Behind The Design: Island-Inspired Great Room
With December just one day away, we think its the perfect time to escape the cold and go behind the design of this gorgeous island-inspired space in an exclusive Q&A with interior designer Laura Hay.
What were your clients’ needs for this space?
This is a vacation home in the Bahamas so this great room needed to seat as many people as possible for dining and entertaining, as well as accommodating a comfortable area to relax in front of the television.
Were there any challenges in designing this space?
The layout of the room posed a few challenges because there is very little wall space. With 3 sets of French doors to the courtyard, 2 entry doors (side and f front), 1 entry to a bedroom, and 2 staircases at the either end leading up to different suites, there was the flow of traffic to be considered and very few options for placement of the television.
Do you have any special considerations or requirements when creating a living room?
Style, quality and comfort are the top considerations. In the Bahamas where it’s costly and challenging to get furnishings, the pieces needed to be both durable and constructed to last. I tried to use indoor/outdoor fabrics as much as possible to ensure that they could survive the humidity and the high risk of moisture that comes with interrupted power supply to the air conditioning. Being a vacation home I wanted this room to feel bright and uplifting, so the color palate is infused with ocean and beach toned fabrics and the furnishings are inspired by the Bahamas colonial heritage.
How does the flooring play into your design?
The wide plank European white oak floors are reminiscent of the wide plank Bahamian pine floors that were typical in the original homes on the island. These planks are cut with a band saw, smoked and oiled, creating a relaxed texture that is incredibly chic. The tones in the wood are cool and reminiscent of sand, complimenting the island inspired color palette and aesthetically connecting to the natural stone used in the outdoor spaces.
What makes this room functional?
Opening up the space creating a great room not only increased the brightness of the room, but also allowed for flexibility in how the space is used: hosting a dinner, a cocktail party, a dance party, or having a quite movie night…the room is easily adaptable to a variety of uses.
Why did you choose these colors?
I was inspired by the beauty of the Caribbean ocean and colorful culture of the Bahamas.
What is your favorite aspect of this room?
My favorite feature in the room is the ceiling. We recreated the original cottage ceilings using shiplap and exposed beams.
What did your client like the most?
The client loved how I managed to incorporate historical Colonial elements into the design without making the space feel too formal or antique. It’s a fresh and contemporary design that speaks to the history and the future of the cottage and the island.
Laura Hay, principal of LH Decor & Design, Inc., brings well over a decade of experience to her work in residential interiors. This growing boutique design firm is known for creating stylish, harmonious, modern and livable environments and vacation homes in the United States, Canada and Bahamas. @laurahay