Chelston on Grape Bay Beach
Graced with an impressive provenance and located just minutes from Hamilton, this grandly proportioned 14-acre Bermuda beachfront estate was the subject of a carefully orchestrated three-year renovation by a world-class team of international architects, builders, and craftsmen. The result is a private family compound of the finest caliber. In addition to the 10,000 square foot main house, accommodation includes three, three-bedroom guest cottages; a two-bedroom staff cottage, as well as a poolhouse, and a charming beach pavilion. Gated entry, a 75- by 40- foot, zero-edge pool, a croquet lawn, acres of rolling lawns for myriad recreational pursuits, and the pink sands of Grape Bay Beach are among the many amenities. Chelston now stands among the most significant estates in the world. .
Originally designed and constructed between 1939-1941 for Carbon Petroleum Dubbs (an innovator of the ‘cracking’ process through which crude oil is refined), Chelston was conveyed to the Government of The United States of America in 1964. For over 30 years, the property served as the official Bermuda residence of the United States Consul General. The list of distinguished visitors to Chelston is lengthy. In addition to President George Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle, guests included Senator John Kerry, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Senator John Breaux of Louisiana, General Colin Powell, former Democratic Presidential contender Michael Dukakis, and Mrs. Dukakis, former Secretary of State Edwin Meese, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, President Ronald Reagan’s daughter Maureen, newspaper columnist Ann Landers , actor Michael Douglas, and model/actress Brooke Shields, to name a few. Chelston is especially well loved in the Bermuda community for its memorable July 4th extravaganzas, at which more than 2,000 guests gathered each year to celebrate America’s birthday.
Special Features: Chelston is singular in Bermuda as a large-acreage, fully updated, private beachfront compound located within a five-minute drive of the City of Hamilton. The main house occupies a commanding position approximately 200 feet above sea level with awe-inspiring views of the Atlantic Ocean, the City of Hamilton, and the gardens and sweeping lawns that comprise the estate.
Exemplifying understated elegance and incorporating the best of traditional Bermuda design, the main house, on three levels, is light-filled and spacious. High ‘Bermuda tray’ ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, multiple sets of French doors, generous room proportions and a general consistency of finishes throughout the estate are Chelston’s hallmarks. A pleasing floor tile, reminiscent of seashells, serves as foundation for many rooms. Also throughout the estate, the furring of Bermuda stone walls has enabled the use of wallpapers – a true rarity in Bermuda.
There are many beautiful custom finishes throughout the property, for example:
The graceful dining room wallpaper was sent to China to be hand-painted especially for Chelston. A subtle Italian wall paper is also used extensive throughout the estate.
A salt-water aquarium with a living coral reef highlights the library.
The lower level includes a well-equipped home cinema, a family room and a gym, as well as a two-bedroom/two bathroom manager’s suite.
Subtle artisan glass frames not only the magnificent yew-wood front door but also the entrance to the estate’s horticultural office.
On the terrace beside the nearly Olympic-size swimming pool, a rare Chinese stone fireplace in the shape of a five-armed dragon makes the flower-draped pergola enticing throughout the seasons.
And overlooking the pink sands and turquoise waters of Grape Bay, the little pavilion known as Obsipo is a welcoming retreat with a wood-burning pizza oven for beachfront lunches and dinners.
Photo Credit: JP Rouja/LookBermuda and Dan Forer