To help one have a deeper appreciation of the villa, Cindy and I transcribed a write up of the property that we enjoyed reading in a coffee table book from Tout Bagain Publising titled “Maco Caribean Homes”. It seems as if this book is no longer in print and copies are extremely rare to come by. To that end, I hope they do not mind me offering their piece on Tamarind House here (all photos that I embedded along with the story are the ones I took while staying there). The man who built Tamarind House, Norman Brick, unfortunately passed away last year. The following article was written while he was alive and provides one with a much sense of the Villa’s history, architecture, and art that was Brick’s beautiful vision. Cindy and I thank him (and his lovely partner Nancy) for giving us a wonderful memory of his beautiful home in St. Lucia.
From Maco, Caribbean Homes. © 2005 | Kathy Ann Waterman, and Marie France Aqui
When Norman Brick awakens at Tamarind House and the twin Pitons are swathed in sunlight, with the Caribbean Sea to his right and the island’s lush green hills to the left, he considers himself a very fortunate man.
Brick, who was born in England, built his home amidst two towering green pyramids in St. Lucia, the fabled Twin Pitons. While the design and style are anything but traditional West Indian, Tamarind House embraces the priorities that were in place when craftsman of a bygone age were defining what is now known as Caribbean style. Space, light and air were the most important consideration in the creation of the 14,000-square-foot home.
Brick, former vice president in the United States for what became Eastman Kodak, undertook the construction of Tamarind House from 1978 to 1980. When he retired in 1980, he spent another 10 years as a consultant in Hungary, Brazil and Czechoslovakia, before devoting most of his time soaking up the view from tamarind House.
The walls of his home were constructed from local Belfond stone and Wayne Brown, a Canadian who came to St Lucia in the 60s and who specializes in building one of a kind properties, recalls how the local masons would sit under the tamarind trees on the property, chipping away at the pink, grey and fawn volcanic rocks. The ceiling was crafted from Guyanese greenheart wood, and the doors from red cedar in Brown’s carpentry shop in Soufriere, and the floors were made from terra cotta tiles from Barbados. Large wallaba poles, which were also used as beams across the rooms, supported the roof rafters.
The design centerpiece of the house is the living room and terrace, covering about 2,500 square feet. The living room is sparingly but exquisitely furnished with Caribbean and French period pieces. The uncluttered terrace is shaded by trees and there is but a scattering of tables and chairs
An arched way doorway leads directly to the living room with its vast ceilings. The arches in the living room were re-done three ties before Brick and Brown were satisfied with their curves and height. A flight of stone stair descends to and open courtyard with banana trees and a large, spreading tamarind. A spacious kitchen and three bedrooms adjoin the living room. The two main bedrooms, each with private verandas, face south and consist of only three walls with doors. Nothing is allowed to obstruct the views of the mighty Pitons.
Perhaps nothing reflects Brick’s determination to make the most of his home with a view than his bathroom. It’s modest in size but the doors open to reveal, once again, the might Pitons.
A short stroll from the main building is the cottage and the lodge, each self contained and spacious. They are used to accommodate visiting friends and relatives. A Bio-Flex surface tennis court, which Brick laughingly describes as an expensive mistake, and a rectangular swimming pool, each on a different level, complete what must be one of the most unusual homes in the region.
Much of the furniture at Tamarind House are antiques, such as the tables, armoires, and chaise lounges, which were bought in Soufriere and reflect the period when St. Lucia was under French control. Several pieces came from Golden Leon in St. Kitts and a large armoire in the living room was imported from France. The living rooms sofas and the large trestle dining table were made out of wild breadfruit wool in Brown’s carpentry shop, while other unique pieces were made by St. Lucian craftsman, most notably master carpenter Harris Lionel.
Below is a brief video tour of the private villa Cindy and I are renting in St. Lucia.
Tamarind House is located just off the Anse Chastanet Road,
approximately 1.5 miles from Soufriere and 5 minutes from Anse
Chastanet beach. Covering 8850 square feet of space, this exceptionally
large house is constructed of local stone with high greenheart ceilings
and Barbados tile floors throughout. The main house has three bedrooms
and three bathrooms, while the separate Cottage is a master bedroom
suite with its own living room, kitchen, dressing area, marble
bathroom, king size four poster bed and terrace.
The 35×15 foot totally private pool is situated below the Cottage and has 1060 square feet of terrace and shade pavilion around it. The pool edge is open on one side to give uninterrupted views of the Pitons.
The house also has a professional size tennis court with a Bioflex surface and of course superb views of the Pitons as you play.