One of my favorite parts of traveling is seeing how people live, what their homes and furniture look like and how it can inspire my own work and perspective. It doesn’t take much to bring me over to the laid back island style, but 2 weeks of island hopping in Tahiti with the hot, moist air that smelled like vanilla everywhere we went and the vivid colors all around made it that much more enticing.
It seemed like the water was bluer (it really is), the trees were greener and the flowers more fragrant. There is a vitality that is richer and tangible. I am usually a sucker for neutrals- I love my whites more than anyone (white on white on white always wins in my book) but spending 3 weeks hopping from island to island I grew a newfound love for color. In one of the hotels we stayed the beds were dressed in bright coral linen that paired with the simple wooden furniture, banana leaf roof and shell chandeliers created a laid back, nature inspired appeal.
Interior design in Tahiti is largely driven by the local resources. Furniture and decor is all imported and high import tax make even the most attainable items expensive. I was struck by the ingenuity of the locals and how certain natural resources were used in such thoughtful and interesting ways. Banana’s are an essential part of the Tahitian diet, but the leaves are also used for the underside of many of the ceilings of bungalows that we stayed in. I even found myself hiding under a banana leaf tree during a sudden down pour during my daily jog, and did not get wet at all! Those banana leaf plants are incredible.
Being a California girl I thought I knew all about indoor/ outdoor living, but the Tahitian’s are truly one with their environment. There are no screens on windows, doors are always wide open and very little time besides to sleep is spent indoors. I didn’t watch tv or sit on a sofa for 3 weeks and this is typical for the Tahitian lifestyle. Time is spent around large dining tables enjoying conversation and shared meals. The nightly sunrise was an important occasion where it seemed like everyone stopped what they were doing to watch it until it dipped away. It was a truly spiritual experience to paddle out into that blue water and sit on my board watching the sun dropping and the amazing colors it spilled across the sky while behind me the sacred green island covered in green trees rose up. It was like being in the most beautiful painting every night.
Whenever I travel I immediately start thinking about how i would design a house and Tahiti is no different. Check out my pinterest for some of my favorite Tahitian inspired home decor and I have rounded up a selection below.