The Bahamas is my past and my present. I?ve lived permanently on Harbour Island for 16 years now but I?ve had a relationship with the Bahamas all of my life; my parents built a house on the neighbouring island of Eleuthera the year I was born. We would stay there every spring holiday with all of my siblings and cousins. While my cousins lived in rather normal Caribbean holiday home, we had to live in a house inspired by an Egyptian mausoleum! My father David Hicks was quite a famous interior designer and the house is as remarkable today as it was when it was conceived. Then when my own David and I saw Hisbiscus Hill for the first time, peeking in the windows together, it was love at first sight. David remembers that I said simply, ?It feels like home.?
What is it about being near the beach that makes you feel so at home?
Living on small dot of an island in the Caribbean enabled me to see more clearly the path I had already chosen, breathing in the fresh air, standing on the bare earth, surrounded by water, taking hold of time. Island life has made me so much more aware of the elements and their manifestations; winds and tides, the phases of the moon. I became inspired by a nation of people at ease with them selves. Beauty in the Bahamas cannot be defined or stereotyped ? it?s not seen as a blessing bestowed upon a few but is with in us all.
Describe Hisbiscus Hill?s setting?
Built in the 1950s the house sits on three acres of rolling garden that stretch inland from the top of the dunes, with jungle on two sides and a valley of coconut palms on the other. The site looks out over the distant rooftops of town, to the harbour and the setting sun.
What inspired you when you were designing the interior?
We wanted something authentic and genuine, embracing the natural environment, so wherever possible, David and I removed the original cement, tile and glass and replaced them with the softer and more natural materials of wood, paper and straw. Travel is one of our most effective sources of inspiration, and we found a large quantity of our furniture, including our dinning table and chairs, in New Orleans. Almost all the rooms in the house are decorated in fairly muted tones, offering a respite from the brightness outside. That is, apart from the odd moment when we broke the rule and painted a staircase bougainvillea pink, upholstered a sofa in dusty watermelon and painted a study in screaming fire-engine red.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
What is your favourite room in the house?
My bedroom, because most of the time my terrible tribe of children do not think of finding me there and occasionally five minutes peace can be had. Our bedside tables in this room offer an opportunity for more table-scaping [that's table landscaping to those not in the know], a disease I caught from my father. Beside these tables is our aptly named Lord Mountbatten Tester Bed (Lord Mountbatten was my grandfather) a large and particularly tall four-poster that sits comfortably beneath the tray ceiling?so called because they look like inverted trays ? that are typical of Caribbean homes. The bedroom walls are covered with hand-coloured tropical bird prints, found in London and dated 1820. Though the house dates from the 1950s, we wanted to feel like it was built in the 1850s and these reinforce the feeling of a period plantation house.
What are your favourite pieces in your home?
The folding travel clock given to me at my christening by my godfather, The Prince of Wales. My scrap books, rows and rows of navy blue leather bound books, holding in them invitations, press clippings, treasured sketches by my children and family photographs. And the large leather stool designed by my brother Ashley, which has been under attack from children and dogs for many years
Where in the world is your favourite place to buy interiors?
Anthropologie, a company I used to model for and now buy home goods from, such as beddings and beds.
When are you happiest?
When I have all my children tucked up safely in bed and the house is quite and calm and I have a moment to look up into our incredible night skies where the galaxy is so clear and I remember how lucky I am.
What does your home mean to you?
Our home is a storehouse of family history, a living archive that holds the treasures of our personal life. It speaks of where we?ve been, who we are and the distinctive style cultivated by our journey together.
India?s properties in the Bahamas are available to rent through HibiscusHillHarbourIsland.com