Whenever I travel it makes me sit up and take notice of the design that is around me and I wonder if it is possible to bring some of those elements back to good old Central Alberta. What I have realized is that the setting makes up as much of the design as the actual structure. Some homes are built into mountains and others are tucked away in valleys rendering them at once very charming.
Tropical décor always catches my eye and I must admit I’m a sucker for thatched grass rooflines whether it is on a beach or on an idyllic movie set in the rugged countryside.
That spells out a whimsical and wonderful design element that never fails to fascinate me. I don’t see a trend of grass huts coming to our province anytime soon but there is still room for some island style in your home.
I’m not saying that we all need to run out and buy tacky shirts and throw sand on our bedroom floor, think more refined island – Tommy Bahama style. Cool white linens flowing freely from a teak framed poster bed with a dark coffee roast handscraped hardwood floor. Wicker or grass elements can be added in light fixtures or ceiling fans and small pieces of furniture such as nightstands or side chairs. All around you are cool coloured walls and bright open windows that bring in the sky as you sit and relax in your tropical paradise.
There is always room for the whimsical in a subtly decadent room such as this – throw in a colourful print or poster or a few outrageous parrot inspired cushions into this refined neutral palette.
Your imagination can go haywire in this setting whether it is a bedroom, living room or outdoor retreat. If you keep your pops of colour to cushions and a few accessories and drapery it is easy to change the look and feel of the room (even seasonally if you prefer).
The fundamentals of island style are in the details; natural elements such as wood (teak/wicker/cane/bamboo) all contribute to the feeling of the tropics. Natural dark stone on fireplaces and in bathing areas will echo the lava stones of Hawaii. Consider adding a small water feature or water fall to your bathing area surrounded by natural or silk tropical plants to inspire you to relax in style – Island Style!
Don’t forget to look up! Island style is also expressed in steeply pitched rooflines with natural grasses and open wooden beams. Even though we need to have the firm protection of shingles outside our home, that shouldn’t stop us from having an interesting woven ceiling inside. If you find this idea too out there, try the addition of a ceiling fan with large wicker or linen fabric paddles which will add to a serene room while also having a very cool function.
The increase in tropical colours is giving me fresh inspiration for an island inspired interior; test drive mango or papaya or starfruit coloured items in your home for that additional wow factor. Go for whim and whimsy in your interior as you embrace your island goddess as you design your perfect tropical interior.
Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.