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INTERIORS Clare Nolan

LICENCE TO CHILL

THE FAMILY British interior designer, author and broadcaster Naomi Cleaver shares this holiday retreat on the Caribbean island of Nevis with her husband Oliver. Best known as a presenter on the TV show Grand Designs: Trade Secrets, Naomi divides her time between Nevis and her home in Devon – where she is busy renovating a cabin in the woods for holiday lets in the UK.

THE HOUSE When Naomi and Oliver started holidaying in the Caribbean 20 years ago they were so enchanted by the rural island of Nevis that they couldn’t stay away. When they came across this 1960s plantation house, called The Galleries, it was love at first sight. A four-bedroom stone and timber property with a deep verandah and uninterrupted views across the rugged landscape, it was just the renovation project they had been looking for. ±

James Bond meets Doris Day in interior designer Naomi Cleaver’s revamped plantation house on the Caribbean island of Nevis

Words CLAIRE BINGHAM Photographs ED REEVE

Many of the pieces on the white-painted verandah were made locally using found materials such as driftwood, clay and chicken wire. See Karen Miller at Devon Driftwood Designs for similar lighting (notonthehighstreet.com)

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STYLE STEAL

‘Throughout the house I tempered the bright wall colours with white floors and ceilings, which frame the views outside, making them look like a painting that evolves as the light shifts throughout the day,’ says Naomi. ‘In the tropics you can get away with using intense colours because of the quality of light.’ Back in the UK, however, Naomi advises using shades that are more muted. ‘You can still do the white floors and ceilings,’ she explains, ‘but avoid what I call Big Brother brights and go for colours that are slightly “offâ€?. For example, if you love red, instead of a bright red opt for something a bit darker or more orangey instead.’ Colours of London has a fantastic range of shades ideal for the moody British light (coloursoflondon.co.uk) Âą

‘The house is spacious enough to allow cool breezes through, yet still feels intimate inside’

’T

he house hadn’t been touched in nearly 30 years, so it needed a total revamp,’ says Naomi. ‘I set to work with local craftspeople and replaced the bathrooms, installed a new kitchen, UHGHFRUDWHGWKURXJKRXWDQGPRVWVLJQLĂ€FDQWO\EXLOW a 70ft black lap pool in the tropical garden. ‘I loved the fact that it was built in the early 1960s, so there’s a touch of the Doris Day about it. It’s also said that the house was owned by CIA agents who held cocktail parties, so I wanted to create the kind of vibe that would suit just that. I love designing spaces that are atmospheric. For me, a home’s interior shouldn’t take itself too seriously but rather should be a pleasure to be in. ‘The house is authentically Caribbean – spacious enough to allow cool breezes through, yet still feels intimate inside. We love to live in the thick of nature and EHZLWKIULHQGVDQGIDPLO\VRWKHGHVLJQUHĂ HFWVWKLV ‘There are so many things that are special about living here: looking out over the Caribbean Sea to 6W.LWWVĂ€UVWWKLQJLQWKHPRUQLQJVLWWLQJRQWKHYHUDQGDK in the evening, nursing a rum punch with the scent of P\KXVEDQG¡VFLJDULQWKHDLUDWQLJKWZHKDYHEDWV and at teatime vervet monkeys. It’s the most wonderful place. I never imagined in a million years that I would be lucky enough to have a home like this or live in such an exquisite part of the world.’ thegalleriesnevis.com, naomicleaver.com

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ABOVE Making the most of the island’s long, light-filled days, the main living space opens on to the verandah and sunset-facing views over the Caribbean Sea. ‘For the exterior of the house I opted for a neutral palette to highlight the intense colours of the plants and the many birds that come to feed on our verandah,’ says Naomi OPPOSITE ‘Wherever we live, Oliver and I always make sure we have his and hers studies,’ says Naomi. The library is Naomi’s (see page 53), while this peacock-blue painted room with the smart desk and chair is Oliver’s. B&Q’s French Turquoise matt emulsion is a good colour match (diy.com) LEFT This armchair in the library is reupholstered in a graphic fabric from London’s Berwick Street Market. Try Marimekko for similar eyecatching retro designs (marimekko.com)

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The library is where Naomi goes when she has work to do. In contrast to the other living spaces, the library is styled in the manner of Naomi’s favourite Bond film Dr No. It follows a vintage-inspired turquoise and orange scheme. Sofas & Stuff sells buttoned chesterfield sofas in your choice of fabric, from £1,338, sofasandstuff.com

‘One of my favourite things about living here is swimming in my pool as birds swoop down to drink’ ABOVE LEFT The four-poster bed in the main bedroom came with the house; Naomi painted it white to offset the vivid colour on the walls. ‘I love the combination of green and white,’ she says. ‘It emphasises the treehouse feel and, even though the green is bright, it always has a tranquil effect’ ABOVE Naomi’s walk-in wardrobe is painted a vibrant lilac/pink. So Sweet by Crown is a similar colour (crownpaint.co.uk) LEFT The 70ft black lap pool is surrounded by mahogany, mango and banana trees

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Naomi cleaver pdf