The house is suspended like an eagle’s nest high above Spanish Water, an inland bay at the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The shore of Spanish Water is a popular residential location. Almost every room in the house has panoramic views of the bay with the three Jerba islands, Caracas Bay beyond, as well as Curaçao’s Table Mountain, Santa Barbara plantation house, Seru Boca estate and the spectacular golf club belonging to the recently opened Hyatt Hotel at Barbara Beach. The house consists of two volumes with large sloping roofs clad with wooden shingles. In a lower section in the middle, starting almost at the front door, a pool traverses the space to end in infinity, as it were. The entrance itself, beside the slope of the hillside, is rather closed in character. However, the other side is a veritable pageant of openness. That effect is accentuated by the soaring height of the upward-sloping roof.
The entire façade of wooden doors fitted with glass and shutters mid-way up the roof can be slid open, creating one large space. This guarantees optimum interaction between interior and exterior. Once inside, you have the feeling of having entered a Balinese house, with influences from the world over. That figures: the owna large bathroom and a live-in kitchen that could serve as a kind of bar. That’s why it’s raised up a little. We also wanted water inside the house – a swimming pool that enters indoors.” “We met the architect Michael Durgaram at a party. He too originates from Curaçao and works in Amsterdam. Our enthusiasm for the house we planned to build was clearly infectious, and he got involved in the project. He fused all our ideas together, basing the design on three sight lines.
The roof was Michael’s idea, and he is the one who put symmetry into the house. The fact that the roof beams continue into the window bars was one of the details in his design. The whole design process was a highly interactive exercise between the architect and ourselves. We just went on until everything was perfect.” He continued: “Another person whose ideas influenced the end result was Willem Moedt. He had initially been asked to build the large wooden doors. But he was infected by our enthusiasm as well, and came up with a whole lot of good ideas.” Every idea that was put forward generated a thorough materials search on the Internet. They had a fairly tight budget, so it was important to discover where the required materials could be sourced ers, Bianca and Roderick Rienhart have travelled throughout the world, acquiring inspiration during their travels for their joint hobby: designing and furnishing houses. Bianca worked for many years for l’Oreal in the Netherlands and Roderick’s job as a business consultant took him to many different, far-flung places. Until the age of eighteen, he lived on Curaçao, and the couple wanted their own home on the island for ‘visits to the grandparents’. An estate agent friend bombarded them with photos of available sites. When he sent them a picture of a location in the Jan Sofat enclave – and especially of its views – they were hooked. The deal was soon clinched, but then plans for a house had to be made. Roderick: “We were inspired initially by a house in Asia that had been featured in OBJEKT©International. Its openness and layout were the basis for this house. We had distinct ideas on indoor and outdoor living in the tropics. I’ve always wanted to be an architect and I made a whole series of drawings for this house on the computer. My feeling was that this was my chance to design my own house. And I put every effort into it. Essential elements for us were entation of our own ideas for the house.
We mainly wanted his advice on colour schemes. We hit it off right away and his enthusiasm was such that he took on the interior design. One thing led to another, because we both wanted to create something attractive.” Lighting was to become an important aspect – something that had initially been near the bottom of the list, proved to need expert insight. Eric Kuster put them in touch with the Dutch company Maretti, which designed a sophisticated lighting plan specially geared to accentuating the lines of the house at night. The house has two large spaces on the entrance floor. One is the ‘sunken’ living room, where, when seated, you have the swimming pool at eye level. The other space contains the dining room and the kitchen. A wooden, free-standing staircase leads downstairs to the four bedrooms, bathrooms and study. The complex also has a guest apartment which is furnished in the same style as the rest of the house.
The most striking feature is the long swimming pool, extending from the entrance right through the house to end in what is literally an ‘infinity’ edge. and then strike a satisfactory deal. Take the tiles for the swimming pool in their specific colour, for example. In the end, they were found at the Amandari resort on Bali. That hotel put them in touch with the local supplier, who was – coincidentally – located near the timber supplier, which meant that the two shipments could be combined. The interior was primarily Bianca’s work. She had been a fan of Eric Kuster’s for years. Bianca: “Friends put us in touch with Eric. I took along a complete scrapbook of many of his interiors. I’d also made a pres