The design blogosphere lit up like Times Square when Town & Country last spring unveiled the re-do of the Lyford Cay Club in Nassau, Bahamas. I lit up too when I first saw it on the drawing board two years ago and then nearbout swooned when I saw it in person last Easter. This living room truly is one of the all-time great fabulous rooms, and it seems fitting on this Palm Sunday to present a palm strewn room. Hosanna!
The club’s new look is the work of New York designer and Bahamas habitué Tom Scheerer, without doubt one of the best designers working today.
Scheerer’s eye is as disciplined as it is confident and yet–or maybe and hence–his aesthetic is remarkably inclusive in its authenticity, comfort, and even sentiment. Its uber-sophistication combined with utter accessibility is genius. It may be a reach of an analogy but Scheerer’s work brings to mind the art of Jasper Johns: easily recognized and understood; rarely duplicated. There is no formula.
Who thinks of brown in the tropics–the place of pink and green and turquoise? Yes the Cipriani in Venice could not be chicer with all those brown and white stripes, but Venice is a long way from Nassau. It occurs to me that another inspiration for that audacious brown and white scheme might be the Bahamian people themselves. Many are brown either by birth or by suntan, and they look great against all those bright tropical colors. Is that what Scheerer was thinking when he cooked up those walls? Or is it a paean to racial harmony? (I must ask him.) I’m kidding of course, but this does happen to be a club that has long had mixed-race membership. Okay back to the decor.
Pink of course is a natural–pink coral, pink shells, pink clouds, pink daiquiris, pink sunburns. Pink and brown are a classic combo–here dashed with a splash of coral, punctuated with white, grounded with tones of sisal and straw. Well there you go, but I wouldn’t have thought of it.
This post, by the way, debuts a “Fabulous Rooms” weekly series, and I hope you will join in the hunt. Do you have a favorite fabulous room in your decorating heart of hearts? Do tell, and if your submission makes it into a post, you’ll win a nickel.
Meanwhile, here are a few more looks at Tom’s Lyford Cay project. Photos are by Pieter Estersohn, from Tom Scheerer’s website, which you must visit. Really.
* P.S. I’d be remiss not to mention that McMillen, as mentioned in the second photo caption above, is where the estimable American decorator Albert Hadley got his start. Mr. Hadley died on Thursday at 91, having worked well into his 80s. I interviewed him for House Beautiful then. He probably would not have wanted to be referred to as “estimable,” or even great. But he was both, and more. A post on Albert Hadley to follow.