Interior Design

Island Whimsy: Designing a Paradise by the Sea

A house by the sea should be a house of dreams. Where windows and doors are thrown open to the ocean, and gusts of cool, salty air turn us all into kids again--buoyant and joyful. Spending childhood days on the beach and in the magical, romantic chaos of her family's rambling house internationally renowned interior designer Celerie Kemble has a deep-rooted connection to the sun and surf. However, in the summer of 2004, Kemble laid eyes on a wild swath of jungle in the Dominican Republic next to minty-blue water and an endless stretch of golden sand, she fell madly in love. Over many years, she designed a home away from home there, an island retreat--a clubhouse and a grouping of family homes and guesthouses--suffused with light and air, full of indoor and outdoor rooms for relaxation. In her latest book, Island Whimsy, Kemble recounts the deeply personal and creative journey of designing Playa Grande and bringing this labor of love to life.

The chapters of this book are organized around the different ways Kemble sought to braid her family's story into the larger landscape of Playa Grande and to provide inspiration, joy, and respite to all who come. "Fantasy" looks at the way she used whimsical, dreamlike elements--from the latticework cabanas by the pool to the lamb statues on the property who "mow" the lawns--throughout the property to create a sense of play and possibility. "Light, Salt, Air" describes how she went about bringing the most precious elements of the beach into the homes themselves, creating a feeling of flow and permeability, and reminding visitors constantly of where they are. "In the Jungle" looks at the design cues she took from the flora and fauna of the tropical rainforest surrounding Playa Grande to create an alluring tension between chaos and refinement. "Sweet & Dark" examines the surprising color combinations that tango into life in the tropics--whether in the form of tribal prints in hot Gauguin colors mixed with Jordan-almond pastels or handmade objects like a papier-mâché lobster mask that brings a shout of spirit to a room. Finally, "Texture" focuses on the powerful impact that thoughtfully layered materials--from rough, local coquina stone and painted antique wicker to the smooth polished cotton of Dutch wax prints--have on a space.

Throughout this lovingly crafted book, ideas abound for anyone decorating a sunny home or fantasizing about spending time in one. Kemble shares inspiration for creating a sense of openness to the sea, sand, and sky; offering places to wash sandy feet or perfect viewing spots for a sunset-saturated drink; and infusing spaces with invitation, welcome, and magic.

About The Author

Celerie Kemble is a partner in Kemble Interiors, Inc., a decorating firm founded in 1982. Celerie has been featured in Architectural Digest (including as an AD100 Designer), Elle D├ęcor (where she is a perennial member of the A-List), House Beautiful, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, The Wall Street Journal, Town & Country, Veranda, and more. Her previous design books include To Your Taste and Black & White (and a Bit in Between). She lives between Palm Beach and New York with her three children.

  • Publish Date: April 13, 2021
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: House & Home - Decorating & Furnishings
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 9 x 11-1/2
  • Pages: 256
  • US Price: $55.00
  • CDN Price: $75.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-6219-1

Reviews

"Escape on a journey with ELLE Decor A-List designer Celerie Kemble, whose Island Whimsy will take you to her unforgettable tropical refuge in the Dominican Republic." —ELLEDECOR.COM

"The tastemaking decorator, known for whimsical elegance, reveals a paradise of ideas for indoor/outdoor living that is as comfortable as it is transporting." —LOVEHAPPENSMAG.COM

"Throughout this lovingly crafted book, ideas abound for anyone decorating a house at the beach or fantasizing about spending time in one. Celerie shares inspiration for creating a sense of openness to the sea, sand, and sky; offering places to wash sandy feet or perfect viewing spots for a sunset-saturated drink; and infusing spaces with invitation, welcome, and magic." —THEGLAMPAD.COM

"The book recounts Kemble’s deeply personal and creative journey designing Playa Grande and bringing this labor of love to life." —INTERIORDESIGNMASTERCLASS.COM

"Entirely dedicated to Playa Grande, the property Kemble designed in the Dominican Republic, this tome reflects a rare opportunity to create a sense of place from the raw jungle and pristine coastline, from design to conception." —SOCIETY TEXAS

"In Celerie Kemble’s latest book, ISLAND WHIMSY: DESIGNING A PARADISE BY THE SEA, she draws the reader in, inviting them into a laid back, beautiful treat." —SPLENDID SASS

Author Bookshelf: Celerie Kemble