NEW PROVIDENCE, BAHAMASWRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLERThere are few places in the Caribbean that are just a short flight from the US. But a 60-minute flight from Miami makes New Providence a fantastic island destination in the Bahamas for a quick weekend getaway or longer stay, too. While you’ve likely heard of smaller yet oft-visited islands such as Andros, Abaco, and Exuma, among others, the most popular (and home to the capital city Nassau) is New Providence.
The Versailles Garden at the Four Seasons Ocean Club is one of the highlights of the thirty-five-acre property. The circa-1960s Versailles Garden is home to thirteen statues imported from Europe by then owner George Huntington Hartford II. In 1961 he acquired the disassembled parts of the twelfth-century cloisters, pictured. Iconic conch shells on sandy beaches. The area is chock-full of authentic Bahamian cuisine, especially at Arawak Cay (aka the Fish Fry) on West Bay Street.
While New Providence is heavily populated, it also provides a wealth of activities, fine-dining options, and nightlife along with gorgeous beaches and turquoise-blue ocean access. On New Providence, you can have the best of both worlds: a secluded, private resort experience and access to island amenities.
Just over the bridge from Nassau Harbor is tiny Paradise Island. There you’ll find The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort, which was conceived by businessman and heir George Huntington Hartford II. William Randolph Hearst, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Benny Goodman, and the likes flocked to the resort, which opened in 1962. The Ocean Club, which just celebrated its sixtieth anniversary, is quiet and private. Located on thirty-five acres of Bermuda grass– and palm tree–lined pathways and pristine gardens, including its famous Versailles Garden, visitors can wander the property without ever seeing another guest. That’s part of The Ocean Club’s beauty: it feels like your own personal oasis.
While on Paradise Island, get a true taste of Bahamian culture and cuisine at nearby Arawak Cay (locally known as the Fish Fry) on West Bay Street. This popular place is home to a variety of authentic Bahamian restaurants, featuring traditional dishes from the Islands and ice-cold beverages with a local twist. Named after the original West Indian inhabitants of the island, Arawak Cay dates back to 1969 when Nassau Harbor was dredged.
But for those who crave nightlife and luxury accommodations, Baha Mar is a fantastic option. One of the newest resorts in the Bahamas, New Providence’s Baha Mar, recently celebrated its five-year anniversary. With three unique properties within the resort—Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood—there’s no shortage of accommodations. For those who love the exclusivity of The Ocean Club but long for nightlife, a stay at the ultra-private Rosewood is a must. The 230-room property epitomizes Bahamian refinement and sophistication with a private beach and respite from the casino floor, when needed.
The Bahamas are chock-full of impressive artists, and one of the best places to see many of them is at the Baha Mar’s ECCHO (Expressive Collaboration and Creative House of Opportunities). This brand-new 13,000-square-foot multifunctional space is a creative platform for local and international artists. It’s within the fold of the already popular The Current Gallery & Art Center, which aims to forge relevant and meaningful connections with creative communities. ECCHO supports Bahamian artists by displaying local installations, paintings, sculptures and more. It’s the perfect spot to experience artwork while taking a break from the hot afternoon sun or enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail.
Beyond the luxury resorts, there are plenty of places to stay and dine while on New Providence. One would be remiss not to visit the historic Graycliff Hotel. The circa-1740 mansion (rumored to have been built by a pirate) is surrounded by lush, tropical gardens and is home to a world-renowned wine collection of more than 250,000 bottles. Ask to tour the wine cellar after dinner, where you’ll find a private wine dining room where they’ll tell you Jay-Z and Beyonce, Pink, and Michael Jordan have all dined.
No matter where you check in, there is so much to choose from that will elevate any New Providence vacation from ordinary to extraordinary.
Photography by Rupert Peace, SteveAllenPhoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus, Christian Horan, oversnap/iStock/Getty Images Plus, Baha Mar.
Moody Hues and Quirky Finds Enliven This Victorian HomeWRITTEN BY VICTORIA HITTNER
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARIELL LIND HANSENAs the creative duo behind London-based design house Run for the Hills, Anna Burles and her husband, Christopher Trotman, lead individual teams that bring a fascinating blend of graphics, branding, and design to both commercial and residential design projects. And this Victorian villa, located in the Clapton district of London, provided an ideal canvas for their talents.
