Ba­hamian Rhap­sody

Safe, pre­dictable pas­tels aren’t re­ally in MILES REDD’S reper­toire. So when the fa­mously fear­less dec­o­ra­tor ap­plies his bold ap­proach to a sun-drenched pal­ette in the Aba­cos, the re­sults are any­thing but ex­pected.

Veranda - - CONTENTS -

De­signer Miles Redd brings mod­ern color to a Bri­tish Colo­nial–style home in Baker’s Bay.

THE 700 IS­LANDS AND CORAL REEF CAYS that make up the Ba­hamas—strung out like a vast comet tail in the At­lantic Ocean be­tween south­ern Florida and Cuba—have long been a ra­di­ant sanc­tu­ary for sun-starved north­ern­ers and ur­ban es­cape artists. Shades of gray come mostly in the form of stingrays and reef sharks, shells out­num­ber peo­ple, and the wa­ter is more de­pend­ably gen­tle than in places like, say, north­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

For the San Fran­cisco–based own­ers of a breezy, Bri­tish Colo­nial–style beach house in the Great Guana Cay com­mu­nity of Baker’s Bay, plans for the home fol­lowed a sin­gle week­end’s visit with their four chil­dren. “By the end of our first trip, my hus­band said he was go­ing to find a lo­cal real es­tate agent,” re­calls the client. “Of course, I thought he was crazy. But we have East Coast roots, so we thought it would be great to get an­other foot back on that coast. And we’d re­ally fallen in love with the Ba­hamian cul­ture and the warmth of the peo­ple.”

Hav­ing built and ren­o­vated sev­eral res­i­dences, she was adept at the process. In short or­der, they en­listed a pair of blue-chip de­sign­ers with whom they’d worked in the past: Bay area–ar­chi­tect Jacki Yahn drafted a gra­cious ar­chi­tec­tural plan that built on the work of Florida firm Mer­rill, Pas­tor & Colgan (the ar­chi­tects of record for the pro­ject), while New York–based dec­o­ra­tor Miles Redd, a mas­ter at con­jur­ing mod­ern rooms im­bued with personalit­y, sought a lively take on tra­di­tional Ba­hamian style. “We told them

“You tend to FEEL BEST in spa­ces where noth­ing is too for­mal, es­pe­cially at the beach.”

we wanted some­thing that felt very open and easy,” says the client. “I don’t want a home that is in­tim­i­dat­ing in any way.”

The re­sult is a clean-lined res­i­dence that hews to the lo­cal ver­nac­u­lar—from the classic stucco ex­te­rior framed with Colo­nial-style col­umns to pas­tel-blue shut­ters and ex­tended rooflines de­vised to cast shade. “They’re like the broad brim of a hat,” says Yahn.

The en­trance es­tab­lishes the an­i­mated at­mos­phere with a graphic zigzag-pat­terned abaca rug be­neath over­size lanterns hand­painted with chevron stripes; Chi­nese urns are set off by walls sheathed with grass cloth. “I al­ways like to put some­thing raw next to some­thing slick, some­thing nacre­ous next to some­thing rough,” Redd ex­plains. “Dis­parate el­e­ments make for in­ter­est­ing dec­o­ra­tion.” The open liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas be­yond are out­fit­ted with deep, easy­go­ing seat­ing up­hol­stered in the soft hues of blue and yel­low that go so well in the trop­ics. “My cry to my­self is ‘don’t make things too fancy’ but I love fancy,” Redd ad­mits. “Yet, you tend to feel best in spa­ces where noth­ing is too for­mal, es­pe­cially at the beach.”

Redd’s trade­mark use of pat­tern is un­leashed in the bed­rooms, in­clud­ing a muted-coral and navy bunk room that sleeps seven chil­dren. It

was the client, in fact, who ini­tially col­lected bags and bags of tex­tile swatches. To­gether, she and Redd sorted through fab­rics and im­ages, choos­ing vi­brant shades of coral, emer­ald, and sky blue to ac­cen­tu­ate each room with en­ergy. “You al­ways want to walk into a bed­room and feel wowed,” he says. “But it also has to be a place where you can set­tle in and re­lax.” In the process, dec­o­ra­tor and home­owner pushed each other in a pas de deux they had pol­ished over the last decade. “She can show me some­thing, and I may say, ‘Hmmm, we can do bet­ter.’ Or I can show her some­thing, and she’s like, ‘Nope.’ I’m her edi­tor.”

One “nope” ul­ti­mately was over­ruled: an ex­u­ber­ant Ik­sel wall­cov­er­ing for a pow­der room that mim­ics Turk­ish tiles. “Pow­der rooms should be out­ra­geous— it’s the one space you want to take peo­ple’s breath away,” the dec­o­ra­tor de­clares. “Miles knows that when he can’t get around me, he goes to my hus­band. I think that’s called an end run,” she con­cedes with a laugh.

Yet as this ge­nial Ba­hamas re­treat proves, Redd is per­fectly at­tuned to his client’s vi­sion for a cheer­ful home im­bued with flair but with­out airs. “I know where my tal­ent stops and where Miles’s magic be­gins,” the client says. “He’s so good about pro­por­tions and scale and just the right touch of whimsy.”

Creep­ing fig climbs the stucco sid­ing of the Bri­tish Colo­nial-style home. Ma­cho ferns grow un­der­neath the deep eaves. Trim color, Cape Blue by Ben­jamin Moore.

In the en­try­way, a lantern cus­tom-painted by Agustin Hur­tado and zigzag abaca rug (cus­tom, Pat­ter­son Flynn Martin) set a lively, trop­i­cal tone. Bench, John Ros­selli An­tiques.

MINE AN­TIQUES FROM EVERY ERA. “We’ve made a lot of great things in the past 300 years, so I hit every auc­tion and mar­ket I can to find in­ter­est­ing, un­usual pieces.” 20th-cen­tury pol­ished green Dun­bar din­ing ta­ble, Christie’s.

LET THE LAND­SCAPE LEAD. “When dec­o­rat­ing out­doors, don’t try to com­pete with na­ture. I like to use one solid color like white, pale blue, or green—a nat­u­ral color you see in the en­vi­ron­ment.” Cush­ion fab­ric, Peren­ni­als. Land­scape de­sign, El­iz­a­beth Everdell Gar­den De­sign.

CRE­ATE SMALL COLOR CON­NEC­TIONS. “This is a sim­ple pa­per lamp­shade that we painted pale blue to help unify this en­try cor­ri­dor with the ad­ja­cent liv­ing room.” Lamp base, John De­rian.

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