When interior designer Celerie Kemble, and her husband Boykin Curry, set out to build Playa Grande Beach Club along a secluded stretch of the Dominican Republic’s north shore, it was meant to be a private hang out for themselves and a select group of friends. Among them, partner investors like the architect Richard Meier, fashion designer Lela Rose and journalist Fareed Zakaria. Luckily for the rest of us, the charming retreat is now open to the public with nine magical bungalows available for rent.
Having full reign over the design, Kemble married the island’s French-Colonial roots with her own upbringing in a Victorian-style manse in Palm Beach, Florida. The result is a whimsical hamlet washed in pastels that beckons one to go barefoot, even if donning a party frock to dinner. The laid-back vibe comes care of vintage rattan furniture, a signature of Kemble’s, along with handmade Dominican floor tiles, carved latticework screens, seashell-encrusted accents and a smattering of floral fabrics by Muriel Brandolini. In a nod to the surrounding jungle, creeping wrought-iron vines adorn everything from lanterns to bed frames.
In the bathrooms, Kemble chose materials that speak to the property’s beachside setting, by selecting rustic finishes that get better with age. Deep copper soaking tubs, for example, boast a timeworn patina as if the salty sea air has slowly made its mark. Showers are lined, floor-to-ceiling, with locally sourced tile and boast large copper rain domes. Walls are clad in painted wood panelling in homage to the island’s architectural heritage. The beauty of these materials is that they take on, and enhance, the mood of their surroundings. Here copper, iron, ceramic, and whitewashed wood accentuate the laidback island vibe but use the same materials in a country cottage and they would feel equally at home.
Photographs © Playa Grande Beach Club, Patrick Cline