This is the meeting of the mountains & the sea. Owned & built by an Ecuadorian president, the hacienda continues to be run by the same family and sits on 40 hectares. They run horses, a cheese factory and a B&B. The rooms were filled with antiques discarded from the family’s other dwellings (just like any holiday house) – but here they were hand-carved, heavy and robust.There were bentwoods as well, which, to me, are casual and belong at the seaside, bringing the elements of the different landscapes into this interior with the parrots of the jungle and the giant shell of the ocean. Here they are married together to symbolise the fluidity of the mountains to the sea in Ecuador.
I painted this wall one of my pinks – one coat gives it a textile finish, a little uneven but all the better for it. Layer your interior with the heady scent of garden roses. Flea market finds, like this small table and stool, are painted on a whim from our palette. The scale of the shell sitting on almost an artist’s stool makes it an important piece – like a sculpture. It is a celebration of nature as art. Interiors should not be very serious and the giant parrot candle makes it fun! A simple addition that changes the mood.
This is almost like a hotel room scenario. By this I mean that you have everything you need in a small space. Don’t think you always have to do a formal furniture arrangement. This is particularly useful in a studio or boatshed space. I spend so much time in hotel rooms, beautiful ones, that there is something homely about having everything you need close by. You don’t need to have a lot of space to be comfortable. Think of it as intimate, not small, and relish the advantages of not having a huge space to style, clean and inhabit. Be clever with editing and your stuff. For example, the collection of objets on the console works as a dividing mechanism in the room. It can be looked at and admired from both sides – change your objets for a fresh view. Smart furniture arrangement will create nooks to sit, read, write, work, converse in & have all the moments you would in a home of any size.
I am obsessed with flamingos. They dance in the water! Their whole body movement is absolutely mesmerising. I felt so lucky to see a flock out of season. In my mind they deserved to be blown up in a space – giant! Don’t be scared of overdoing it – sometimes you just might pull it off. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter because interiors are temporary and having fun with a space is much more satisfying than vying for perfection all the time. It is the imperfections that make it personal and interesting. Designer Marion Hall Best has been an inspiration to me in the way I’ve put colour together here – she would tone down colour blocks by using natural flooring – it’s all about balance. Lean art on the floor and hang sheets of wallpaper so they are easy to move around and be restyled or packed away (perhaps when your flamingo obsession passes – ready to be revisited next time).
I visited a woman in her eighties, a family friend of one of my wayfaring companions. After downsizing from a mansion, she lived in an apartment, and collected lots of beautiful carved furniture, Olga Fisch rugs, religious icons, Viking style, leather and wood chairs, gold metal thread embroidered vests with alpaca, castle-style shields & other grandness. Amongst her many things were beautiful orchids of all kinds – definitely a collection in themselves. I’m sure this was a pint-size version of the former glory her home must have been – but it was enough and it fit just right..
This space is like a kind of sanctuary or cool lookout. Create your own – even if it’s not facing the sea. Lookouts & sanctuaries often inspire contemplation or offer a place to hide away. By making one in your home, you create a moment and space to breathe and reflect without climbing to the top of a lighthouse and staring into an expanse of ocean or escaping to your local cave.
My Galapagos & Ecuadorian recommendations:
Plumas: Birds in Ecuador By Murray Cooper & Rudy Gelis
A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist & Buccaneer: The Life of William Dampier By Diana & Michael Preston
On the Origin of Species By Charles Darwin
Casa Gangotena Hotel
Bolivar Oe6-41 y Cuenca Quito, Ecuador
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo
Lasso, Province of Cotopaxi South of Quito, off the Panamerican Highway Ecuador
Angochagua Imbabura Province Ecuador
Angermeyer Waterfront Inn
Punta Estrada Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island Galapagos, Ecuador
Finch Bay Eco Hotel
Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island Galapagos, Ecuador
I didn’t stay here but it was in a great location.
Benalcazar 2-52 y Sucre Quito, Ecuador
I’m never without a Panama hat when I travel and often pick them up as I go. I was very excited to choose one from their place of origin!
Bolivar Theatre Foundation Pasaje Espejo 847 and Guayaquil Quito Historic Downtown, Ecuador
A burnt-out old theatre – go check it out.
Museo de la Ciudad
Garcia Moreno S1-47 and Rocafuerte Quito, Ecuador
Calle la Ronda
This is a beautiful old street with lots going on, wander down it at night time for some empanada & hot chocolate.
St Peter’s Bizcocho (biscuit) Factory
Cayambe, Ecuador La Compania Benalcazar 562 y Antonio Jose de Sucre Quito, Ecuador
Ave. Amazonas N23-23 y Veintimilla Otavalo, Imbabura Province Ecuador
Café Dios No Muere
Flores y Junin Esquina N4-10 Quito, Ecuador
I'm parking my passport over the summer. Please check in for more adventures in early 2016. The shop will be open until late December for all your Christmas shopping.
Safe travels, Sibella.