By Julie Murphy. Photography compliments of CIDesign Inc.

Guillaume Meniaud of Caribbean Interior Design has been raised with decorating in his blood. His father, Jean Yves Meniaud, was a designer with the world renown Maison Jansen of Paris in the 60’s, the most celebrated decorating house of the 20th century and he has continued in his footsteps.

“I never questioned it, it surrounded me.” he explains. In 1985 he took over his father’s operations in the town of Beaulieu Sur Mer on the French Riviera. As the business expanded to include many overseas projects, he relocated to Switzerland in 2004 and then Barbados in 2008. Caribbean Interior Design was officially opened in September 2008 and Guillaume heads up a team of five from his office in Holetown, St. James.

He is clearly very passionate about his work. It could be a small project, say a bathroom or lounge, or it could be a hotel. It isn’t the size of the project but the interest of the project itself that keeps his focus, and while the majority of his work in the island are for elite private clientele, his last project was the famous “The Sands” at Sandy Lane.

“I worked with architect Larry Warren and Jo Steinbock from Rotherley Construction from the inception and it really was exciting. The design was amazing! We wanted to achieve a unique level of finishes, and I was involved on every single detail of the construction and design process.”

Guillaume explains that “The Sands”, like his private projects, was so focused on the quality of the finishes, with clients who were extremely involved and every minute feature was sourced or designed specifically for the residences, down to the hardware for the doors which he designed himself.

Indeed, rather than arriving at an empty shell he is often involved in creating the spaces he has to decorate, thus enabling him to improve and optimize every detail. “The project is my first concern always, as it allows me to build and design something, advancing the ideas of my clients and bringing my ideas to it, while my background naturally influences the designs to stay chic and interesting.”

“At the end of the day, I do not think that people in Barbados are looking for a colonial style always. Many of my clients here have a very open mind in terms of style and décor. The classical style gives the base but many modern projects can have a reflection of those classic styles too.”

What makes Caribbean Interior Design truly unique is their attention to detail. Meniaud explains this service is not one typically offered by most contractors. “We bring specialists from all over France, Italy and Spain to assist us with the finer details. Especially painting, paneling, cabinetry and upholstery.” The specificity of his services, compared to large companies means he doesn’t often have very many projects ongoing at the same time. “We work in so much detail, selecting, sourcing everything from furniture and paintings to the trimming and design of the upholstery, these things are very detailed, so really we must be very focused on the project.”

His dream is to eventually set up an international showroom here in Barbados to present and teach the local market about these details. “The final idea is to expand the company so all this sourcing can take place here in Barbados.” An interesting and very detailed project in itself but he doesn’t have a deadline for this “It will flow, but I see everything available in the showroom, where we will have the capacity to conceptualize and simply proceed with turnkey concepts.”

Guillaume says he is finding it exciting working with other professionals in the island overall. “I find it most interesting working with these clients and others in my field here, because even though we all have knowledge of the same subject, I am learning more about the way things are done here, which is so very different from Europe. And of course, there is the life Barbados has to offer, it’s a fantastic time.”

Indeed, there is always so much more potential in the island and certainly the plans lead to him being far busier in the future, but for now Guillaume is content to bring his touch to the private homes of his exclusive clientele and enjoy the island life while he does this.

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