If I could describe Caribbean architecture and decor in the simplest way, I would call it “divine design.” Divinity is the beauty we find naturally. Caribbean design represents a lifestyle where decor choices are led with intention. Homes and buildings are simply accessories that accentuate the natural mountain landscape, green vegetation, and majestic rainbow of flowers that surround us year-round. Our way of life as Jamaicans is bold, ostentatious, and often acts first and seeks answers later (or not at all). Similarly, Jamaican decor and architectural styles have been generated without the need for official agreement or approval. We color outside of the lines while still utilizing tradition as a trusted foundation.
As you can imagine, the present-day style of Jamaican homes and architecture are an amalgamation of cultures, traditions, and ways of life that have journeyed to Jamaica, both by choice and by force. It is easy to relate our architecture to colonial history, but I like to think that the divine design of the natural, ever-flowing, landscape of Jamaica is truly the catalyst for which all else is manifested. The national motto on the Jamaican coat of arms is “Out of Many, One People,” as a tribute to the unity of different cultural minorities inhabiting our island alongside natives. First the Spaniards, then the English and French, voyaged to Jamaica, and with them brought jalousie shutters, wrought iron detailings, plastered facades, balconies, and ceramic tiling, creating the “creole” architectural style seen across the island.