11 June 2013

INDIA COMES TO THE SKIRTED ROUNDTABLE

 

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This week on the Skirted Roundtable, we interview India Hicks to discuss her new line with HSN- the Home Shopping Network.  Of course, we were happy to discuss her home décor & bedding merchandise, but talking about her life was even more of a thrill!   Had you told me 25 years ago that one day I would be interviewing a bridesmaid of Princess Diana, I would have told you you were daft (British lingo!)

But that’s exactly who India is – a bridesmaid at one of the most famous weddings of all times.   She is also a 2nd cousin and a godchild of Prince Charles.  India’s mother was one of Queen Elizabeth’s bridesmaids and was her lady-in-waiting.   Even more incredible, her granddaughter was the last Viceroy of India, the Earl of Mountbatten who was later assassinated by IRA terrorists.

 

 

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India Hicks, second on the left, bridesmaid to Princess Diana.  Such a beautiful and memorable photograph.

 

Her full name is India Amanda Caroline Hicks – I love how the English have double middle names (I don’t even have one!)   She is 678th in line for succession to the Crown of England, but, once Prince William’s baby is born, she will be dropped down by one. 

Raised mostly in the countryside of England, India claims she was a bit of a tomboy.    Her formal education was cut short when she was expelled from Gourdonstone, the austere boarding school in Scotland which many royals used to attend, for entertaining boys in her room!  The scandal!   After school, blessed with her patrician good looks, she began to model for various designer and later, mostly for Ralph Lauren. 

 

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But more important to design aficionados is India’s non-royal side.  She is the daughter of David Hicks, one of the most influential interior designers of our times.   Known for his unerring eye,  Hicks designed everything for himself and his clients - from rooms, to gardens, to jewelry – even noses – according to India.   Her father had built a house in the Bahamas where she spent a good part of her youth and on a visit there as a young adult, she rekindled a friendship with an Expat, designer, David Flint Wood.   Together they bought a 50’s house named Hibiscus Hill and renovated it from top to bottom, turning it into more of a Caribbean plantation styled house.  They now have four children and recently added to their brood with a fifth, an older Bahamian teen who was orphaned.  

 

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I love this photograph of India and her daughter Domino. You can really see the famous pink sand of the island in this picture which was taken in India’s “back yard.”

 

She and Wood wrote a book on their island lifestyle which lead to another one.  Along the way they became hoteliers.   They have four properties in their small chain- three on Harbour Island and  another, her father’s house on Eluerthra, which India inherited.

Her coastal brand has proved quite popular and India has her hand in all kinds of design – jewelry, clothing, bedding, and household accessories.  She has a line with Crabtree and Evelyn, along with her new HSN collaboration , of which her first showing sold out.   She has two more visits planned at HSN for this summer and September.  Her partner David also does interiors and was recently published in Architectural Digest when he decorated Brooke Shields NYC townhouse.  Brooke had visited with India and David in the Bahamas and wanted him to recreate the wonderful feel of their house, which she loved so much.

 

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India’s jewelry – I LOVE this cuff!

 

Hibiscus Hill has been photographed many times over the years – which is quite understandable.  It’s a warm, cozy, and coastal chic family house.  Though built in the 50s, it seems much older due to all the renovations they have made.  

 

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The couple have made tried to make the house look older.  To the left, they added a second story where they each have their own office.

 

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Another view of Hibiscus Hill.  The property is over three acres and is located right on the beach.

 

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In the entry way between the living room and dining room – a white table and mirror sets the stage for what’s to come – lots of accessories and charming English styled clutter.

 

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The couple changed the concrete floor for hardwoods to give it more of a Caribbean vibe.  Slip covered sofa in deep pink.   Pillows made out of her father David Hick’s fabric.  And, taking a cue from her father – there are lots of accessories around.

 

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In a later photo, a large leather ottoman designed by India’s brother is placed in front of the white coffee table.    As India says:  “My father always drove into us that collections are so much more powerful than a single element.”    You can see she really takes that lesson to heart.  Also, in this photoshoot – it says the couple has painted their floors black, though originally they were brown.  I love the black floors – seen here!