“We’re certainly not bland,” notes Burles. “We’re quite eclectic and we love vintage and mixing new and old. And I think we often attract a creative type [of client]. It was great working with [these clients] and I think you can tell, can’t you, that they were quite creative? The choices wouldn’t be to everybody’s taste, or they might love them but be a bit scared of doing them in their own home. And we didn’t have those problems here. The fringing, the clashing patterns, the dark, bold colors—kind of the punchier the better, which was lovely for us.”
While bold colors are often relegated to furniture or accent walls, Burles and her team enjoy pushing the envelope when clients are willing. Against the stormy teal of the walls, the vibrant mustard-yellow of the sofa and vintage lamp fringe pop in an inviting way. A Vietnamese-inspired art piece, designed in-house, ties the entire palette of the room together. Keeping the artwork fresh and light helps balance the darker tones found throughout the home. Brass accents and vintage curios complete the bold aesthetic.
“Sometimes [the graphics team] will design art or fabrics in our case studies and sometimes they design a sort of neon sign,” explains Burles. “It’s great to have a graphics team that we can go to if we need some art or we can’t find anything, or it doesn’t fit the paint palette or it’s just not quite edgy enough, you know. It just makes it more unique as a layered design.”
The eclectic charm of the living room gives way to more masculine accents in the adjoining dining room. Paint & Paper Library’s Sharkskin coats the walls in an inky gray, complemented by statement art like the fossilized squid piece by Benjamin Parker. Leather and rattan chairs introduce texture without detracting from the rich, more neutral palette. The home’s natural lighting—darker in the dining room and brighter in the living room—allowed Burles and her team to play with bold colors in a balanced way.
Working with couples on a residential project and incorporating each individual’s preferences can be tricky. Whenever possible, the designer steers her clients away from solely relying on compromise. “Some of the rooms have just got to make your heart sing, right? So let’s divide. Let’s decide what’s your domain, your corner, your nook.” And while these homeowners’ preferences can be identified in the differences between the living and dining rooms, they collaborated on one of the home’s most used spaces: the garden room.
Originally an extra bedroom, the space is now a beautiful reading/working room that overlooks the garden. The greenery and earth-tones of the rust chaise longue and layered pillows bring as much as of the outside in as possible. Like much of the house, vintage finds—“real storytelling pieces,” as Burles calls them—bring a dash of added soul and character to the space.
As you move upward through the room, the design palette gradually becomes lighter. Burles notes that the Victorian architecture of the home limits any available sunlight—something that is already sparse in London. “In the bedrooms, sometimes it’s nice to maximize the sense of light that you’ve got. Whereas downstairs, a lot of the year it’s quite dark, so you can embrace the richness and just make it really cozy.”
A piece from Trotman, who creates art under the name Dex, complements the monochrome palette of the bedrooms. Vintage pieces like the shutters turned headboard in the primary bedroom and dressing table in the guest room soften the spaces, while dashes of color from pieces in the homeowner’s existing collection offer visual contrast.
Burles kept the previously renovated kitchen and bathroom primarily the same, adding a few small touches like a butcher-block island, vintage cupboard, and fresh touches of paint to “add a bit of heart and soul.” Instead of new flooring, the designer and her team revived the existing wood with a deep, chocolate-colored stain. The handrails and spindles of the original staircase were also retained but given a slight face-lift. Whenever possible, Burles simply helped the home’s existing characterful pieces tell a new story. And for this London home and its owners, the tale is a delightfully bold one.
“[Interior design] is just a wonderful mix of creativity and it’s very intimate—I mean, you’re in their world, their home, their workspace. If you do a great job, it not only looks great but also works well for their life. . . . We’re bringing other people’s visions to life, making it enjoyable, and just pushing them beyond their comfort zone.”
Upping the Cool Factor on This High-Rise RetreatWRITTEN BY KATHRYN O’SHEA-EVANS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DASHA ARMSTRONGSometimes, it’s the quiet colors—inky blacks as dark as the midnight sky; soft tans that look like rolling desert sand dunes—that speak the loudest. And that is the case in this penthouse within a seventeen-story glass-walled tower in downtown Victoria, British Columbia. “We designed the interiors of two towers, and the developer ended up keeping the penthouse [for himself] and wanted a bold, jaw-dropping design—something completely different from the rest of the building,” says Maria Alvarez, senior designer at Jenny Martin Design. The home is both serene and graphically stunning . . . a difficult tone to create.
