Designer Barbara Bilobran of Marie Howard Interiors Showroom in Troy says you can have luxury no matter how far you roam: Begin your day with richly brewed espresso, serve dinner with Michigan’s finest wines and sit above deck at day’s end to watch night stars.
The secret is to make everyday objects delightful to use, shares Grand Rapids interior designer Yvonne Fix Daniels. Break out the crystal glasses, fine china and silver for a meal. Dry off after a shower with a rich-textured towel and sleep in a delicious bed of downy pillows and soft linens. Or establish a single focal point with an objet d’art — perhaps an antique piece upholstered in contemporary fabric or a painting with colors echoed elsewhere in the cabin.
Christina Norris, owner of Oversee Yachts in Holland, suggests upholstering with a jacquard or damask weave in a tone-on-tone neutral that reveals its beauty only on a closer look.
The fresh look of natural wood and lighter stains enhance life on deck and below; in one client’s vessel, Fix Daniels recently installed quarter-sawn cherry flooring with touches of dark java.
Lighting sets the stage, Norris notes. She recommends new spectrum lighting in wall sconces and ceilings for a warm and comfortable glow: The trend, she says, is to use these smaller, flatter sconces in several locations, illuminating small islands throughout the cabin.
Belowdecks, the fresh look of natural wood is very much in play.
— Yvonne Fix Daniels
Bilobran says that today’s upholstery fabrics last because they resist wear and tear. “You’ll never worry about oils and spills,” she says, “and most above- and belowdeck fabrics are machine washable.”
Many fabrics currently in use are also antimicrobial, so they resist the effects of a damp environment without requiring bleach or other harsh chemicals. Some fabrics even embed silver ions, to eliminate cooking odors.
On Red Pearl, a client’s yacht, marine design specialist Christine Norris used a combination and twist of red, black and off-white Sunbrella fabric to “pull” interiors colors outdoors in a fun yet sophisticated way.
While a range of durable upholstery and carpeting available now allows boat owners to soften the traditional abrupt change between topsides and belowdecks décor, Fix Daniels does encourage sharpening the dividing line when it comes to technology. It may be everywhere, she notes, but if you don’t want to see it, just stow the technology and big screens behind panels.