The island approach: How to bring home Barbados high style

Draw inspiration from the colours, textures and history of the beautiful Caribbean country.

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Every time my husband Jason and I travel to a sun destination one of us always says it: “We should move here!” Tempting, especially when the days are short and snow flies, but the realities of life aren’t quite that simple. So instead, I try to hold on to those feel-good island vibes by using it as inspiration for my designs.

A recent trip to Barbados opened my eyes to the many ways we can invigorate our interiors by incorporating the island’s perfect mix of a tropical palette and European influence. The look is bold and confident and, when introduced in the right ways, reveals a timeless, warm and elegant look.

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The Crane Hotel dates back to 1887 and is the oldest continuously operating resort in the Caribbean. Photo by Alykhan Velji /Postmedia

The Best Beach Colours

The inspiration: Crane Beach and the Crane Hotel

Consistently ranked as one of the 10 best beaches in the world (including by Robin Leech himself in one of my childhood favourites: Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous), Crane Beach sits on the southern coast of Barbados in Saint Philip. The colour combination of the perfect, soft white sand and turquoise water creates a beautiful, soothing palette as a wall colour, without overdoing it.

Perched on the cliff above the long stretch of beach is the historic Crane Hotel, which can boast a history dating back to 1887, making it the oldest continuously operating resort in the Caribbean. The original stone buildings on the property mirror some of the tones of the beach below — a coincidence? We’ll never know, but the colours of the sand and stone beautifully translate to a modern interior.

Sherwin Williams Kestrel White (7516) inspires thoughts of Barbados’ sand and stone. Photo by Supplied /Postmedia

Get the look: Sherwin Williams Kestrel White (7516)

Hunte’s Gardens provide lush inspiration for interior design. Photo by Alykhan Velji /Postmedia

Nature in Abundance

The inspiration: Hunte’s Gardens

You would be hard pressed to find a view in Barbados that wasn’t lush and decorated with florals but one place stands out to this anthophile traveller, and that’s the perfectly curated Hunte’s Gardens in Saint Joseph. Impossibly large palm leaves, rich ferns and jewel-toned florals grow in abundance, including Heliconias (which bear a similar look to Birds of Paradise), purple lilies and orchids.

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Such a wealth of florals calls for a “more is more” patterned wallpaper to match, and why not call in the island’s British heritage with a House of Hackney print? The show-stopping Paradisa wallpaper pays homage to Diana Vreeland’s iconic Garden in Hell room in New York. The look is bold and confident. I would start incorporating this extravagant look by using this in a powder room on all walls, potentially even the ceiling as well, to achieve a complete Barbados garden fantasy.

Paradisa wallpaper in Tourmaline Pink, by House of Hackney London, captures the essence of Barbados gardens. Photo by Supplied /Postmedia

Get the look: Paradisa Wallpaper in Tourmaline Pink, House of Hackney London.

Earthworks Pottery, in Saint Thomas, Barbados, helps you bring home island colour. Photo by Alykhan Velji /Postmedia

No Ordinary Pottery

Inspiration: Earthworks Pottery, Saint Thomas

We love activities when we travel and, in particular, a “crafternoon.” Founded in 1983 by Goldie Spieler, Earthworks Pottery not only offers a fun and informative pottery class experience with the beloved long-time instructor, Pauline, but also has a shop where you can take home a piece by one of their many potters. I’ve always liked mixing tablewear and the variety of traditional designs are the easiest way to introduce some Barbadian culture in your home. Hint: they will ship the creations you make (or buy) home so you can save room in your carry-on for duty-free rum.

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Animal Flower Cave inspires designs with tone on tone blues. Photo by Alykhan Velji /Postmedia

True Blue Tile

Inspiration: Animal Flower Cave

Venture to the northernmost part of Barbados, in the parish of St. Lucy, and travellers are treated to huge Atlantic waves crashing against the cliffs and into the mouth of the Animal Flower Cave. The resulting layers of blue, from the pools to the ocean to the sky, is magical. This tone on tone blue can be recreated through the hand-crafted Turchese tile from Centura.

Strong shading, chipping and relief imperfections give the collection an oceanic look to wrap spaces in, complete with dripping rust and iron for an added natural look.

Hand-crafted Turchese tile from Centura channels the tone on tone blues of the Barbados landscape. Photo by Supplied /Postmedia

Get the look: Turchese Tile from the Gleeze Collection, Centura.

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