Alvarez and the Jenny Martin Design team achieved it in an unlikely way: by sticking to tried-and-true neutrals, with plenty of jet-black moments. Because this client was a bachelor at the time, they used the lifestyle of frequent, glamorous nights out—à la James Bond on the town— as inspiration for the two-level, 1,400-square-foot space complete with a 760-square-foot balcony with a jacuzzi and postcard-worthy views. “Even smoke was one of our prompts!” says Alvarez. “When we’re coming up with design palettes like this, we take photos of all the finishes together and use prompts to make the actual scheme come to life. Here, one of them was ‘scotch on the rocks’; another was a black candle we lit and blew out, so you could see smoke. That was the beginning of this scheme.”
The mix of rich charcoal tones and grays has mystery to it, by design. “He was a young guy and wanted something ‘not his mother’s kitchen!’” she says. The abundant natural daylight flowing through the floor-to-ceiling windows allowed them to go as dark as they wanted in tone.
“In a space like this one, it was a bit easier, because we took advantage of the natural light,” she says. “We were able to go all-in with the black. Don’t be afraid—there’s nothing more classic than a tone-on-tone design!”
Despite the hue’s reputation for being cold, black is extremely versatile, notes Alvarez. “You can create a bold dramatic effect [and yet it] acts as a neutral,” she says. “I like to say black was our white canvas. I took black as our starting point and balance was key. In this case, white walls throughout and double-height, floor-to-ceiling windows brought out the best of monochrome.”
One of the biggest wow moments in the space for Alvarez is the intricately veined marble they found for the kitchen and bathroom’s countertop, backsplash, and a show-stopping fireplace mantel that puts the focus on the flames. “It was locally sourced and we immediately fell in love and wanted it to be a focal point,” she says.
Still, like all projects, this one wasn’t without its challenges. In this case, creating the floating wood staircase was nothing less than a feat of engineering. “It opens up the space beautifully and was structurally challenging, but worth it,” says Alvarez. “The engineers were able to make it work. And we worked hard to come up with a handrail that also felt like it was floating in space.”
One of the most difficult things about neutrals is making sure they all coordinate. Not all shades of black match, as anyone who has tried to pair a black sweater and slacks will attest. The trick, Alvarez notes, is to hold swatches and samples in person to see if they play well together. “Pay attention to the undertones and make sure monotone palettes complement each other, not the other way around, for an effortless, sophisticated vibe,” she says. You’ll want to look at the samples in different tones of light, too . . . from daylight to bright LEDs. “Even a white or black can look green in the wrong light,” she says. “Look at paints, furniture, and accessories . . . the more you can sample the better to make sure they work together.” The more options you can play with, the better your results. The end goal? A mix as timelessly enticing—and delectable—as salt and pepper.
Serves 4Makes 24Café au Lait
Brew 2 cups of coffee using 2 tablespoons of the chicory coffee blend. Divide the brewed coffee 4 ways. Stir ½ cup steamed milk into each ½ cup of coffee and top with steamed milk foam.
For the beignets, heat the evaporated milk to 110 degrees F. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and the yeast. Let the yeast dissolve and ferment for 10 minutes.
chicory café au lait & beignets
In a mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture, melted butter, ½ cup sugar, and egg. Slowly add the flour, mixing until fully combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest to double in size, approximately 1 to 2 hours.
In a fryer or saucepan, preheat the oil to 375 degrees F.
On a well-floured surface, roll the dough ball to form a rectangle, ¼-inch thick (for crispier beignets, roll the dough to ⅛-inch instead). Cut into 1x2-inch pieces and use a bench scraper to transfer them to the frying oil. Once browned on one side, turn them over and brown the other side. Remove from oil and transfer to a wire cooling rack to drain off excess oil.
Serve warm, and generously dust with powdered sugar.
Fold 4 (14x12-inch) pieces of parchment paper in half and cut the edges into a half heart shape. Open the cut parchment and place a fillet of fish on one half of each, then season with salt.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderately high heat. Add the crab and shrimp, tossing in the butter to coat. Brown slightly, then add the onions and bell peppers, cooking to soften. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with the reserved crab liquid, then add the white wine and garlic. Cook and reduce to almost dry. Decrease to moderate heat and add the cream, Parmesan, oregano, and hot sauce, stirring to combine. Cook to reach sauce consistency and coat the back of a spoon. Divide the sauce 4 ways, pouring it over the seasoned fish on the parchment, then top with the sauteed seafood-and-pepper mixture.
white fish en papillote
Fold the parchment over the fish to enclose. Working from one end to the other, fold the paper’s edge to seal. For a tighter seal, brush the edge with egg whites before folding.
Gently transfer the parchment pouches to a sheet pan and place into the preheated oven to bake. Bake for 10 minutes.
