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London-based interior designer, Bee Osborn, vividly recalls the night last September when she, like many around the world, sat glued to her television. Anxiously watching Hurricane Irma make landfall in the Caribbean.
“I stayed up all night,” the designer says. “Looking for news on St. Barth – and specifically Hotel Le Toiny. The devastation was so horrible to see.”
Only a season prior, Osborn put finishing touches on Hotel Le Toiny’s new ‘coastal chic’ décor, featuring soft creams and beiges, a light, airy, sophisticated ambience. And one of the designer’s favorite-ever creations, an oyster-shell bar with mother-of-pearl joinery, and bespoke bar stools with splashy pops of pink fabric.
The hotel was damaged in the super storm. But soon – October 15, 2018 – Hotel Le Toiny reopens. Again with signature touches by Osborn.
“We lost some of our precious antiques,” Osborn says. “So that was really sad.” A few pieces were salvaged – including a commissioned ceramic-swirl art piece, made on a Belgian linen canvas that will continue to hang in reception. Other pieces, bespoke, are being recreated.
One of those ‘recreations’ is the now-legendary oyster bar. “The bar is being remade, shell by shell,” says the designer who, for months, has been working with her supplier along the English coast. As he hand-gathers each shell. And she travels regularly to ‘check on tones and colors.’
Expect a few ‘new’ signatures too. The restaurant, completely rebuilt, gave time to pause and rethink the space “only to come back even better and more glamorous,” says Osborn. A highlight: “there will be a wall of antique glass turtles (made in London).” Guaranteed to stun.
Also a new shade of ‘pink’– sexy, punchy, uplifting, “a cross between soft and hot pink,” according to Osborn. That will perfectly complement Hotel Le Toiny’s signature blue.
“The redesign – and especially the new villas – will be more glamourous with antique mirrors, higher ceilings. The design is more dramatic, a definite wow factor. Yet still with emphasis on beautiful materials (mother of pearl, oyster shells, wood), texture and fabrics.
This month, Osborn joins the Hotel Le Toiny team on island to begin the installation. Unpack. Put the bar in place. Create the wall of turtle mirrors. And, prior to opening day, will return to St. Barth to attend to final details.
“It was horrible to watch the devastation of the storm (to Hotel Le Toiny) and St. Barth. But it was humbling and gratifying to watch this hotel family come together – put it all back together. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity – Hotel Le Toiny was the most exciting project to create. And the fact I was given carte blanche to do whatever I wanted is a gift from heaven really.”
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