the places I visit on the island paradise where I live

Mar 27, 2016

Tropical Paradise: French Caribbean Design Part 1

Cozumel is not a big place, especially when you take into account the ex-pat community. Those of us that speak English (hate to say it) but we tend to stick together a bit. There is nothing like having a conversation in English after speaking Spanish all day with my employees. 

My husband is Mexican and we obviously have many Mexican friends and family, but due to the size of the community and the warmth of the island, often my American and Canadian clients become not just clients, but also friends. Sometimes the friendship lasts only the length of the job. With others, it lingers and grows. My relationship with my clients, Karen and Howard, is one that has grown in the years we have known each other - through various condo projects. 

Moises and I consider them good friends. They stayed with us in our house during Hurricane Emily, a bit of a nonevent but that is always best with hurricanes. We have helped them and they have helped us. 

This is a glimpse of their beautiful condo that we designed together - Karen was the one with the vision. I worked to help her accomplish it. In the next post, I will explain more of the design process that transpired.

Upholstered headboard and bedding made in our shop.

Sofas upholstered in our shop in a cleanable suede cream microfiber fabric.
Notice that we used accents in blue and green on a pale cream background. Walls are painted in a pale blue-green tone, even the hand blown glass lamp is in the aqua tone.

Karen wanted the living area to be a place where her children and her grandchildren could visit. She wanted elegant but we searched for durable fabrics that are washable. The suede on the living room sofas is light in color but cleans up great.

Painted chest with silver mirror from Uttermost.

Drapes and sheers made of imported Robert Allen fabrics.

Glenmary chairs from Hillsdale Furniture.

Karen taught kindergarten and still retains an innocent and childlike wonder of the beautiful things and people around her. Working with Karen was a breeze as she worked with interior designers in the past and welcomes new ideas, but she also had a vision of what their new home was to be, a second home for the entire family as it grew. I met their daughter early on and have watched as she got married, have her son and watched him become a big boy!

Entertainment unit opens up to reveal hidden TV and stereo equipment.


Mar 26, 2016

Tropical Paradise: French Caribbean Design Part 2

Part 2 in a case study in French Caribbean design

Karen had a vision from day one of what she wanted her new condo to look like and she cut out dozens of photos of designs she liked - from cabinetry to door hardware, paint selections, chairs, tables, sofas and more. We pulled out catalogs and further defined the look she wanted. As new items came in to The Magic of Design, she chose pieces that reflected her style. When the sofas did not have the fabric she wanted, we changed it to a soft cream suede that has stood the test of baby formula and red wine. We also redefined the sofa back to something more comfortable for her petite frame. We worked together on the custom draperies, duvet covers, pillows and shams. Everything was fabricated in our shop.

Blinds and drapes from our shop

Roman shade and cornice from our shop

Office with leather pull-out sofa

Desk with tropical chair & ottoman

After working with Karen on her first condo, I knew she loves curves. Kitchen counters that undulate like waves and curvy door fronts, so we searched for unique and unusual pieces like the curved door front cabinet in the master bedroom. 

Master bedroom painted curved chest

Howard loves scuba diving. Now that he gets to enjoy more time in Cozumel, he spends at least three days a week in the ocean observing all that Cozumel has to offer under the water. So Karen, Howard and I sought objects that were reminiscent of the sea. Like the blues and greens in the living room drapes and the little table that Karen placed in the master bath, decorated with shells and other sea creatures. The love of nature can also be seen in the art that Howard lovingly picked out for the condo.

Guest bedroom with rattan furniture

Grandchildren's bedroom

The overall design theme is French Caribbean but with whimsical touches of shells and turtles and other creatures. The space now exemplifies all the things that Howard and Karen love - good quality furniture and soft, vibrant fabrics, with wonderful splashes of color on the walls - that demonstrate their love of all creatures and a love of nature.

Shell and sea creature theme

It's a true tropical paradise - as comfortable for large family gatherings as it is for serene and quiet contemplation.