Brothers team up in 20-year dream home journey
Warren Fray learnt from his father to always finish what he started.
And so in 2021, as the world struggled through a pandemic, the architect focused on his brother JoJo and his long-held dream of completing the house he’d begun building in 2013.
It was a journey the pair started together, a decade earlier.
“While I was pursuing my exams, I started working on the design of my brother JoJo’s house,” said Warren, a plan examiner with the New York City Department of Buildings who works as a code and zoning specialist in the Brooklyn office.
“When I returned to Bermuda, as a licensed architect in the summer of 2003, I presented him with a completed set of drawings that were stamped with my new architectural seal.”
JoJo had fallen in love with the property as a child. He and Warren would “take a shortcut” through the tract of land to get from their home on Cedar Hill in Warwick, to the beaches on the South Shore.
Once the estate went on sale in the early 1990s, JoJo, the head of W Fray Construction, bought the largest lot.
“After the drawings were approved, his company completed the house’s exterior – the walls, the roof, the windows, the doors, etc – around 2013. But the interiors remained unfinished until we started up again around the beginning of 2021,” Warren said.
Despite the expertise between them, the brothers soon discovered just how much more difficult it was to build in the middle of a pandemic when “many materials, fixtures, equipment, and supplies were either not readily available or not available at all”.
Mindful that it was his brother’s “dream house”, Warren pursued. A two-storey home with a detached pool house, apartment and detached garage, was completed last year and is now being offered for rent.
“The total square footage of the house, inclusive of all buildings, is over 5,000 square feet,” said Warren.
“The main house has three bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms (inclusive of the pool house bathroom), a spacious kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, dining room, living room, and a lower floor entertainment room that has a wet bar.”
The apartment has a living room, “a nice size kitchen on the first floor, and a spacious bedroom with a four-fixture bathroom on the second floor”.
“Both units have washers, dryers, and separate water tanks,” Warren said. “In addition, the main house is built around a swimming pool.
“The interior and the exterior spaces of the house are designed with access and convenience. One can flow through the interior and exterior of the property without interruption.”
The design was a thank you. In 1991 Warren was pursuing his architecture degree at Pratt Institute in New York when his tuition struggles made the news here in Bermuda.
“At that time it was three of us – my two sisters and me – attending schools abroad. That was a bit much for my parents, and I was asked to drop out and work for a year before continuing my education.
“In keeping with my father’s philosophy that you must finish what you started, I knew I had to figure out a way to get back to school in the fall.”
At Pratt he studied under Albert Lorenz who taught him a “pen and ink drawing technique” that he put to work as a fundraiser for his future.
The series of 13 sketches he drew featuring scenes of Dockyard, grabbed public attention after they were highlighted in an article in The Royal Gazette.
“After the article was published, locals and tourists alike contacted me and made arrangements to purchase the booklets.
By the end of that summer, I had made enough money to convince my father to send me, along with my sisters, back to school that fall.”
The article also gave Warren the exposure he needed. He resumed his studies with scholarships from “the Bermuda Government, the Institute of Bermuda Architects, the bank, and Centre Reinsurance Ltd”.
Warren graduated from Pratt in 1995 and then spent a year working in New York City as an architectural draftsman.
It was during that period he was accepted into Sci-Arc, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, where he graduated with a master of architecture degree in 1998.
“Sci-Arc is a world-renowned architectural school known for innovation and educating architects to think outside the box in order to imagine and shape the future,” Warren said. “Coming from an island of limited means, the opportunity to join a school like Sci-Arc, that offered infinite possibilities, was exciting.”
He spent two years working in Los Angeles before moving back to New York. Once there, he began preparing for “the architectural registration / licensing exams”.
Having completed all nine successfully he received his architectural license on February 3, 2003.
Warren married his wife, Maria, in 2006 and they had a daughter, Indigo, two years later.
“One of the main reasons I chose to be an architect was to leave a permanent mark on the world. The completion of this house established this goal for me in Bermuda.
“That is why with every obstacle we faced, with every setback we encountered, I was committed to finish the house. In addition, this house is a testament to what a family can accomplish when they work together towards a common goal.”
The architect remains grateful for all the help he has received from “the companies, institutions and individuals” that helped him move forward.
“And also my family for supporting me throughout my career,” he said. “I would also like to thank all the individuals who worked on this house. A special thank you to my brother, Jojo, for being my biggest supporter. My work on this house is my gift to him for all that he has done for our family.”
To rent JoJo Fray’s Warwick home, contact Monique Bridgewater of Figures Accounting & Management Services: email@example.com; 335-9696
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