An enviable destination

 RA Shaw Designs is again garnering international attention for another of its stunning homes. Located on a sublime section of Long Bay Beach on Providenciales, in the exclusive Turks and Caicos Islands, Mandalay is not only another of Ron Shaw’s astounding dream homes, rather it is a 12,233 square foot dream. Pictures are worth a thousand words, they say. In the case of RA Shaw Designs’ latest project, the stunning new Caribbean villa Mandalay, I’m forced to accept these limitations. As you peruse the images of Mandalay, please accept my apologies that simple words will certainly not do this home justice. Because the home incorporates the original foundation of a home built 30 years ago, RA Shaw Designs was able to build Mandalay just 40’ from the ocean.“Today’s codes require homes to be a minimum of 120’ from the sea. Due to the existing structure, we were grandfathered to the 40’ contravention, which is one of the most striking features of the home.” Shaw adds, “It really feels like the ocean is in the house.” This desire to blend the indoor and outdoor spaces is a hallmark of all RA Shaw Designs homes; Ron Shaw’s passion is to make remarkable, liveable homes that take full advantage of the climate of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Interior and exterior living spaces flow perfectly so you scarcely notice when you’ve wandered from one to another “The exterior dominates the interior,” Shaw says, referring to Mandalay’s nearly 7,000 square feet of covered and uncovered outdoor living area, “But I think most would agree, it is as enviable as the interior.” Indeed. Most would, I assure you. RA Shaw Designs understands that the ocean is the star of the show, and has taken great pains to ensure as much undisrupted access as possible. Tempered glass railing is used throughout the home to avoid inhibiting the stunning views of the Caribbean Sea from the second floor. The swimming pool that perfectly matches the turquoise waters of the Caicos Bank is the crowning achievement in the illusion that makes Mandalay appears to drift off into the horizon, rather than end at the edge of the home’s walls. At over 4,000 square feet the home’s water feature is more like a lagoon, and is composed of four pools of various elevations that flow ultimately into one. This astonishing water feature serves as the heart of the villa and seems to bring the space to life, adding a sense of interconnectedness; one part of the home to another, the interior and exterior living spaces, and finally the ocean and the sky. It’s a feat of magnificence and engineering that paradoxically seems like the most natural thing in the world. A Whirlpool spa cascades into the lower pool, and a 100,000 BTU gas fire pit is located at the water lounge. For entertaining, there’s a swim up bar designed for four guests, and four more guests can join them on dry stools. The table top features a chess board and four tic-tac-toe boards built-in, ideal for tournaments. The home also boasts five baths, three powder rooms, and a gymnasium. There are two additional one-bedroom caretaker apartments in the Coach House, and a three-car garage. While this may all sound over the top, RA Shaw Designs has built Mandalay in a manner that leaves the home perfectly balanced. It is as luxurious as you’d imagine, while managing to be a home filled with comfortable and peaceful spaces within which to enjoy family and friends, or the simple joy of solitude. There’s a second custom whirlpool in the private courtyard attached to the master bedroom for example. This oasis will provide the home’s owners with their own space to retire to when they’ve finished entertaining their guests, who will in turn be taking advantage of personal sanctuary in one of four guest bedrooms. Lest you be concerned for the comfort of visitors to Mandalay, three of the guest suites boast their own secluded outdoor showers. With purpose given equal priority to art, RA Shaw Designs creates and builds all their homes to withstand the unique environments they’re made for. In the case of Mandalay, that’s the absolutely delightful climate of a Caribbean island. In order to withstand the occasional bout of bad tropical weather, though, the home is built with the most advanced systems and materials available. The Bermuda Roof System mimics the original technology used in Bermuda for over 400 years, and is one of the most hurricane resistant systems available. The design of Mandalay eliminated overhangs, adding even more resistance to uplift. The home’s superstructure consists of reinforced concrete and masonry to withstand hurricane wind loads, and all doors and windows are powder-coated aluminium which is highly resistant to the corrosion of sea salt blowing in from Long Bay Beach. Whether you’re fortunate enough to visit in person, or you must be content with the photo tour provided in these pages, it’s easy to see that each detail has been considered with design in mind. Everywhere you look is flooded with beauty; but much more than that, with beauty that actually functions. RA Shaw Designs’ Mandalay is a home that is sure to delight your senses and your soul.
 WHY TCI In addition to its enviable year-round warm temperatures, over 300 days of sun per year, the requisite palm trees and award-winning startlingly white sand beaches, the Turks and Caicos Islands offer a variety of other advantages over other potential retreat locales. A modern medical facility run by Interhealth Canada is another feature that can’t be overlooked. No income, property or estate taxes; an English speaking population; and the US dollar as the official currency, are all incentives to make your second home in these islands. Just 90 minutes from Miami, with direct flights from many other US cities and even a couple of Canadian ones, getting to a home away from home is an easy trip.