Like everyone else, Darel Clayton was ensconced at home during the COVID lockdowns of 2020 – cooking, decorating … rearranging. She had nowhere to go. Her transit lifestyle of just passing through, pre-COVID, ceased to exist. With no choice but to remain at her abode, she grew a deeper appreciation for her own lovely, well-appointed home and began journaling her thoughts and that was how the idea of HOME was created.
HOME is Clayton’s guide to living your best life – creatively and authentically. Through HOME Clayton aims to inspire, motivate and curate a modern lifestyle achievable by everyone. Her mantra is it’s your home – make it livable, luxurious, and yours.
“Home is a very personal space, and the meaning and definition will be different to everyone, country to country, culture to culture – but for me, home is about your story … a collection of photographs, memorabilia, [and] personal style that reflects who you are, and who your family are.”
The interior stylist strives to assist people in making their homes what they want it to be through staging, re-designing, space planning, interior decorating and the provision of furniture accessories.
HOME is reflective of Clayton’s amazing personal sense of style and her own home’s design esthetics, which she has received compliments on over the years, and which she receives, graciously.
“HOME is totally every aspect of my personal style,” she says. “I think it is only natural for personal style to be reflected in your interior style choices. If you like bright colors that will reflect in your home.”
As such, Clayton absolutely draws inspiration from her personal style in doing what she does. She also has that unique ability to visualize a space and see what she would like it to be. Some people look for a beautiful place, then there are people like Clayton who make a beautiful place.
Besides being naturally gifted, Clayton has done courses online and seminars, and has worked with incredible interior designers that she says she has learnt so much from. Then there’s the fact that she has moved over eight times and has had to decorate each home each time.
“I have acquired a lot of self-taught skill, which I’m quite proud of. There are just some things to your personal style and design esthetic that is uniquely you which cannot be taught – it’s within.”
As for inspiration, Clayton says it all depends on what she’s working on.
“I can draw inspiration from a painting, a particular color, a focal art sculpture – you just have to sit sometimes and take it all in. Whatever my inspiration, I try to tell the story of it through interior styling.”
But she does not push her will onto clients.
“It is never my goal and vision – it is always that of the client. I am just the facilitator in helping them tell the story of their home,” she says.
“Everyone is so different – there are persons that are very hands-on with you and want to be a part of the process and others that just want it done with no commitment or involvement and I truly like those persons that want to be a part of the process.”
When styling someone’s home or even just a room in a house, Clayton says there are many things to take into consideration, but she starts by asking her clients about the story they are looking to tell in the styling of their space.
“Lighting, colors, texture, furniture art, flooring – there are so many moving elements that have to come together. And of course, there are always changes along the way so you have to take that into account, as well. You have to pay attention to detail and know how to combine details to create beautiful and interesting results.”
If it is something absolutely hideous, she says she may say something.
One of her favorite clients to date has been a family whose home she says had turned into a mini pre-school because they had so many toys and children’s things all over the house, but the parents wanted to re-organize and decorate their house so that it felt like a relaxing place to come home to and not a pre-school.
Clayton who says she is all over the place with her personal style opts for home décor that is demure yet fashionable, comfortable and livable, and super important to her, it’s “super neat.” Clayton owns up to being OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) when it comes to her home which she loves and says it is her go-to place to host anything.
“I think everything is better at home. Why go to a restaurant when you can elegantly dine or have a festive party in the comfort of your home? Plus, you don’t have to pay VAT. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a nice evening out, but my choice of any place for entertaining is home. I think it is a control thing for me as well, because it will be done just how I like it.”
The interior stylist credits her mother Ella Davis with her innate ability.
“It really started from home where I grew up. My mom has an incredible sense of style. Our home was always well decorated and kept. We also did a lot of entertaining at home, so I learned a lot from my mom. To tell the truth, she is the ‘Bahamian Martha Stewart’ – she is even an amazing cook and I am not.
“But to tell the truth, I pay attention to the details of everything. I believe that even the small things tell a big picture. Being able to travel and living in different cities have also influenced my interior styling journey.”
Clayton, her husband Scott, and their boys, Gianluca and Andreas, lived in Europe for 12 years, where she says she also learned a lot, and is able to share from those experiences.
“I find that I am home more – be it here or in Europe – and everything I do gravitates towards home, but to tell the truth, it is my every day. I do it every day, without thinking. I just like decorating. I am a ‘decoholic.’”
It’s this self-proclaimed “decoholic” that is constantly changing her home with the seasons.
“My house is never the same month to month. My kids are still young and also like to decorate so we pull out the Easter bunnies for Easter, the pumpkins for fall, the spiders and skeletons for Halloween and Christmas is just ‘jollification’ madness.”
Her go-to color is neutral – grays with two pops of color.
Clayton’s home is never without candles and plants. Pressed to choose just one, she opts for plants because she says they bring life to a home.
Clayton’s top tips for anyone looking to change up their home, without having to drop major dollars is to always work with what you have. She says that is the best place to start, then opt to refurbish some items like re-upholstering chairs. Changing knobs in areas like the kitchen, she says, can create a totally new look. And that by simply adding plants and greenery, a person can transform a space inexpensively. She encourages creatives to make something themselves.
Clayton, who prides herself on her hosting abilities is also big on “old school tradition” when it comes to many things, and touts the act of being gracious which she says will never go out of style – no matter how convenient or savvy technology makes life.
“I believe you should never show up to someone’s house empty-handed. Kindly show your appreciation to the hostess for inviting you to their home with a gift. And of course, there is nothing more special than receiving a handwritten thank you note. All of these little things I learned from home growing up and have carried into the traditions of my home.”
And it is Clayton’s HOME brand known for design inspiration that has collaborated with TheBlueSTone for TheBlueSToneHOME which is dedicated to bringing people the best in modern design. Their mission is retailing furniture pieces and décor accessible to everyone, on every budget. Their collection of modern décor offers everything a person needs to refresh a room or completely remodel their home. They are passionate about finding the latest trends in contemporary décor that well serve as a stylistic guide for modern mavens and new enthusiasts alike.
TheBlueSToneHome will host its second home décor collection pop-up shop at Veridian at Astoria on Saturday, June 26 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. After passing the Fresh Market at Old Fort Bay, continue westwards towards the Lyford Cay roundabout, Veridian will be the brown office building on the left.