The History of Bellevue Barbados
Bellevue was known as Anton Hall in the late 18th century, and was probably built between 1735 and 1750. The 60 acre plantation had its own mill and boiling house, whose foundations are near the edge of the gully. Owners of Bellevue Barbados over the centuries reflects classic Barbadian plantations names such as, Dowdings, Connells and Collymores.
Dr. Arno Trieloff, who came to Barbados from Germany, bought the house in the 1960's for his family. Developers Paul Andrews and Simon Briggs bought the property a few years ago. With help from property managers, Realtors, Ltd., they kindly allowed us to open Bellevue Barbados for showing.
The original house would have been Georgian. This set of architectural styles is named for the British monarchs, Georges I-IV, who reigned in continuous succession from 1714 to 1830. Usually built on a rectangle, sometimes with short wings Georgian architecture is characterized by its proportion, balance and symmetry. Simple mathematical ratios were used to determine the height of a window in relation to its width or the shape of a room as double cube.
The term "Caribbean Georgian" was coined to describe the many tropical adaptations to this style that revolved in the West Indies, the use of local limestone, adding on verandahs and galleries, raising the house over a full basement, placing the kitchen outside or on the periphery of the main block imposing exterior stairs, using push out jalousies or shutters all of which can be seen at Bellevue Barbados.
Bellevue Barbados pedimented portico seems to have been lengthened at a later period to make it a small room, with a corresponding space below, and the stairs and entrance portico on the Southwest side definitely later additions didn't become popular until after the devastating 1831 hurricane.
The most recent changes are in the verandahs ,which were extended from small balconies and wrapped around two sides of the house; Goodbye symmetry, hello outdoor living!
Bellevue Barbados The House
Stone lions flank both short staircases leading to the sunken ground floors. Go up instead, where you'll tread the original clay tile steps and into an open vestibule made light by lattice and pickled wood. Inside the house itself a wide space, with its original windows and new purple heart floors, opens before you. It has been two years since Bellevue Barbados opened.
If you head to the right and continue counterclockwise. First you'll encounter the formal living area. Green and cream with blue accents are the colours here, with fabrics depicting traveler's palms and bananas. Old china, model sailing ships, and photographs of old Barbados decorate the room. Among the antiques, you may spot a pretty pie crust table, and old mahogany chest, a grandfather clock, a Victrola, and a curvy rocking chair with carved detailing, Jalousied French doors lead onto broad verandahs.
Behind the living area is a breezy corner bedroom in pale pink with a pineapple motif. Like most of the other bedrooms here, it has the traditional pickled pine tray ceilings and simple off white draperies. An old wardrobe has modified bun feet. French doors lead onto broad verandahs. The end suite bathroom, like the others, features granite and dark wood.
At the ample rear of the central space, there is a pretty, French provincial looking chest of drawers painted in blue with roses, a sky light, and under it a 1930's or,40s chandelier to light the staircase. The next bedroom has an old mahogany wardrobe and lighthouse themed lamps. Something we noted here is the windows. It is rare to see both wrought iron and shutters, and most wrought iron in Barbados tends to be fixed in position. In this house, it can be opened. As in most houses of this era, there are not only louvered external shutters but solid interior ones that fold out of the casement for additional protection from storms or other threats. A private balcony looks over the pool and servants quarters.
You enter bedroom three through its dressing room. Here the floor has changed to a stone like tile, and the motif is birds. Again, there is a private balcony with its own perspective on the suroundings. You can see the sea from here. Take note of the light switch design detail.
Done in beige and browns, the next bedroom faces front. It too has a wardrobe rather than built in closets, and the chair is an interesting piece.
Downstairs is a zone of exposed coral limestone walls and cool, painted cements floors where you can feel the solidity of the building. You enter a comfortable family room whose floor is enlivened with a mosaic by Melanie B depicting the island and some of its features, including Bellevue Barbados. There's a sporty motif here, with numerous visual references to polo, a map of the West Indies, and pineapples (the Caribbean symbol of welcome) are also in evidence.
Let's go counterclockwise again. At the rear of the building, through the arch, you'll find a snug bedroom that has doubled as an office and looks onto a walled garden. Also at the rear, turn another way, step up, and you'll find another cozy bedroom. As you might guess from the presence of a fireplace chimney, this used to be the kitchen. Now, the flue actually adds to the ventilation. Outside the bedroom is a lovely sconce light in the shape of a sand dollar.
Back in the family room, to the right, near the charming little portico entrance, is an old photograph of then Princess Elizabeth and her family. Interesting tables include one for games and one with a slanted, felt inlaid top, whose purpose we would like to know. Through an arched doorway there is a little study under the front steps. We think this strong, shelter would have been used originally as a hurricane shelter. In here is another historic photo of Elizabeth, this time at her coronation.
Next is a large, formal dining room whose table seats 14. Prints from Corrie Scott's humorously named "Tropical Carriage" series adorn the walls. Note the flattened arches, whose stone outlines have quoin details. Through one of these arches, another mosaic is visible, and beyond this is a bar. French doors lead out to the lower verandah.
Adjoining the dining room is a spacious kitchen, whose frosted glass doors admit light but screen the work area from view. Two brightly painted, rustic wood and rush chairs add a touch of whimsy to the professional demeanor of the equipment. Off to one side is another little room, probably used as a yam cellar. From the kitchen, you can go outside to see the mosaic and wander the grounds.
Through the driveway gates at the left of the house, there are anthuriums, a cordia tree with Vermillion blossoms, bay leaf and lignum vitae trees, a so called sago coconut palm, and pride of India. Orchids grow on some of the tree trunks, but may not be in flower now. There is also a watering tank, and old sugar boiler, a brick barbeque, and the rotting remains of an old cart, likely a "spider" used to transport rum barrels. With its pencil lattice and curly cornice mouldings, the nearby downstairs entrance adds to the charm of this area.
The recently remodeled building to the side was once the stables and is now a two bedroom cottage with verandahs extending down both long sides. The beautiful wood used for flooring is kabakalli, another tropical hardwood common to Guyana. The cottage features coral stone interiors, high-peaked pickled pine ceilings, and an open plan kitchen and sitting area. Renovation was done by Axis Caribbean.
The grounds of Bellevue Barbados have paths and benches, so do explore. The gravel path leads to a pond full of water hyacinth.