An interview with India Hicks

The designer, entrepreneur, humanitarian, writer and legendary hostess lives with her family on a small island in the Bahamas. She recently published her fourth book focusing on design and lifestyle

Left: The former model has lived in the Bahamas for 25 years Right: Picnic with panache: even an alfresco lunch on Portobello beach would be enhanced by a touch of Hicks style.

How has your style evolved over the years?

I don’t think it really has evolved – I’m still a traditionalist at heart, although my style has possibly become a little more eccentric. My partner David Flint Wood and I collect and fail to edit, so there’s layer upon layer in our house. I panic occasionally that we’ve become hoarders, until guests remind me that every object, painting and book tells its own story of the life we have created together with our five children.

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Describe your dream home

My dream home is actually the house I live in here in the Bahamas. It’s called Hibiscus Hill and we’ve been here for 25 years. It’s in need of some updating, but the memories we’ve created raising our children here among a menagerie of dogs, cats and tortoises are profound. 

What’s it like inside?

It’s very traditional with surprising moments.

What makes a home?

David reckons it’s books and art but I always think it’s children and dogs.

Who are your heroes?

In the aftermath of 2019’s devastating Hurricane Dorian,
I crossed paths with many extraordinary people who
displayed incredible leadership and worked selflessly
to help so many others in desperate need. Among these
heroes are people like chef and restaurateur José Andrés of World Central Kitchen and Michael Capponi of Global Empowerment Mission.  

Who is your design hero?

My father, David Hicks. He was a tricky dad but a sensational interior designer. 

What’s your favourite building?

I stayed in Paris recently for a few weeks. It was empty of tourists but filled with old-fashioned charm, from the florists to the pharmacies. David and I went to visit the Sacré-Coeur on a slow chilly Sunday afternoon. We watched the sun set across the city, saw lovers kissing and artists in their studios, then walked home through Montmartre. We stopped for a drink with friends on the Île Saint-Louis before going on towards our little apartment on the other side of the Seine. I couldn’t pick out one building, but that walk, in that city, on that date will be a favourite memory for a long time to come. 

Left: Classic Blue Willow china gets a modern makeover in this set-up Right: The front cover of An Entertaining Story by India Hicks

What are you sitting on right now?

I’m actually lying on my bed with Banger gently snoring beside me. The bed was made by a company called British Khaki and it is named after my grandfather, Lord Mountbatten.

Which iconic interior product do you wish you’d designed?

The dimmer switch. There’s nothing more important than that!

Luxury is…

Privacy. A library filled with books by notable authors is also a great luxury. In among them, of course, should be my latest book, An Entertaining Story!

If money WERE no object…

Oh, I’d definitely have a private plane, especially right now while it is very difficult to travel.

How do you invest in yourself?

Carving out an hour for a run. It’s when I think most clearly and most creatively. 

How do you relax?

A hot bath and a bag of Liquorice Allsorts.

What’s the best thing about Scotland?

There are so many. Porridge in the Inverness railway hotel is certainly one of them. I’m very fond of Scotland. I went to school at Gordonstoun and spent many summers with my cousins in the Highlands. r

An Entertaining Story by India Hicks (Rizzoli, £37.50) is out now

Looking for more? Check out our interview with Jonathan Adler