I have just returned from the heart of the trade winds, the Maldives.
You may know of my constant references to sea exploration: a romanticised version of pirates & buccaneers. Well, it was time to see for myself the place where Dampier recorded & named the winds that made for swift & speedy traverse from the Phillipines to Mexicos. With ships laden with trinkets, treasures & souvenirs to trade once back in home port.
I am working on the look & design of a luxury resort which does not yet exist. The only restriction at this point, is no structure or building is to be higher than the tallest tree. I am going to tap into my resources & memory of my many years globetrotting to amazing locations, to create an environment that you desire to visit, feel you could move in upon arrival & take home as inspiration to incorporate into your own home & everyday life.
I am going to draw on some of my favourite locations & past interiors including Coqui Coqui in Tulum, Amansara in Cambodia, Donna Karan’s Hamptons House & the Islander Resort in Islamorada plus a good dose of history reference of what discoveries & marvels were being unearthed with the fresh new eyes at the time of the Tradewinds.
It will be a place that sits comfortably in its environment, using local materials & a sense of discovery & surprise (think tree houses, forts, tents) with a healthy respect for the natural surrounds to provide the rambles & paths that will make up the footprint. I will most definitely be using my past palette of the same name, Tradewinds.
At The Society inc. (& throughout my books) I have loved & fondly embraced the use of the pointing hand. You know the classic traditional symbol of indication, to train your eye to a point of interest, a caption or button. Well, I am moving on! I have now fallen in love with another.
The simple classic arrow.
This fascination started from an early age of archery & the paraphernalia that came with it: the leather arm protect, the wooden or bamboo arrow with feathered flight tails, the tightness of the bow as it draws back & you eye the target. My friends at BDDW in NYC seem to share my love & have them on their website (which is well worth a peruse). I believe they have started their own archery club. I would most definitely join if my place of residence was still NYC.
Most recently I have acquired some great arrow signs to sell at the shop as well as purchasing a classic bulls-eye from KioskKiosk that hangs as its own artwork in my space- a homage to my youth & the many hours of darts with my brothers & local gang.
Beach-combing: (my definition) the natural flotsam & jetsam the sea deposits on it’s sandy slopes & in tide lines alone, ready for the find of the casual observer or keen-eyed comber.
On my very recent trip to the Maldives, I was scouting a deserted island that I am in the running to design with uber-cool architect Kelvin Ho. Whilst visiting the island both at sunset & sunrise I picked up these treasures whilst walking the perimeter. Think lots of white sand, pink skies & clear turquoise waters.
One of my very first memories is of beach combing for shells on the wild shores of the beach near my Grandparents farm, on the north coast of NSW. And although this collection of pink tideline-loving kelp shells sits proudly on my cabinet of curiosities, I have bought much fancier shells over the years & am as fascinated by the real thing as by beautiful studies, drawings & lithographs of them.
I am forever searching out shell museums & collections to pour over & use as inspiration for my own display & just to see what wonderful shapes, sizes & colours the world’s cornucopia of shells has to offer.
My friend, Sean, who has worked with the lovely & talented Saskia of Grandiflora has branched out on his own. His new florist workshop has opened on the outer edge of Double Bay.
I had the chance to collaborate with him on my 10-page CountryStyle Christmas Spread for the December issue. This is a sneak peek of some of his masterpieces.
I am fascinated with the history of old houses. I enjoy a day’s excursion whilst travelling or at home to witness how honest materials were utilised, crafted, expected & lasted over time. More often than not, it is not the furniture that interests me (tends not to be original), but the floors, tiles, skirtings, steps, layout etc & I particularly love the servants quarters if it is of that era.
I recently visited Camden House which is of the original Macarthur Estate outside Sydney set in beautiful gardens. At the time it was one of the finest estates in the nation after John Macarthur was granted 5000 acres of the best pasture land on which to build his estate.
On my last trip to NYC I visited the Merchant’s house on 4th St (amazing) & if you are stopping by Asheville, North Carolina- The Biltmore Estate built in the late 1800s by the Vanderbilts is a MUST!!!
I am practicing, with success I may add, the art of the smile. My sister once passed on a trick: if it’s all going pear-shaped or you are just a little lacklustre, practice smiling behind your hand (she told me it was a monks trick but don’t quote me on that). Not only does it feel slightly ridiculous, it does make you feel better & then, subsequently, everyone around you. If you are glum, a smile is contagious & can make you happy or at least offer a slight upturn of the mouth.
So turn that frown upside down (even if you don’t feel like it). I visited The Smile Cafe on Bond St with my lovely friend (& very clever stylist) Kim Ficaro, we had the best breakfast & catch up plus this place has the best food, philosophy, interior, book & packaging. This is a chart from the website to demonstrate the very large variety of smiles available to you.