Ron Shaw Discusses His Favorite Personal Relaxation Spot and Bringing Design to the Sea

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Ron ShawExterior designed by Ron Shaw

1) If you could design any space in the world without having to worry about cost (or any other fathomable limitations), what would it be?

What a world this would be if it were absent of limitations on cost and engineering.  Living and practicing in the Caribbean, particularly the Turks and Caicos Islands, with its unmatchable white sand beaches and turquoise waters, naturally leads one to engage these features in every way practical. The tropics allow us to focus our residential designs on exterior spaces and every opportunity to take advantage of the sea.

Unfortunately however, the sea can be very destructive to the static nature of our industry.  We build homes to stay put, not roll with the waves. If cost and engineering offered no limitations, I would bring the design to the sea and sea right into the design very much the way we bring our landscape right into our living spaces in our tropical designs.

2) Name and describe the room in your home that you most enjoy spending time in, and explain why it’s your favorite. Does the space possess any noteworthy features or embellishments? Does it have a certain theme or color scheme?

My favorite room is not a room at all in the traditional sense. It has a roof but no walls. Bounded by an infinity edge pool, it sits at 50 feet of elevation high on a ridge just 300 feet back from the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. It is our pool deck. What makes it special . . . the pool is elevated at perfect sitting height 20 inches above the deck. This enhances the negative edge feature of the pool by bringing it even closer to the horizon.

While seated on deck furniture, the visual plane of the pool perfectly intersects and solidly connects with the turquoise sea. To further enhance the form and function of the space, a matching 20-inch high wall provides boundary to the remainder of the space.  In doing so it greatly improves the experience by creating positive space that beckons social leisure and interaction. Absence of walls on a deck tends to create negative space intended more for transit than leisure. Add low level walls to your deck and feel how it transforms into a habitable room, which in my case is more desirable than any other in our home.

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