Meeting at the corner of travel and design to explore how the two may collaborate in connecting our worlds and beautifying our spaces.

When you dream of the ultimate vacation experience do you conjure up images of a luxurious Caribbean resort or an excursion to Bali? Would you describe yourself as an exotic destination kind of person? Designing your home should come back to comfort level. Taking inspiration from your travels and incorporating design elements from foreign destinations lets you live every day like you’re on vacation. Who wouldn’t want a bed and bath that could rival the World’s chicest and most comfortable hotels from Scotland to the Seychelles? How about a French kitchen and dining fit for a three michelin star chef?

There’s no shortage of options to choose from or directions to take when applying travel inspiration to your designing. Some of the best designers also takes cues from other sources like time periods, fashion and art. Still, none quite compares to the seamless blend of inspiration from the places we’ve visited into the spaces we live in. It could be a quick powder room refresh to include moroccan quilted hand towels and spice scented candles or a full on renovation with distressed wooden beams and barn doors for a country feel. One of my icons of aesthetics; Diana Vreeland famously said “The eye must travel”, to add I think the home should too, like we do.

Inside Joan Lee and Natasha Lee-Duhaney’s  Beach-Luxe Montego Bay Home.

Joan is an Interior Designer, Natasha is a Lifestyle blogger and both are Realtors at RE/MAX Elite.

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My mom and I are inspired by light and airy spaces that has a cohesive color palette much like that found at The Caves Hotel. I like to label the living room as an understated glam space because of the neutral palette used throughout; like crisp white and cozy grays. But to prevent the room from looking flat we have layered pieces with different textures and finishes. It was very important for the room to feel welcoming and comfortable against the stark white walls. The gray couch adorned with pillows and plush throws, keeps the open floor plan cozy while the wall art adds some sort of eye candy to the crisp, white walls. – Natasha Lee Duhaney |

DESIGN NOTES: Abundant sunlight, sunset colored candles, Edna Manley table book, West Indian colonial woods, large scale art and colorful accents.

Some travel inspired design elements has made its way into general design as mainstays that works for a cadre of different overall styles. A few examples of these are french doors, shoji screens and moroccan poufs. But combining your travel experiences with your home may not be as easy as you’d like, especially for DIYers. It can all be a little daunting. So I consulted with my friend Cecile Levee, who’s an avid traveller and respected designer. Her last trip took her south to Santiago Chile where we meet to talk travel and design.

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Rashade St Patrick: Where would you say is your ultimate #DesignDestination and why?

Cecile Levee: The ultimate design destination is New York, it has a wonderful mix of modern, old and contemporary Architecture as well as such innovative and stylish residents.

RSTP: What are among the key things to look for when looking to travel for design inspiration?

CL: The Key things to look for is the lifestyle and dress attitudes of the natives, if they have an interesting approach to style and an interesting in art especially in public spaces, chances are you will be inspired.

RSTP: How different is researching a destination online versus wandering there in real life?

CL: Real life is usually so much better, you have to feel the pulse, the rhythms of a place to truly get the feel and experiences,  things you can’t get in pictures which nowadays is usually so edited the loose the nuances of a pace.

RSTP: What has been your favorite design element brought home from a trip?

CL: Cow skin! I am crazy about cow skin rugs, can’t have enough.

RSTP: What advice can you give to homeowners applying travel inspiration to their home improvement project?

CL: Don’t try to fit all your travel designs and memorabilia in one room or space usually a little goes a long way.  And always remember that location should lead in design.  Wall to wall carpet and heavy damask drapes work in cold climates, but not in tropical 90 degrees weather.

RSTP: How do you know when you’ve gone overboard with an inspiration or trend?

CL: You know you have gone over board when you yourself can’t even remember what was your inspiration, too many different looks in the same space.  Edit edit is usually a good thing.

RSTP: What would you consider to be some of Jamaica’s foremost design inspirations?

CL: Jamaica’s foremost design inspirations are its landscapes, the colors of its  everyday lives, the ocean, the flora and the ultra creative, unique people call Jamaicans

RSTP: Where in Jamaica would you recommend one may find internationally inspired home improvement material and design elements?

CL: Jamaica has come such a far way in availability of design material Active Home, Tile City, Creative Homes and Tiles, For tiles. For  Furnishings,  Living Spaces, Active Home Center, LP Azar also for fabrics, Lavange for hardware and accessories, Fontana Pharmacy and Maxi Montego Bay for soft furnishings, Unique Living for all toiletries and bathroom fixtures. Tile city just brought Kohler to Jamaica, Jamaica Fiberglass for custom made furniture, Dolci Jamaica who can get you a pin to an anchor.  Even Boss know for mattresses now makes a  selection of sofas.  Jamaica is and is always trying to catch-up as much as it can with what is happening elsewhere, we have a long way to go but we are seeing huge leaps and improvements.


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