For grandiose effect, cut open the parchment pouches in front of your guests, allowing the steam to escape. Serve immediately.
Trim your green beans and add them to the skillet along with the red bell pepper.
Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper, tossing them in bacon grease to coat. Cover with a lid to steam and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir and repeat for another 2 minutes. Garnish with the bacon bits and remove from heat. Serve immediately.
WRITTEN BY JEANINE MATLOW
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL J. LEEWith a palpable knack for pattern and color, Amanda Reid, designer and founder of Mandarina Studio in Boston, Massachusetts knew just how to refresh a circa–early 1900s Colonial Revival home in nearby Cambridge. Luckily, her clients—a couple with two young boys—were ready to take some design risks with their 5,800-square-foot residence. Working on the renovation with Sam Kachmar Architects, Reid was able to focus on creating interiors she describes as “contemporary eclectic, but not cluttered.” Adding, “They were really open to incorporating bolder patterns, so we were able to mix different styles and eras in a really curated way.”
The original goal for the remodel was to update the kitchen and bathrooms while respecting the classic architecture of the house. The timeless lines remained, but color and pattern now play a significant role throughout. For starters, an alluring mural wallpaper makes its way around the study where an antique desk claims a prominent spot on an angle and lighter features make the scenic backdrop shine. “I wanted to keep it bright with a white ceiling and trim,” says the designer.
In the kitchen, white cabinets and quartzite countertops put more dramatic elements—like the design springboard black French range and hood—in the spotlight. Brass accents on the appliances and cabinetry join others such as the glass pendants with brass details that make a statement above the shapely island with tapered legs. “Lighting and hardware are the jewelry of the space,” says Reid.
An adjacent mudroom features ceramic-tile floors in a classic black-and-white harlequin pattern; it punctuates the functional space and plays well with the organic wallpaper in a metallic-gold bee motif. In addition to the kitchen and mudroom, other classic black-and-white combos weave their way throughout the house. “I also used a lot of green, like the lacquered cabinets in the coffee bar,” she says.
Eye-catching patterns are another constant. Even the private spaces, like the main bathroom, benefit from these beauties. “With vanities that have tall, tapered legs, it looks more open that way, and you can see more of the gorgeous stone mosaic flooring,” says Reid. In the shower, marble tile with distinct markings almost resembles an abstract painting.
Nature makes a repeat appearance, too, as seen in a shared dressing room for the husband and wife that features foliage wallpaper in burgundy and blush. The ebonized walnut that tops the white vanity and the center island echoes the materials in the main bathroom. Underfoot, a rug made from wall-to-wall carpet delivers a subtle pattern and a little texture to the space.
In the laundry room, an organic touch lends a sunny disposition. “It’s so cheerful with Kelly-green accents and wallpaper that is happy by nature with butterflies and lemons that are so appropriate for a laundry room,” says Reid. “They make the task more cheerful.”
Wallpaper awakens more than one bathroom, including a third-floor location that has an anything-goes attitude with a whimsical leopard print. “The cheerful-red vanity adds a fun pop of color [to] that classic black and white,” she says.
This skillful mix of color and pattern stretches to the kids’ bedrooms. One son has a yellow metal bed backed by dachshund-themed wallpaper and orange pillows that pop against a slate-blue comforter. The other has wallpaper with a safari theme in a neutral shade. “We painted the trim green to add some color,” says Reid.
The playful pairings may vary, but Reid still prefers some cohesion for the overall flow of the home. “I like to have a common thread,” she says. “Even if the space is neutral, there should be some harmony with one or two colors repeated throughout the house. It’s almost calming to me.” Harmonious hues unite here for a modern take on a Colonial classic.
Roses are red and violets are blue—but are they, really? Roses, of course, can be found in a kaleidoscope of colors. And violets? Well, they might read a purplish blue to the eye, but they don’t actually have blue pigment. Blue, as it turns out, is one of the rarest colors to find naturally in plants and animals. Here, we take a look at the elusive shade and how you can help it find its place in the sun.
Science Specific.Why is one of the most loved colors so hard to find in the plant world? Because true-blue pigment in plants doesn’t actually exist. Optical tricks have led us to see beautiful blooms as blue; and because of this missing pigment, science reveals that less than 10 percent of the 280,000 species of flowering plants produce “blue” flowers. If you’re looking for any sort of color inspiration from nature (including blue), check out Nature’s Palette: A Color Reference System from the Natural World. (It is the expanded, 2021 edition of the resource Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, first published in 1814.) In it, for example, you’ll find references to “Berlin blue” via sapphire, the Hepatica flower, or the feathers of a jay.
