Across Forever Home

I always like to say that any project in Mustique is akin to a baby turtle that has hatched from its shell and is trying to make it down the beach and into the water without first being snatched up by a seagull or falling prey to some other force of nature; really it’s a miracle any of them make it. This simile is especially apt for Mustique, where a variety of fauna, everything from bats to turtles to manicous (Large, rather easily perturbed rodents that populate the island) will at some point become a design factor. The outdoor is your indoor in Mustique. Because of the perennially lovely weather on the island, no one ever wants to be inside so most of the spaces open up into partial outdoor. This means you have to find materials that can weather the elements on Mustique, especially for a home located on the Atlantic side of the island, as Ocean Breeze is, where the winds can be incredibly fierce.

This wild, untamed quality is actually one of the things I love most about Mustique. The landscape in some ways reminds me of South Africa, where I spent time as a child and which has always influenced my design aesthetic; it’s one of the things that makes the island so special and also so challenging when it comes to designing for it.

Something I can’t get enough of when I’m doing the interior design is lighting. Honestly, I could probably make an entire career out of doing lampshades alone.  Mustique is not exactly a friendly environment for lampshades however, with all of the al fresco spaces at Ocean Breeze, the first few rounds of lampshades I used just didn’t work at all! They would just spin and spin in the high winds — it was madness! I finally realized that you more or less have to batten down everything and started weighing down all my lamps with sand.

To be honest, high winds make me a bit anxious so this was quite a scene for me up at Ocean Breeze. I stayed there almost non-stop during that fall when I was working with Linda and at night the wind would kick up and the entire house would rattle like it was about to come apart. There I would be running around the house in my billowing white nightgown trying to secure lampshades and chasing the furniture at it crashed across the patio. It was like a scene from The Haunting.

Between the elements and the animals, the island just seemed to devour the furniture I was using at Ocean Breeze, which meant that I was always looking for replacements for various things. This had the happy consequence of me spending lots of time in what was then called Across Forever (now my very own Across Forever Home), buying up half the furniture in the store. Little did I know then how big a part of my life Basil and the little shop would become…

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