Master of the House

What began as a project that was meant to involve making a few little adjustments to the Lundin’s beautiful villa Alumbrera quickly snowballed into redesigning all of the various parts of the house. Eight years later, I have worked on every corner of the grand villa from the bathrooms to the guest rooms to the pool to the landscaping.

This villa was my third project in Mustique and I felt I was finally hitting my stride. I had still been under Peter Marino’s excellent tutelage while I was working on Ocean Breeze and had gotten my bearings doing a project on my own at Yemanjá, but this project was just on such a massive scale. More than any client before, Eva put a great deal of faith in me to head up all of the design work for the house. I not only did my regular interior work but managed everyone involved with making improvements on the home.  I simply adored the Lundins from the start; they have always been very supportive of me and my career. Being Swedish they had a particular affinity hiring and supporting the work of women: they even had a female butler who ran their house, something that is almost as rare on Mustique now as it was in 19th century England.

Though I had worked with a variety of architects, electricians and other skilled tradesmen on the other two villas, Alumbrera was where I really learned to manage a project from soup to nuts. The Lundins put a lot of confidence in me and my ideas and after two other houses on the island, I found I had the courage to run with things.

The Lundins traveled frequently so I was often at the villa on my own with whoever else was working there. It was then that I had to learn delegate as I couldn’t possibly micromanage the work that every tradesmen was doing on a home that size.

It’s always easy enough to find people who like the idea of working on Mustique. When people first arrive to work on the villas, they tend to be a bit starry-eyed at the unbelievable beauty of the island. They think they’ve landed a job in paradise! The honeymoon only tends to last a week or so as they soon realize how difficult it is to get things done, how few natural resources the island has and what a production it is to get a project completed.  I’ve seen some situations with workers that have gone spectacularly awry, like the married house painter who fell in love with the butleress and refused to leave the island, or the tile worker who had a bit too much sunset rum (which you really don’t want to mess with unless you have the fortitude of a local) and hallucinated that he was gorilla. But mostly I’ve worked with spectacularly talented craftsmen at Alumbrera, some of whom I will tell you all about in my next post!

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