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Carla Guilhem Design

From sea to shore: Bespoke interiors by Carla Guilhem

Having made their name in high-end residences, Carla Guilhem and her Miami-based interior design studio branched out into the superyacht world several years ago. Various interior design projects, including the award-winning Lady Lene, have given Carla an even richer perspective on how to work with spaces and meet highly specific client requirements which she is implementing to great effect on land too.

All-custom creations

Whether onshore or onboard, the creation of exceptional spaces which truly feel like home is a highly specialist art. Many landlubbers are unaware of the incredible extent to which superyachts can be shaped to a client’s taste and lifestyle, especially at the premium European shipyards. The choices go way beyond colors and materials: every aspect of the interior can be designed, laid out, styled and tailored to perfectly match both the owner’s personality as well as the likely uses of the yacht.

“Beauty has the power to change our lives. At Carla Guilhem Design we strive for absolute beauty in every project.”

A cool recent example is the award-winning Lady Lene, built by a custom superyacht builder in Europe, and where Carla has designed five fabulous interiors to date. “Lady Lene showcases an exceptional degree of personalization as she was created to incorporate the needs of four generations of the family,” Carla explains.

“As a bespoke design like this involves working with complex spaces, we begin the process by focussing on the structure and the walls, floors, wall paneling and ceilings. It’s essential to create the entire space before starting to define what goes in it and we’re applying this holistic mindset even more now to our work onshore. For example, we’re also utilizing the rounder shapes developed on boats to reflect the movement of the vessel – these can be cosier than sharp edges in houses too, offering a more natural ambience.”

Evoking emotions

This approach is not so common in the residential interior design industry where the focus can often lie more on ‘decorating’. “The response to a limited space on yachts is to customize the features within and I believe that’s equally important in a building,” Carla continues. “The point of departure for developing a strong concept is understanding the client’s needs, capturing the essence of their goals and the sensations they wish each area to evoke. A house is very personal and I relish the chance to embark on the process of co-creating something that is not only harmonious and beautiful but also fully integrates the owner’s personality in the space. Once the space is designed to achieve the desired sensations, we continue to create the right furniture pieces, tailor-made to the client’s personal tastes and uses. ” 

“The response to a limited space on yachts is to customize the features within and I believe that’s equally important in a building,”

To achieve this Carla goes way beyond mood boards and reference images, honing in on people and their home environment, whether that be an urban dwelling or a place in the mountains. Just as when working with yacht owners, she takes a deep dive into clients’ lives, family make-up, personal preferences, use of space, material likes, ambitions and more besides. “The magic comes when we together find the feeling they wish to evoke, the energy, and the emotional connections,” adds Carla.

“Custom luxury yacht owners love this creative process so much that they often end up building multiple boats and we aim to replicate that enjoyment when designing people’s homes on land too. The effect of our shared efforts will last far longer when something is customised for you – you relive the moments and memories of the creative process as you live in the space in your everyday life.”

Bespoke interiors

One of Carla’s latest projects on land is a testimony to how this pans out in practice. The owners of a 9,000 sq. ft residence at Great Neck Bay, Long Island, set out to make the most of a piece of land that offers incredible views over Manhattan. Every space of their residence has been designed in a different way and every piece of furniture, inside and out, has been made based on the needs of that space. You can see the tremendous result for yourself here and the way that Carla and her team have optimised the versatility of those spaces in the same way they seamlessly blend outdoor and indoor environments on yachts. 

Signature line

Carla is currently designing a signature furniture line based on her experiences in the superyacht world. This line of maritime-resilient furniture for land-based residences will look equally stunning on patio and in lounge. More details will be unveiled soon but whether your next living space project is on water or land and you dare to dream of ways to take that residence to the next level of personal uniqueness, prepare to be inspired by Carla’s design process.