With her perfectly tousled hair and love of a breezy sundress, Amanda Blakley looks right at home on a beach in Malibu, California. But the fact is that the travel writer and her family – husband Adam and sons, Atticus, eight, and Archer, five – relocated to the town only 18 months ago from bustling Toronto, Canada.
“We moved here last July and have slowly put down roots in this beautiful coastal town,” Blakley says.
Some of her favourite homewares pieces easily transitioned from metropolitan hub to seaside village, but Blakley says that she’s also begun to embrace a more laid back coastal chic decorating style.
Her signatures: “Light and natural fabrics to bring the outdoors in, a muted colour palette with lots of whites and ocean blues, natural fabrics to withstand messy little people constantly tracking in sand and dust, rustic woods and lots of inviting spaces indoors and outdoors for reading, contemplating or sipping a sundowner.”
Blakley’s choice of home fragrances and luxury perfumes also continues to evolve, with the LUMIRA Persian Rose Fragrance Oil currently on high rotation.
How would you describe your interiors aesthetic?
Is eclectic minimalism a thing? I am constantly striving for a clutter-free environment – a mostly improbable task with small humans constantly collecting and hoarding random treasures and depositing precious LEGO creations and forts in every nook and cranny of our home. I love white walls and palette-cleansing spaces that feel peaceful but are also homey and comfortable, thanks to an inviting piece of furniture, a unique textile, piece of art or ceramic. The idea is to make all the things we love work together in a cohesive design concept – it’s obviously a work in progress.
What are some of the most treasured objects in your home?
Other than its inhabitants, I love our big white couch in the living room. It’s long enough and soft enough for deep afternoon naps and all the covers can be easily thrown into the washing machine. I also cherish the pottery pieces I have made over the years and collected; the beautiful (and heavy) books that I insisted on carting cross country; and some of our special rugs picked up or commissioned on our travels.
Your interior is very much in keeping with west coast style. In what ways has your decorating style changed since you relocated from Toronto to Malibu?
We ended up keeping some of our favorite pieces of furniture and art from our Toronto apartment which actually ended up integrating well. I think in general, living by the beach has made me rethink the way I dress and the way we have decorated (and the way we live in) our home. Comfort and ease are things both have in common.
How connected do you think a home’s interior style should be to its location?
If I can relate this to travel and to hotels, I love the sense of time and place that can be established through design. Certain materials, colours, elements and even scents can help to root the visitor and evoke strong feelings and emotions or create memories. Ask any visitor that has checked in to an iconic Parisian hotel or Mallorcan finca. For someone like me, who obsesses over these types of details, I think successful design should always incorporate some element of place. But don’t get me started on those kitschy ‘Take me to the beach’ signs...
How do you like to use scent?
While I have exacting taste, I am not one of those people who has worn the same scent since my teenage years. My tastes have definitely evolved since my Gucci Rush phase (thankfully).
There is something emotional about sensory memories of the seasons. The crisp fall air, woodsy winter scents and musks, followed by the promise of spring, which I often associate with clean citrus fragrances. Summer to me is always about vanilla and floral notes. It’s definitely why this past year living in southern California has felt like the endless summer. I haven’t been changing up my personal scents or those in our home – but perhaps I should!
Which products from the LUMIRA range are you most enjoying?
What’s your favourite fragrance memory?
My olfactory childhood memories of summer in Cape Cod are a combination of charcoal on the grill, Coppertone sunscreen, salt and vinegar potato chips and the smell of the sea on my sun-drenched skin after a day at the beach.
Written by Michelle Bateman