Out of Africa
In 2004 Lynne Pemberton was approached to decorate Cove Spring House, a palatial private residence overlooking the Caribbean Sea on Barbados’s Platinum Coast.
Charged with creating a sophisticated yet unpretentious tropical retreat for entertaining family, friends and business associates in casual elegance, Pemberton turned to South Africa for inspiration, where she had recently enjoyed spending time on safari.
Lynne introduced an eclectic mix of animal prints and skins, ebony finishes, leather furniture in shades of creams and browns and a twenty four seater dining table hewn from a single tree, oiled and left natural, to complete the African-inspired look.
“Tropical living is all about a seamless connection from indoor to outdoor, creating spaces for relaxation and al fresco entertaining,” Pemberton says. “To create a home with a subtle scent of Africa that departs from the clichéd Caribbean interior but works with the light coral stone and the intense clarity of West Indian light, a fresh cool palette is preferable, with the occasional splash of colour and animal print.”
Out of the Blue
Situated at the heart of tranquil Sapodilla Bay in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Terrapin Villa is a private residence designed by New York City based interior design firm LKID as the ideal contemporary seafront home for an active, well-travelled family.
The home embodies the principals of indoor/outdoor living. Massive glazed accordion doors enable a seamless transition from the interior to the exterior without barriers.
The colour palette was dictated by the intense azure of the sea. Varying shades of blue were utilized in materials to accentuate the tones of the surroundings.
LKID Founder Lisa Kanning explains how to create the look: “Vivid coral accents create visual stimulation with stark white accents providing contrast. A soft beige and grey backdrop enables the strong hues to invigorate the senses without being too overwhelming and allowing the beauty of the natural vista to truly shine.”
Located on the north shore of St John in the US Virgin Islands, the 11 acre Hawksview Estate epitomizes old world colonial charm and classic Caribbean sophistication. With interiors designed by Twila Wilson, whose work has been celebrated on the front covers of Architectural Digest and Coastal Living, the 4 bedroom property has been designed in perfect harmony with the property’s location in the Virgin Islands National Park and its views which take in over 30 neighbouring islands and cays.
With such amazing scenes of windswept greens and blues from all points of the property, Wilson’s challenge was to create a seamless flow from exterior to interior and vice versa.
Wilson used select pieces of tropical hard wood against neutral-coloured walls and soft cotton gauze curtains to evoke a refined yet relaxed island style that allows the views to take centre stage. “Classic over-sized West Indian mahogany pieces and authentic painted pieces from Brazil, India or Indonesia can help to create a timeless feel,” Twila explains.
To bring the style up to date, Twila adds splashes of colour. “Layer rooms with bright ethnic prints on cushions, a few select pieces of artwork and tropical flowers to complete the look.”
United Design Partnership
To create a contemporary colonial-style finish, London’s United Design Partnership, which was responsible for the interior aesthetic at Parrot Cay in the Turks & Caicos Islands, as well as the Metropolitan by COMO in London, worked with white fabrics and walls to set off a few select pieces of dark wood furniture.
CEO Keith Hobbs explains “an authentic Caribbean contemporary look with a colonial-style finish was achieved with warm colours and soft white cottons and linens covering chairs, cushions and four-poster beds. Further design motifs included teak furnishing, terracotta tiles and Indonesian loungers. Windows were shuttered and bathrooms finished with white tongue-and-groove wooden surfaces.”
He adds “A pared down aesthetic should combine neutral colours of sun-bleached oak and pale Caicos stone with white cottons. Warm woods and cool limestone provide a contemporary backdrop to a unique collection of eclectic furniture, art and ornaments from around the world.”
“The Galleries” on Nevis was originally built in the early 1960s and said to have been owned and used by the CIA for cocktail parties. When Naomi Cleaver – British designer, best-selling author of “The Joy of Home” and presenter of prime time TV shows including Britain’s Best Home and Grand Designs Trade Secrets – set about renovating the 4 bedroom stone and timber plantation house, she wanted to create an atmosphere inspired by the history of the house whilst bringing it up to date.
Cleaver explains how to achieve the look. “Use vintage-inspired colour schemes, such as turquoise and orange. I reupholstered the furniture in graphic fabrics from London’s Berwick Street Market to create a retro feel.”
“Temper bright wall colours with white floors and ceilings. I love the combination of green and white. It provides a natural feel and tranquil effect. Bright wall colours also help to frame outside views, making them look like a painting that evolves as the light shifts throughout the day.”
Jennifer Bradford Davis
Having worked on luxury homes in the USA, Caribbean, South America and Europe, New York-based Jennifer Bradford Davis has been featured in magazines including House & Garden and Town & Country. For one client’s villa on Mustique, she took design inspiration from the surrounding landscape to bring the warmth of the outside in by evoking the beach and earthy Caribbean topography.
If you are looking to create a warm, inviting feel perfectly suited to the Caribbean, “choose sandy colours and look for textured, natural fabrics like cotton boucles and raw silk/linen blends for upholstery,” Jennifer advises.
Jennifer selected hand-rubbed wood finishes in dark and light tones for the furniture pieces, including a vintage chaise lounge from the 1930s to create an intimate reading nook. “Incorporate geometric, wave-like and organic shaped patterns rather than representational motifs,” she says. “Textured wall finishes such as stucco can resemble wave patterns.”
To add visual interest Jennifer displayed a collection of decorative accessories on cantilevered open shelves, including woven Japanese baskets that add an extra layer of warmth and feeling of comfort. “The simplicity of organic shapes used as artwork and accessories is conducive to rest and relaxation,” she says. “Selecting artwork for warm locations can be tricky as most mediums become damaged in the climate. I often use ceramics. They are impervious to the harsh marine environment.”