Eterea is a homestead region designed by Coqueta Georgia that again offers visitors a sense of tranquillity and release, coupled with a certain sense of magic and a gorgeous sprinkling of artistic expression.
A Homestead region, Eterea may initially present itself to new arrivals as just another island garden; but looks can be deceiving, particularly first looks. The landing point sits on a north facing cliff, looking out over a shallow bay, the shoulder of the island rising behind it, steps offering a way up through arched trees to where a dodecagon greenhouse awaits.
Glass-sided and domed, and with a grand columned entrance, this greenhouse is delightfully furnished. Tall bookcases stand sentinel on two sides, wheeled steps placed for the convenience of those wishing to browse, two cosy arrangements of easy chairs, sofas and low tables at their feet. A gramophone and an old bakeite telephone give a sense of age to the setting, while a harp, grand piano and harpsichord vie for the attention of the musically inclined.
Bric-a-brac throughout gives this setting a decidedly cosy feeling, and its not hard to imagine it as a centre of conversation and companionship with a slight Bohemian edge, the drapes slung from the high dome helping to cool it during the day, and the light of the high chandeliers and other lamps spilling out through the wall walls in invitation to others to come join with the music and conversation by night.
The greenhouse offers the first clues to the artistic nature of the region as well as it sense of magic. A finely-crafted boat floats over the grand piano, suspended beneath a pair of translucent balloons, whilst paintings lie stacked in corners or behind bookcases and some of the chandeliers also float serenely beneath the glass dome without any physical connection. It is here that some of the motifs found throughout the rest of the region may first be evidenced: the religious in the form of a swing with angel’s wings, together with a reproduction of the Netherlandish (Antwerp Mannerist) triptych The Last Supper (circa 1515-1520); the fantastical (the aforementioned floating boat), and the artistic.
Outside, this grand pavilion is surrounded by a garden of wild flowers and shrubs, whilst shaded patios offer more places to sit (including playable table-top games), while the island drops away from this high vantage point to curve west and north to its far headland. A long dogleg of stone steps runs down to the rest of the island, and from the top of the steps, it is possible to spot another of the island’s mystical elements as a great blue whale (somewhat popular among region designers) swims through the air, slowly circling an upland area just shy of that far headland, a smaller garden on its back.
The path running along the spine of the island leads the way past several areas where explorers can sit and appreciate the setting, together with multiple opportunities for photography within the little vignettes that have been carefully, but naturally set out along and just off the route. One of these, an octagonal greenhouse, sits as both a cosy retreat – cats allowing! – and a place from which to observe the local owls. Onward, the path passes under the circling Whale (mouse over it and sit if you wish to join the ride), passing above a small beach cupped in the island’s arms as it does so. before descending to where an old and damaged wooden pier extends out into the shallow waters that cover the bulk of the region.
It is on and over this water that the magical and artistic elements of Coqueta’s design flow together, fusing into a captivating scene. Small islands are spotted over the water, three little more that rocky plinths for statues, one as ribbon-like sandbank, and the largest the home to a fresh-water pool. Further out, aged board walks raise and fall above the waves, suggesting a path to be followed, a twin line of telegraph poles pointing the way to them.
Here, caught in rising sea mist is a fabulous mix of floating boats under balloons – larger versions of the one in the greenhouse -, chairs backed by angel wings floating flower lanterns and coloured umbrellas. Three spiral stairways of stone rise to coloured doors. ladders and strings of chairs alongside them offering opportunities for poses. Beyond the green door a wooden board walk spirals stairway-like up to the heavens, crowned by a chair that again sprouts angelic wings and has a halo floating above it.
Words don’t do justice to this northern element of Eterea, offering as it does such an expressive mix, it needs to be seen to be appreciated, whilst the region as a whole is marvellously presented and rich in detail, with multiple opportunities for photography.
With Thanks to Shaun Shakespeare.
- Eterea (Sexy Isle, rated Moderate)