Me And My Home: Bahamian rhapsody

Gerry DeVeaux's home is an inspiring mix of Sixties and Seventies pieces. By Sian Pattenden
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The Independent Online

Record producer Gerry DeVeaux has homes in his native Bahamas, New York, Sydney, and this west London flat. He has written songs for Vanessa Paradis, Kylie Minogue, Angie Stone and Madonna.

Record producer Gerry DeVeaux has homes in his native Bahamas, New York, Sydney, and this west London flat. He has written songs for Vanessa Paradis, Kylie Minogue, Angie Stone and Madonna.

I bought the place seven years ago from an old aristocratic couple and they were very posh and very sweet, but the flat was done up in that overdone Laura Ashley style. I wanted to de-chintz it, open it up and make it more my vibe - younger and fresher. I got rid of all the cornicing, the dado rails and the textured silk wallpapers. I don't mind texture, but I don't like pattern.

I wasn't in London much until a year ago and that's when I did the flat up. I had a love/hate relationship with London before - actually it was more hate than love. I didn't like the weather and I didn't like it because it was so big - you can go to a bar in London and feel like you're in another country. I do like it now, because I have nice friends here and I've made this place a home. If you're going to be in a big city, you have to have a comfort zone within the madness - whether it's your house, your husband, wife or your kids.

The first thing I did was knock the wall through in the front room to open it up. I start with light, air and a disco ball and I take it from there. All the walls are white and there are lots of mirrors. You have to let the place dictate - if you have a place with high ceilings like this, it should tell you what art you put in it; it's like a canvas that needs paint.

I then bought the circular 1960s seat. I got it in an antique market in Holland. I got the wall light in Camden Market, because it goes with the seat. I had to put the palm tree in the centre of the room so that it would have that Bahamas feeling. I need lots of plants in the house. I have green fingers, yes... and a really good assistant.

I love 1960s and 1970s pieces, but I like to juxtapose. That's an 18th-century French armoire next to the classic 1960s table and chairs. I have an antique dealer here who looks out for stuff for me: 1960s lights, lamps and old Perspex pieces, which I love. The nice thing about Perspex is that it doesn't take over the room, you can have something angular and it's not too "hard".

I don't think you need a lot of money to create a good house. When I had no money - and when I say none, I mean none - I still made my place fabulous. It's about fantasies. If I go to a hotel, I take a Roberto Cavalli or Dolce & Gabbana scarf and throw it over something, light a candle and personalise the room. There are some pieces in here that are expensive but I have a wardrobe that's from Ikea that cost £100. Money doesn't create style, as everyone should know.

The guest bedroom is one of my favourite rooms. I always end up in here because it's quiet and serene. This is my chill-out room. The leopard-print chair was a gift from a designer friend. The square light on the floor, I'm very fond of. I love lighting, there's no better way to create or supplement a mood. I got the Perspex sculpture at a 1960s antique auction in New York.

Wherever I am, if I hear there's an auction of modern pieces, I'll go and have a look. Every once in a while you find something very cool. Some people get carried away at auction and pay too much but I don't. I'm always very sensible; perhaps it's because I don't drink or take drugs. I like to pick my own things - I would never hire a decorator. Not everyone has taste, some people would rather employ someone, but everybody's talents and gifts are different.

The bathroom is calming. I wanted to do something different, so I put crocodile-texture wallpaper on the walls. In every city there's a style of decoration. There's a certain London decoration vibe, like everyone's read the same handbook. Everyone's into limestone bathrooms in London, that's the look right now, and a certain colour palette. You have to be creative and think beyond that.

The hallway screams out to be used as a runway. I have model friends [there are many pictures of Naomi Campbell in the bathroom] and I don't mind all those stilettos on the hardwood floor. A house is to be lived in. Who's been here? Who hasn't? Well, Tony Blair hasn't, but he's the only one I can think of.

Another room I love is the kitchen. I love to cook. I think cooking is an expression of love. If you're a woman and you don't cook, in the Bahamas you wouldn't get a husband. The best kitchen gadget is what I call my James Bond peppermill, by Cole and Mason. You press a button and it grinds. That was a present from a record producer friend. Other friends give me plants or candles - they know what I like. My family gave me a mink coat recently which I use as a throw.

My flat is very tidy. I like minimalism; everything to be put away. I'm a Virgo. If I have guests come over, I like everything to be clean - then everyone can have a good time.

The first thing I do when I've been away for a few weeks is run a bath and light a Diptyque lavender candle. Your home has to be an oasis. I don't want chaos - I couldn't paint my walls bright colours or anything like that - my life is already chaotic enough.

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