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Tropical Houses: Living in Nature in…

Tropical Houses: Living in Nature in Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Java, Bali, and… (2000)

by Tim Street-Porter

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One of the pleasures of living int he tropics is an awakening of the senses that brings us closer to nature.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0517704625, Hardcover)

Before opening Tropical Houses, hide your passport. As soon as you get a glimpse of these incredible houses nestled among lush tropical landscapes, you'll want to head straight to the airport. Author Tim Street-Porter spent more than 10 years traveling through Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Bali, Java, Mexico, and Belize, meeting the owners of these Shangri-las and taking interior and exterior photos. Tropical Houses offers intelligent, dreamy commentary and over 272 breathtaking full-color photos.

Visit the House of Iseh in Bali and sit in the verdant shadow of the sacred volcano Gunung Agung. Said writer Anna Mathews of the view from the terrace: "Once you have lived in this place you can never be the same again. You are driven mad by beauty." In Jamaica, imagine you're a guest at Good Hope. Originally a plantation, Good Hope is now a 10-room villa that overlooks the Queen of Spain valley and the Cockpit Mountains. To look at these provocative photos is to imagine yourself in another life--one where you lounge on the veranda while white-jacketed waiters quietly replace your empty rum-and-pineapple drink. The owners of these estates have taken great care (at great expense) to create private, tropical paradises. One of the most stunning is Taprobane, an incredible retreat dominating the tiny island of the same name. Built by Count de Mauny-Talvande, the house is "an octagonal villa that allowed for verandahs in every direction; a 1930s folly, which, with small gardens extending through the foliage to the overhanging edges, fully occupied the crest of his island."

The careful architecture and landscaping of these estates "opens a world of sensual experiences." When the sky is gray and you don't have time for a vacation, Tropical Houses will lift your spirits and quiet your wanderlust. --Dana Van Nest

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:19 -0400)

The ambient warmth of the tropics causes architectural distinctions between indoors and out to evaporate, along with the walls that divide them. Houses expand into the landscape, while the sights, sounds, and scents of nature waft through living spaces. Indeed, one of the pleasures of living in the tropics is an awakening of the senses that brings us closer to nature. Internationally renowned photographer and writer Tim Street-Porter has spent more than ten years traveling through Bali, Java, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Belize, and Jamaica. This book's 272 stunning photographs, supported by Street-Porter's fascinating and informed commentary, capture the appeal and the meaning of the enviable dwellings he found in his journeys. It may be the outdoor bath, a sybarite's delight, with sun filtering through a frangipani tree . . . the deep-eaved verandah, where one sips coffee while contemplating the neighboring valley shrouded in early morning mist . . . or the thatch-roofed palapa, its main supports local tree trunks wrapped in strangler vine. These wonderful expressions of vernacular architecture -- many the products of the world's finest architects and designers--nest in jungles, perch over volcanic cliffs, stand placidly beside lagoons, and exist always in harmony with the nature that envelops them. These are real places where people really live, but each seems suspended in a setting that is at once dreamlike and elemental.… (more)

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