Palazzo Avino, Amalfi, Italy
The secret behind the lavish, pastel aesthetic of this aptly named ‘pink palace’ is to be “detail-oriented but discreet,” says owner Mariella Avino. “The nature outside the window is the one that takes the lead of the heart and the eyes. Our special 12th-century palazzo is famous for its pink exterior and its light-filled interiors, blending together a traditional Baroque style with modern luxury.” Therefore, Avino looks to curate “an eclectic mix [so] each room differs from the other” when considering statement features. These include “Vietri ceramics and ancient Moorish arched windows that look out onto the alluring sea below. They are reminiscent of a bygone era and provide a dream-like escape.”
Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
For Sim Boon Yang, the architect and designer of Indonesia’s incredible eco-resort Bawah Reserve, taking inspiration from nature is key (which isn’t difficult when the setting is a group of remote, lush tropical islands).
“My top tip for any interior design is to be inspired by your surroundings. Look out the window and use your own environment as design inspiration, and don’t be afraid to bring what you see outside into your house,” he says. “You will quickly notice this at Bawah Reserve – how the exterior informs the interior.”
The lighting here, too, is linked to its spectacular locale. “I would also encourage you to think carefully when it comes to lighting. Think outside the box; it’s a huge feature in any home, and you don’t have to settle for what you can find in the shops,” he continues. “Think about beautiful objects you have or like and how these can be used as lighting. All of Bawah’s lighting is locally made. The basket shapes and weave patterns that can be found throughout Indonesia are a constant source of inspiration. Rattan fish traps and bamboo winnowing baskets have inspired the many lamps found through the resort today. These simple designs have a wow factor, as well as a sense of practicality.”
Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa, Champagne, France
Taking inspiration from awe-inspiring surroundings is a key factor for many interior designers. Combining the French region’s storied history with elements of contemporary luxury, interior architect Sybille de Margerie “aims to balance tradition and modernity” at the Royal Champagne Hotel, which is situated right in the middle of the vineyards punctuating the hills of Epernay and the villages of Champillon and Hautvillers (of Dom Pérignon fame). Her goal is always to design each space in relation to where the projects stands, to “its culture, heritage, natural environment or city vibrations”. Inspiration for this hotel, therefore, was taken from its history as a former coaching inn – where the kings of France stopped on their way to their coronation in Reims – and from the nearby houses.
To achieve this, de Margerie “attaches great importance to the fluidity of spaces, light and comfort… Delicate, natural or transparent materials like blond wood and colored glass are inspired by champagne bubbles [while] vine shoots here and there symbolize nature and terroir.”
Eden Rock, St Barths
For the iconic Eden Rock in St Barths, design is very much a collaborative process, bringing in unique talents and expertise, says owner and designer Jane Matthews. But the most enjoyable part comes at the end, “choosing the trims and soft furnishings, hanging the art, displaying large and small items, finding their places, adding color… and a hint of fun. No two rooms are the same.”
The Mark Hotel, New York
Owner of the elegant Upper East Side hotel Izak Senbahar has two short and simple rules to keep in mind when deciding on interior-design ideas: “Don’t go for form over function or function over form. Hit them both,” he says. “And remember: no shallow sinks.”
Ocean House, Rhode Island, USA
“Find a piece that you’re using in the space that inspires you – whether that’s your surroundings, an artwork, a rug, or even a table lamp,” says interior designer Brittany Borghesi, of the New England seaside resort. “Whatever that piece is, use it as your guide to pull together fabrics, textiles and furniture to bring your vision to life. I also like to add a mix of different textures, patterns and heights in each space. A helpful tip is to add an oversized mirror in a small space to make it feel bigger and to reflect more light into the space.”
The Lowell, New York
“What I try my best to incorporate when decorating a guest room or suite – be it at the hotel or in my own home – is to try to allow for as much natural light as possible,” considers co-owner and design director Dina De Luca Chartouni of The Lowell, a tree-lined townhouse on the Upper East Side. “I think this is especially important for city residences – a bright, airy room feels like a retreat away from the madness of the city. Our guests love returning to the lightness of our rooms after a day among the skyscrapers of Manhattan.”
Cobblers Cove, Barbados
“When making decisions, I always ask myself a) is it comfortable? b) is it practical? and c) is it evocative of where we are in the world and give you a sense of place?” says Cobblers Cove owner Sam Godsal of how she begins the design process for the boutique retreat, where powder-pink interiors are complemented by white woodwork and shades of blue and green.
To evoke the dreamy Barbadian backdrop, Godsal uses light curtains, “so they filter the sunshine and catch the breeze”, and printed linens “with a white or light ivory base, as it gives off a fresh, vibrant feel”. And finally, to bring the outside in, she recommends “using (locally sourced) plants – so, in the Caribbean, [that means] lots of ferns and palms everywhere”.