Eden Guest House

Cullum & Nightingale, Bequia, Caribbean, 2003


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View towards west, with footbridge over creek in the foreground 

Richard Nightingale (website)     Download Original

  • View towards west, with footbridge over creek in the foreground    
  • View from the north-west    
  • Drawbridge raised    
  • Layering of facades produced by screens and balconies    
  • Caribbean colours used with restraint    
  • Columns that echo the palm tree stems    
  • During casting ceilings are imprinted with palm fronds    
  • During casting ceilings are imprinted with palm fronds    
  • For bedrooms, pairs of screens draw back into walls to open up corners of rooms. Here the corner is opened, a less formal, more expansive approach than large windows or doors. Note random rhythm in balustrade    
  • Bedroom with screen part-pulled back. Note random rhythm in balustrade and in custom-made bed    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground first and second floor plans    
  • Section    

Beach-side guesthouse in a coconut palm grove on a steeply sloping site on the Grenadine island of Bequia in the Caribbean

An existing house was already on the steeply sloping site, but rather than extend, a new building was designed to nestle in the coconut palm grove edging the beach, benefiting from sea-breezes and making the most of views across to Mustique.

The design is informed by the character and location of the palm trees, from the variety and arrangement of spaces, the rhythm of the balustrade, to the use of their leaves in the shuttering of the concrete ceilings. The building can be thrown open; rooms opening at their corner by means of sliding slatted timber walls, or shuttered up tightly against a storm and the drawbridge raised. Much of the furniture used in the house has been made locally.

With the skewed plan, multiple openings and intense shadows creating many shifting views, the building is rich in complexity. The dominant colour palette follows that of the landscape of trees, sand and sea, highlighted with painted concrete window surrounds and shutters. The concrete frame has been left visible, with rendered blockwork, white concrete screeds and oiled timber, which will weather to silver/grey.


  • Completed: 2003
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £330,000
  • Address: Bequia, Caribbean, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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