The Playa Grande Beach Club
The common structures and bungalows at the Playa Grande Beach Club have been created to reflect the distinctive vernacular architecture of the Dominican Republic. The plans are based on century-old structures discovered and documented through years of investigation across the country. Though the outside paintwork on the bungalows is uniform and white, each bungalow has varying elements of vintage furniture and the colors and details on shutters, fretwork, and floor tiling is distinct. Decorative features have been fashioned by local artisans.
The forms of the smaller bungalows have been inspired by similar hip-roofed houses with dormers or monitor roofs and broad verandas. The larger bungalows, triple-gabled two-story structures, also display Dominican details such as tragaluz (patterned woodwork) transoms over the doors, bargeboards at the eaves and scroolwork ballustrades. On both bungalows the siding is riven, hand-planed tabla de palma (palm wood) and the roofs are corrugated zinc. The verdigris copper and unlacquered brass hardware, lighting, tile and floated pigment concrete floors are other features are adopted from traditional Dominican forms and have been selected for their ability to age and patina. Decorative elements, appliances and furnishings were selected to layer spots of bright color over neutrally toned natural elements (honey colored cane, bone, horn, seed glass, seagrass throw rugs, chalky cream coralina, greyed teak, weathered zinc, and painted and warn wicker). The larger pieces of upholstery are slipcovered and were selected for durability and simplicity. Throw pillows, accessories, and craft-based art do just the opposite.
The interior design of each house is irregular due to thoughtful curation of unique vintage elements but the intention is to keep each house consistent in an overriding attitude of open-air-ness, character, and casual fun. Even the small bungalow is set for casual entertaining. A stay in the bungalows evokes a feeling of a beloved family beach home worn by gentle use through the years.
In keeping with period Dominican houses, the walls of both bungalows are clad in horizontal centerbead pine siding. Particular attention has been given to classic fixtures for the kitchens and baths. These comfortable bungalows are provided with air-conditioning, but given the moderate North Coast climate, in most cases ceiling fans and tragaluz provide sufficient ventilation. In addition, the broad french doors and windows are equipped with shutters and blinds to allow an easy flow between the high ceiling interiors and the shady, expansive porches that girdle them.
Although the bungalows are grouped as a community adjacent to the beach and the Beach Club, landscaping has been a priority. Most of the existing vegetation has been preserved and newly augmented with a sympathetic compliment of native trees and flowering plants to provide a tropical backdrop and maximize privacy as much as possible. In this first year, it is still growing in.
About Celerie Kemble
Celerie Kemble’s childhood was in many ways a design tutorial spent around construction sites, antique stores, and in the unique homes designed by her mother and founder of Kemble Interiors Mimi McMakin. A graduate of Harvard, Celerie worked briefly in film production before quickly succumbing to what she calls a compulsion for design and the creation of thoughtful interiors that “put the person in the place.” Partnered with her mother in Palm Beach, Celerie established a design office in New York City and has spent the past fifteen years cultivating a portfolio of much publicized residential and commercial interiors that are as unique and diverse as her international clientele.