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Eddie Irvine – Fall/Winter 2013/2014

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I’m from a big island originally – Ireland – and there are about 150 islands within 15 miles of my house. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to have an island of my own. Back in the day, I loved the program “Robinson Crusoe,” which was made by Germans and dubbed into English; I watched that religiously, because I loved the idea of really simple living and having that kind of privacy.

About five years ago, I went to visit a friend who has an island in the Bahamas that is part of the Exumas. The first day, I didn’t really connect with it. The next day, I thought, “This isn’t too bad.” By the third day, I had fallen in love and was ready to buy an island there. After pursuing a couple of properties, the right one came on the market in 2010, and I snapped it up immediately. It’s named Little Leaf Cay, but I call it Kathleen Cay after my mother and daughter.

For me, there’s nothing that can top the Exumas and their proximity to the United States. I can be on the island two hours after leaving my house in Miami, and the sand and the water are simply the best. Kathleen Cay is down at the end of the chain, where you don’t see tourists. There’s only one inhabited island beside me, but that house is about a mile away, so I can be there for days without seeing anybody. The other wonderful thing about the island is that it’s pristine – a clean sheet of paper that can be developed exactly as I want.

Kathleen Cay is going to be a work in progress for years, but I’m in no rush. All of the solar power is installed now and the first two houses and dock are built. The main house, which is the only one with a kitchen, was recently completed as well. I could never decide which way I wanted to look because the view’s brilliant in every direction, so the houses are octagon shaped. The largest, at about 2,600 square feet, sits on top of the hill, and when you stand in the middle, you see 360 degrees of ocean. That’s the primary living space, and then you walk down to the smaller houses, which just have bedrooms.

Like the waterfront homes I’ve built over the years in Miami, I’m constructing something that I love. At some point down the line, I probably will rent it out, but for rustic stays. When I visit with friends from around the world, we hang out, cook, scuba dive, and spearfish. If you want the high life, you’re in the wrong place – it’s about the simple beauty of the island. Sitting there at night watching the birds flying around is spectacular. Island living teaches you to focus on the smaller things.

Eddie Irvine

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