” continues Hocking. It acts as a different way to have an adjoining apartment, but with maximum privacy. “It means tenants don’t have to walk around the whole property to get in,” he adds. Instead, the stairs take them down under the bridge to their own front door.
The main house has three bedrooms and an office space, over two floors, with the master bedroom on the second floor. To the side of the front door is a charming garage, which blends into its surroundings perfectly.
The kitchen is unfussy and neutral in colour, but very striking and efficiently arranged. The owner is a chef, says Hocking, “so he likes to cook. It’s a pretty easy kitchen to work and it takes advantage of the spectacular views over south shore.” The kitchen island is particularly well designed. Sleek and substantial in size, it has everything where it needs to be. This whole area of the house is spacious and open plan, leading through the dining room and on into the sitting room; cascading doors link these spaces to the outdoor patio and, in keeping with the design of the rest of the house, there is a long, slender, rectangular bathing pool beyond.
The aforementioned corner window in the kitchen only adds to the quality of the view and the natural light, which pours in. Designing and constructing that style of window, says Hocking, has its challenges “considering how we build here,” adding that, particularly for these newer ideas, it was important to work with contractors who are very precise because the work needed to be so exact to achieve the span. Hocking worked on Cerromar with contractor Nelson Cordeiro of Paramount Construction.
Like the inside of the house, the patio is straight lines and perfect right angles, providing an ideal frame for the south shore view. The downside of this impressive view, however, is the salt air, so there are a lot of hard surfaces. Hard surfaces, however, mean echoes, so Hocking designed attractive wooden ceilings for the patio, which improves the acoustics considerably.
A bright, open staircase by the front door, surrounded by long, oblong-shaped windows, takes you up to the en suite master bedroom and viewing platforms. Like the downstairs, the master bedroom and bathroom, complete with envy-inducing-sized walk-in wardrobe, are light, vivid and again, take advantage of the panoramic view. Along one side of the open shower are huge sliding doors, and the glass floor-to-ceiling window opposite is protected by oversized wooden shutters. “Having shutters in the bathroom warms it up a little bit and makes what would have been an unusual feature, work,” explains Hocking. The sliding doors from the bathroom lead out onto a large, open, glass-fronted roof terrace, but there is also a separate entrance to the terrace at the top of the staircase, which is perfect for rooftop parties and prevents the guests from having to walk through the bedroom and bathroom.
White-washed exposed beams in the master bedroom subtly incorporate that mix of traditional and modern apparent throughout the home, and the air-conditioning units, some of which are stored on the roof, are housed in their own matching white and wooden cupboards. Not only is this more aesthetically pleasing, but it also protects them from the sea air.
The design of the house only gets more interesting as you walk around the outside of it. From the front, you can clearly see the mix of state-of-the-art modern alongside traditional, but walking down the sloped garden, and then looking up at the house from the back, you don’t see any of the Bermuda roof, only clean lines which give it a strong Mediterranean vibe. Basically, each time you move around to a different part of the house you experience a different architectural feature.
“I didn’t create anything new,” says Hocking modestly, “but one of the more unique things about this house is the number of flat, straight lines that are in it. The site commands great viewing platforms, but that was more of a tool to create some of the more contemporary lines of the house. There were lots of fun things along the way—these guys were open to new ideas and trying new things.”
Marrying Bermudian and modern is difficult, but the judges agree that CTX made it look easy and stylish. “I applaud them for doing something different,” says one. “It was great to see the ingenuity. There was a deliberate commitment to the latitudes being tall, even if it was narrow. I felt like they tried to capture light in every direction.”
“It is a cool, young lifestyle house,” they conclude.