Living in the Landscape
With astounding views of the mountains and the sea, this Caribbean “great house” provides painted Judy Ann MacMillan with endless inspiration.
Built in the 1800s as the “great house” for a modest cattle and pimiento farm, the small, wooden home has grown over time, with a series of small additions.
At an altitude of 1,900 feet, artist Judy Ann MacMillan’s home in St. Ann, Jamaica, has quite the view. With the Blue Mountains out back and the Caribbean stretching endlessly in front, it’s the picture of paradise.
Much of the mahogany used in the house came from trees on the property. In its heyday, it had a schoolroom on the lawn, a grass tennis court, and space for a family of 11.
Judy Ann purchased rattan furnishings for the morning room to give the space Colonial style. “The room was dark, and the furniture was dark, so light walls wouldn’t work,” she says. She chose a “Florida palm” green and added raw umber to deepen it.
In the dining room, Judy Ann’s artwork picks up the red of the walls. Interior windows show where former owners added to the house.
Judy Ann made a few minor changes―such as adding a kitchen. “In Colonial days, kitchens were outdoors,” she says. “So I turned a burned-out, abandoned room behind the dining room into a kitchen, and cut a new doorway.” She also installed a row of simple white cabinets and accented them with red details.
In her attic bedroom, Judy Ann went for a simpler approach, letting mahogany floors lend warmth to the white interiors. “I love bedrooms that are almost empty because I find them peaceful,” she says.
She chose to splurge on the master bath. Previously, she used the guest bath on the second floor. Finally the prospect of convenience outweighed a desire for preservation, and she eliminated one bedroom to create her bath of “pure luxury.”