 

 

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Another view of the living room showing the fireplace – and the brown wood floors. 

 

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The French mantel is original to the house.  The chairs are now covered in a light blue fabric.

 

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An earlier decorating scheme – the sofa was slipped in a pink striped fabric.

 

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And in an early view of the room – the chairs were covered in a coral pink fabric. 

 

 

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David Flint Wood added bookcases to flank the opening to the dining room.

 

 

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Above the doorway – a row of straw hats.   Earlier view shows stripes on the chairs.

 

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Today, the chairs wear pink fabric.   The floors are just beautiful – brown or black. 

 

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The crystal chandelier came with the house and the couple liked the way it looked.   I do too!

 

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Along one wall – framed photographs rest on shelves. 

 

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Under carpet in the master bedroom – the couple found the original Cuban tile. 

 

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During the Skirted Roundtable interview, India tells a cute story about her father commenting on their bed. 

 

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Across from the bed, an antique desk and chair, in pink.

 

 

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Daughter Domino’s room has an antique French bed surrounded by a set of prints.  Charming!

 

 

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India’s office has pink walls and black and white toile.  Love all the pink!  Underfoot is apple matting – a typical English fiber used for rugs.

 

 

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Another view of her office.

 

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David’s office is quite different – much more English in feel.  David loves these ceiling fans with a black motor and wood blades.  He feels they give a house a true Caribbean feeling.  Sssh.  Don’t tell Ben that!!

 

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The terrace, shaded by a trellis.

 

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A play house located on the lawn is really a charming folly.

 

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The gate to the beach with the pink sand.

 

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After living with guests in the house almost year round, the couple decided to build a guest house on their property for visiting family and friends.  This house, called The Guest House, built in 1999, looks much older due to its architecture.   The house is available to rent – see the Hibiscus Hill web site HERE.

 

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Wide verandas overlook ocean views.  Love the front door that opens to screen doors! 

 

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The living room with twin sofas and chairs.  So cute!!!

 

 

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Pottery Barn hired India to do styling – she changed the décor in this living room using all PB items for the photoshoot.

 

 

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The dining room.   Through the left door – you can see the wood stairs.   The kitchen is to the right.

 

 

 

 

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India’s shell collection.

 

 

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Upstairs veranda – with a view of the beach.  Must be so beautiful.   You can arrange for a cook if you rent out the house.

 

 

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There are four bedrooms – I love this one so much!!

 

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I especially love the oval portrait.

 

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A twin bedroom.

 

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Beautiful.   Love the prints.

 

 

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The guests’ beach.

 

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The couple added a second guest house on their property called The Cricket Pavilion based on an old club house they found on another island.   This has two bedrooms and a more contemporary feel.  It is located back off the beach.

 

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All white, David Hicks fabric is found on the two chairs.

 

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The family, when there were only two boys – today there are five children.

 

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A huge old birdhouse and table divide the area between the living room and the kitchen.

 

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The kitchen at the Cricket Pavilion.

 

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The King’s Treat is the third guest house – located in the historic part of Dunmore Town with views of the harbor.  The house was built in 1890s and David completely restored it. 

 

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The veranda set for outdoor meals.

 

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The furniture comes from Pottery Barn, but Wood had it slipped in a special chintz.  Dark, black painted wood floors gleam against the white walls.  Love this room!

 

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Love the old books.

 

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Inside, there are two master bedrooms.

 

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Love this one with the framed prints.

 

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Map paper was used on the walls.

 

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The kitchen is Ikea!  It’s so great looking.  Love the walls of subway tiles. 

 

 

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One of the decorated verandas.

 

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There is a tiny guest house on the property with another bedroom and bath inside.  Great for the teenagers.

 

image           The guest house bedroom with twin beds from Anthropologie.   I love how they use catalogues mixed with high end items to create a wonderful undecorated look.   David Flint Wood said he didn’t want his guest houses to look decorated, rather he wanted them to look evolved.

