Insider: Carina Cooper
When you walk into any of Carina's homes, you know immediately that you have arrived someplace extraordinarily special. Carina, a colorful chef and writer, grew up in one of the most beautiful houses in England, which dates back to Elizabethan times. Carina's taste has always been colorful, imaginative, and impeccable. Her first flat in Notting Hill was done with such style -- Boho chic (way before the phrase was coined) meets the California flea market. She was wildly ahead of her time -- influenced by Mexican and Western style way back when -- and her singular style has continued to inspire all of her friends to this day.
"When buying your first house, it's more important to imagine if you could be happy there than the practical considerations."
Carina possesses an amazing ability to find unique properties. From Hollywood to Notting Hill, the Devon countryside to Ibiza, she creates magic. At her farm in Devon, pictured left and throughout post, she brings Moroccan textiles and French antiques to the English countryside, and, as with her cooking, brilliantly marries unconventional ingredients to create something original, and fabulous.
I COLLECT...bird nests, pebbles...anything from nature
If you weren't a writer, what would you be? An acrobat
If you could live in any era? It would be the 1940's
In your next life, what would you be? I'd come back as one of the swallows from my barn who makes such a heroic journey from Devon to Africa and back again in a year.
THINGS I LOVE...
Bright & bold paint colors
Exotic ethnic cloth tribal weavings and vintage European textiles
Combining old and new -- Mid-Century modern and British Arts & Crafts with French country
Attention to detail -- Greek textiles appliquéd onto plain linens
Tables piled with potted geraniums
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Art - Folk art
Country - France
Animal - Horses
Culture - Mexican
Artist - Turner
Flowers - Apple blossoms
Places you've discovered off the beaten path - Ulpotha Sri Lanka
Favorite book - Adventures in Contentment by David Grayson (I found an original 1860's issue with a red suede cover in a secondhand bookstore.)
Your childhood obsessions - Flea markets and making shampoo from from dried herbs
Music you've rediscovered - Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" ( I do my housework to it).