Author: Kathryn Fox
9 Apr 2014
Imagine a paradise where the sun shines 300 days a year, the temperature hovers around 28°C, palm trees sway in gentle cooling trade winds, and the beaches are pure white sand coupled with perfect turquoise seas. Of course, this paradise should also feature a modern healthcare facility, shopping, entertainment and restaurants that rival those of any major city in the world.
Why stop there? Let’s add no income, property or estate taxes to the list, and a welcoming, English-speaking population.
If you think this all sounds too good to be true, you’ve never been to the Turks and Caicos Islands. With daily direct flights from several major cities in North America and a weekly direct flight from Heathrow, the decision to create a home away from home in the islands of this idyllic tropical paradise has never been easier.
The centre of development and tourism is the island of Providenciales, which is also home to RA Shaw Designs, a locally based design and architectural firm. When it comes to the creation of an island retreat, the multiple award-winning company is rapidly becoming the go-to firm for those who long to turn their dream home into reality.
The firm’s founder, Ron Shaw, has earned a reputation for creating amazing homes for a diverse client base throughout the islands. “I am passionate about single family residential design, and consider myself blessed to have been able to establish a successful architecture practice here in the Turks and Caicos Islands,” says Shaw.
“I have focused on the design and construction of some incredible residences. It has been an honour to develop relationships with our clients, to uncover their hopes and desires for a Caribbean home, and to then build their dreams. That is what continues to drive my creativity and enthusiasm.”
Shaw is also proud of how efficient the homes his company builds and designs are. “Green is just normal here. We try to maximise the amount of rainwater we collect”
Laying claim to many of the most beautiful vacation villas and residences in the islands, Shaw is proud of the homes his firm has designed and built. He has a particular fondness for the 30,000sq ft home Emerald Cay.
“The project took seven years from concept to completion,” he says. “I worked very closely with the clients for many years. What made it so significant to me, [was that] the finished project did not differ one element from my original concept.”
Though exciting, the project is not typical of typical clients’ requirements. “Our niche is single family residential, and an average size home costs from two to five million dollars to complete,” says Shaw.
A true lover of the island’s way of life, Shaw has expanded to other islands in the Turks and Caicos as well as other Caribbean nations – though the Turks and Caicos Islands remains his home. “It has beautiful beaches, a phenomenal climate, a great society, a vibrant tourism market, and amazing investment opportunities,” he says.
Style and substance
Although each of the homes designed and built by RA Shaw Designs is unique and borne out of a strong collaborative process with the individual client, there are some things the firm’s fans have come to expect from each of its projects.
The most striking of these hallmarks is a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor spaces. Taking full advantage of the climate of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the company’s remarkable homes are as liveable as they are inspired.
Each of Shaw’s designs successfully meld interior and exterior living spaces that flow into one another, making the most of the stunning turquoise backdrop, while showcasing the beautiful topography and vegetation native to the islands.
“Comfortable and protected outdoor living spaces are more desirable than interior spaces,” says Shaw. Although often the most striking features of an RA Shaw design, especially to sun-deprived Northerners, outdoor spaces typically cost a fraction of interior spaces. This fact allows the firm to imbue each of its designs with a feeling of openness and vastness within budgets that are often surprisingly manageable to its clients.
Shaw is also proud of how efficient the homes his company builds and designs are. “Green is just normal here. We try to maximise the amount of rainwater we collect, so we build cisterns,” he says.
Another common element in many of Shaw’s designs is the unique, Bermuda-style rooflines he favours. RA Shaw Designs is the Turks and Caicos only dealer of authentic Bermuda roof systems.
“The original Bermuda roof was made of coral stone slate, stacked and layered just like you would shingles. They have an excellent hurricane rating and are UV reflecting, rather than simply absorbing heat,” says Shaw. “The temperature of one of our roofs in the hottest sun is only two to four degrees above ambient.”
Because many of the owners of these amazing homes don’t live in the Turks and Caicos Islands year round, they often choose to rent the homes out to short-term guests. Shaw’s designs have proven to be an easy sell to vacationers. “Many of our designs are now renting into 2016,” he says.
Concept to completion
“My architecture changes night to day depending on the client,” says Shaw. Many of his clients don’t arrive with a complete picture in their mind as to what their home should encompass. Part of RA Shaw Designs’ success is their ability to draw forth from the individual what is important to them and translate that into a design.
“If clients have a feeling, I prefer they just verbally tell me the style of house that they like. If they have no idea, they can clip pictures of homes from magazines.”
Whatever vision the client comes to him with, Shaw is confident on his ability to deliver results. “Give me some guidance, I’m an excellent listener,” he says. The testimonials from RA Shaw Designs’ many happy clients as well as the growing showcase of awards – including European CEO’s Best Architect and Construction Firm 2014 – are proof that the firm does indeed turn their clients dreams into reality.
Whether you’re planning an investment or a personal use vacation villa, the combination of sun, sand, sea, and an RA Shaw Designs home is an attainable dream, and one well worth pursuing.
For further information, please phone 1-649-941-4394 or email firstname.lastname@example.org