A visit with designer India Hicks

In case you are not familiar with internationally acclaimed interior designer and best-selling author India Hicks and her work, let me give you a quick introduction. The daughter of famed designer David Hicks, India is a member of the British royalty. She’s the goddaughter of Charles, the Prince of Wales, and was a flower girl in his storybook wedding to Princess Diana. As an adult, she switched islands, moving from England to the Bahamas, where she lives with her family and works as a designer, author, model, entrepreneur and TV personality.

I asked India if she would share a bit about her life and her design philosophy with us, and a few photos from her dreamy book “Island Style.”

Mary Carol Garrity: What inspires your designs?

India Hicks: My British heritage, my island life and some nutty, madcap daydreams in between.

Mary Carol: What are key elements you like to include in every space?

India: Good lighting. I’m too old for anything else.

Mary Carol: How do you suggest people adapt your “island style” look to other regions, like the Midwest?

India: Oversized vases of palm fronds: They last for a super long time, they add a taste of the tropics and the dark green works with most color palettes. Lots of natural textures, like wood, raffia, straw and less of the harsh elements. The easiest and most effective overall change for “island style” can be easy fitting, crisp cotton white slipcovers on all chairs. If not white, striped ticking always has an island feeling.

Mary Carol: Are there any decorating no-no’s that people should avoid?

India: Being overly decorated. It’s so important to “live” in a home and not make anything too precious.

Mary Carol: Can you share some thoughts on how each of us can create spaces that reflect our own style?

India: My style is very much inspired by my own life, my British heritage and what I call my runaway island story. We often say to our tribe of ambassadors: Live a more extraordinary life, stand on your own two feet, do something for yourselves… I always say that I haven’t necessarily lived an extraordinary life, but I’ve certainly lived an unexpected life. Having come from a rather traditional upbringing to then find myself living on a tiny island in the middle of a tropical ocean was certainly not what I expected. I draw inspiration from those two sides of my life, and I think that exudes something very unique. Tell your own story if at all possible.

Mary Carol: What decorating projects are you working on now?

India: Just completing another design book, “A Slice of England,” to be published next year by Rizzoli. Huge undertaking as I am also co-running the company I founded: India Hicks Inc. A business I strongly believe in and am passionate about. But there just are not enough hours in any day and I have an anxious editor and a deadline looming.

Why do I love India Hicks? Her designs are both relaxed and elegant, and every room she creates is one I can picture myself living in.


This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at www.nellhills.com

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