Color Wheel.Blue, which color philosophy relates to calm and tranquility, is the perfect fit for a soothing home garden. When designing and planning, consider pairing blue with its color wheel opposite: orange. And always consult your local nursery or extension for hardiness zone and regional information before planting something new.
Plant Planning.Annuals, perennials, big, and small—there are plenty of ways to infuse your garden with blue. Take up space with eye-catching blue hydrangea shrubs; they thrive in morning light, and you can maintain petal color with acidic soil. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is a long-blooming, violet-blue flower. Delphiniums offer nearly true-blue flower spikes that are short lived and thrive in rich soil. Clematis is a beautiful climbing vine that adds softness to a sharp-edged trellis (look for ‘Crystal Fountain’). Because irises come in many colors, you can plant blue and other hues for a collected look. Select from Bearded, Reticulated, Siberian, or Japanese iris for the best blues.
Blue Daze has it right in the name. The sun-worshipping flower works well in a container or as ground cover. Cornflower is a pollinator-friendly bloom that thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. For a delicate, romantic flower, consider the forget-me-not. Because of its nostalgic name and symbolism, it makes a sweet addition to a memory garden. Late-blooming asters help ensure a blue landscape into autumn. And the crowning glory of blue blooms is the Himalayan blue poppy. Although its Tibetan origins make it difficult and fairly impractical to grow in North America, it’s not impossible. The enchanting flower reveals a shade unlike any other, and makes the true-blue destination worth the green-thumb journey.
WRITTEN BY MARESA GIOVANNIN
WRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLER
Feeling down and out these days? Don’t fret. “The good news is: you can boost your mood with uncomplicated, actionable lifestyle changes and coping skills,” says Lindsey Konchar, MSW, LGSW, and owner of Coping with Lindsey. “Self-awareness is one of the best traits a person can possess. When we are aware of our mood and how or when it changes, we can more easily get ourselves back to baseline (aka feel better, faster).” Adds Rayna Sanghvi, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist: “We can’t change our mood states without being aware of the specificity of our emotions. This could be to help change our emotions to positive, or being aware of our positive moods to incorporate gratitude and appreciation in our day-to-day life.”
Try Body Scanning.Body scanning, also known as Benson’s Technique, is a quick and easy form of mindfulness practice, says Konchar. “In layman’s terms, we use our brain to connect with internal body sensations.”
Extensive research supports that body scanning can lower anxiety and, in turn, boost your mood. In a 2019 study, emergency department patients who utilized the body scanning technique showed improved anxiety scores versus those who did not. While another study found that body scanning and the antidepressant medication Citalopram had similar effects on improving the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Luckily, body scanning is simple and “very discrete,” says Konchar. “You can do this at your work desk without anyone even noticing.” To get started, sit or lie comfortably, and bring awareness to each region of the body. Start at your feet and move up through your legs, abdomen, arms, shoulder, neck, all the way to your head. If your focus shifts, acknowledge it, and come back to the body scan.
Write a Gratitude List.Gratitude has become a bit of a buzzword, but for good reason. A study from UC Berkeley found that those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health afterward. Studies such as this suggest that gratitude lists can be beneficial for boosting your overall mood. Just 23 percent of participants who wrote gratitude letters actually sent them; however, those who didn’t still reaped the mood-boosting benefits of gratitude.
Researchers found that approximately twelve weeks of gratitude writing would improve overall mental health. But keep at it even longer and it’ll surely result in a positive result, they say (for you, and those whom you thank).
Find Something in Your Control.“Our mood is all too often dictated by things and people other than ourselves,” says Konchar. “The fastest way to bring ourselves back to baseline is to figure out what is in our control. One of the ways to do this is to clean up your physical surroundings, which in turn, will clean up your mental mess.” According to the Association for Consumer Research, it’s common to use object ownership to satisfy psychological needs, reward oneself, and flaunt social status. But the reality is, overconsumption can ultimately have a negative effect on mood.
“Not only does too much stuff make us feel dejected, but when that stuff is disorganized, we feel out of control,” says Konchar, and that can wreak havoc on our mindset. Organizing both physical and mental spaces can leave you feeling satisfied, calm, and in a better mood overall. Take one afternoon to sort through and donate unused clothes or cleanup your office desktop. Or, make and effort to tidy up one space per day. That act can go a long way in boosting your mood for the afternoon and the future.
Robin Cushing - REALTOR® - Established 2010
Victoria BC Canada
Victoria BC Canada