 

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The fourth and last guest house is located on another island 50 miles away – on Windermere off Eleuthera.  The Savannah guest house was designed and built by India’s father David Hicks, and was inspired by the Egyptian temple of King Zoser.   Hicks built the house in 1967, the year that India was born.  They spent spring holidays here and this is where India was staying when she was reacquainted with her childhood friend David Flint Wood.    Today, the house is where the Wood gang comes to holiday, away from the busier island they live on.   This house sits on five miles of private beach.

 

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The walls are concrete – rendered with the famous pink Bahamian sand and textured with seashells.  When a hurricane hit it a few years back, India redecorated it, but it is very different looking than their other properties on Harbour Island.    The house has two king bedrooms, one twin and one bunk room – each with their own bathroom. 

 

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Bright pops of color come mostly from the art work – the furniture is neutral and the pillows are pastel.   Beautiful!!

 

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Looking towards the other direction. 

 

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The dining room was updated with new chairs recently. 

 

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View from outside in.

 

 

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Kitchen.  I like the blue against the sand color.

 

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Master with pops of brown and orange.

 

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Twin room.

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And bunk room.

 

All four houses are available for rent.   I’m trying to decide which one I like the best – the two on their property?   The older house in town?   Or, the original Hicks contemporary house on its own secluded beach?   I think I would pick the Guest House on their property.  Now, if only I scrape the pennies together!

 

 

 

If you like their coastal decorating style and want to incorporate the look or feel of it into your own landlocked house – take a look at Brooke Shields townhouse in NYC.  Brooke feel in love with David Flint Wood’s aesthetic and asked him to recreate the look in her own house.   The task was not easy – how you recreate the feel of a Bahamian house without it looking silly or out of place.  I think he reached the perfect compromise:

 

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The 1910, four story townhouse was a complete gut job. 

 

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Right away – you can see David’s aesthetic with the black stained hardwood floors.  They are so gorgeous!  

 

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Look at the doors that close off the living room, yet still let the light in.   A David Hicks print is found on the antique stool.  The jute rug from Pottery Barn gives it the high-low factor.

 

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The antique French furniture wears casual linens accented by John Robshaw prints.  Elegant antiques flank the sofa. 

 

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The dining room is fabulous with Jansen chairs and a vintage Ralph Lauren table.   A Zuber paper covers the walls.

 

 

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I love the kitchen with its black painted cabinets and the fireplace is to die for!!!  Hermes orange leather cover the English George III styled chairs.  All the English antiques lend the townhouse with the Colonial Plantation vibe. 

 

 

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Love the bar shelves with the crystal.

 

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Brooke’s study with a fabulous French green chair and antique Italian desk.

 

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Mid century modern styled chairs mix with an antique LV trunk.

 

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The guest room feels like a David Hicks room with its brown lacquered walls.  Wonderful orange suede chair.   Love this!

 

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The master bedroom has a colonial feel with its Anglo-Indian tester bed. 

 

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When Lady Pamela and David Hicks married in 1960, they bought Birtwell House, a grand house built in the 1700s – with wings added during the 20th century.   They lived here with their three children, including India, until they moved to the smaller The Grove, where Lady Pamela still lives today, years after her husband passed away.

 

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The Grove.   Hicks decorated the inside and the outside. 

 

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Last year India and her daughter Domino did a story at The Grove for Hello Magazine.  Here, they are in the front hall with flag floor. 

 

 

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The Drawing Room at The Grove.  So beautiful!!

 

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The fireplace.  Love the gueridon table with marble top.

 

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View from across the room – that painting!!!!

 

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India and her mother Lady Pamela in the Drawing Room.  Over the years, if a fabric or carpet needs replacing, the same exact design is chosen to keep Hick’s original plan intact.

 

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David Hicks’ Library at The Grove.   For a time he insisted all the books be either red leather or covered in red paper.

 

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The man, David Hicks, himself, at his desk. 

 

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And India, in the same space.

 

To order books by India Hicks and about her family, click on the image below:

 

 

 

 

To order from India’s décor and bedding line and her jewelry line, or to read her fab blog, go HERE.

To rent one of the guest houses in the Bahamas, go HERE.

And finally, be sure to listen to our interview with India on The Skirted Roundtable, HERE.