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Home & Garden

Shopping With India Hicks

Life as a Castaway

Colleen Duffley for The New York Times

AHOY In Seacrest Beach, Fla., India Hicks admires a mirror with a barnacle-accented frame by Jeffrey Massey; $850 at Bohlert Massey Home, (850) 231-3940, bohlertmassey.com.

Published: August 19, 2009

SPENDING time in a beach house is one of life’s great pleasures. Unfussy furniture. Floors that don’t mind sand. Comfy, well-worn sheets. And, of course, ocean breezes.

When it comes to achieving the look and feel of a beach house, India Hicks is an authority. Ms. Hicks — a model and a daughter of the legendary designer David Hicks — began her love affair with island life as a child, when she and her siblings spent one month a year on a private island in the Bahamas.

“We had no telephone, no television, there were no shops on the island,” she said, calling it “a very Robinson Crusoe existence.”

She liked the way of life and the plantation-style dwellings so much that 13 years ago she gave up her place in the West Village and made the Bahamas her home. She and her partner, David Flint Wood, renovated a colonial-style house that they and their children live in, built two guest villas and restored a 200-year-old plantation-house-turned-hotel there. In 2004 they published “Island Life: Inspirational Interiors,” a book documenting the work and offering advice on acquiring the island look at home. And for the last few years, Ms. Hicks has been selling an island-inspired line of home and body products at Crabtree & Evelyn.

“I really embraced a more relaxed lifestyle,” Ms. Hicks said.

During a recent break from wake-boarding with her three young sons outside their home, Ms. Hicks explained by telephone that the trick to obtaining the beach house vibe is to channel the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson and Joseph Conrad, not the souvenirs of Daytona Beach.

“I like to keep things more neutral and natural and then just add hints of color,” she said.

Shopping online and on the Florida Panhandle, where she and her family were vacationing last week, Ms. Hicks found a number of accessories that could be used to subtly transform a space.

At Bohlert Massey Home, a shop in Seacrest Beach, Fla., a rectangular mirror with a barnacle-encrusted frame appealed to her.

At velocityartanddesign.com, she picked the Porcelain Sea Life figurines and votive holders, by Roost. “They’re not over the top,” Ms. Hicks said.

At anthropologie.com, she admired the Abalone chandelier, made from abalone shells from Indonesia. “It immediately suggests the beach without being too obvious,” Ms. Hicks said.

A hint, she said, is all that’s needed: “To create a stylish beach home, you need to be very subtle,” and avoid “the aesthetic of the bright pink hibiscus flower or cocktail umbrella stick.” JULIE SCELFO

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