La dolce vita

Italian-trained designer Supriya Bodden has decorated her home to give it the definite feel of “la dolce vita.”
Elegant and tasteful, the apartment is filled with the finest of furniture, fixtures and fittings.

It is intended to accommodate her husband Bobby’s tastes and Supriya has magically mingled the sophisticated elements of international design with island chic.

Antiques, silver, crystal, marble and precious shells adorn the condo, and her family heirlooms are mixed in among the modern pieces.

Originally from Guyana, Supriya is a designer, political activist, philanthropist and cancer survivor, who moved to Cayman when the couple married in 2011.
Bobby lived in their condo on Seven Mile Beach when they met and she began redesigning the space for him using sumptuous fabrics and materials along with top-of-the-line brands.

“My husband was my inspiration for the design of this condo,” she says. “He is a true son of the Caymanian soil and lives and breathes the sea. His eyes are the color of the sea and I tried to capture the same green-blue hues I see in the wall-color in our room. I know this sounds soppy and romantic but it is the truth.”

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Supriya has reflected his tastes in the interior design of the condo, but not in a literal way with shells, coral or stingrays, as might have been expected.

“Instead, I introduced materials like Lucite and crystal that are reminiscent of the water; abalone shell inlays; mother-of-pearl inlays; and amethyst inlays in the wall tiles, which I had made in India,” she explains.

Design treasures
Throughout the condo, the flooring is made from the finest Calacatta gold marble from Italy, while the entranceway boasts a hand-blown Murano crystal chandelier.

“The chandelier is custom-designed to reflect the shape of coral my husband describes to me from his dives,” says Supriya.

The kitchen, dining and living area is open-plan, but outfitted with impeccable craftsmanship and glittering accessories.
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For example, the white cathedral contemporary-styled cabinets have door-pulls made from Swarovski crystal. The walls are back-painted glass and the chandelier is vintage Schonbek.

Another chandelier above the dining table is made with silver chains and crystal, flowing overhead like a wave, while Supriya had the chairs wrapped in the yellow fabric that covers the seats in iconic Ferrari cars.

“Something I treasure greatly is the blue and white crochet-and-linen tablecloth given to me by my mother-in-law, Fefe Bodden, a wonderful Caymanian lady whom I loved so much,” says Supriya.

The sideboard and entertainment center are Armani pieces and Supriya’s collection of china teacups is perched on contemporary cube shelves she bought online.

“I like to mix contemporary elements with traditional pieces, it looks so much richer when layered,” she says. “The condo is filled with 18th century, crystal, china and silver.”

Master suite

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The furniture in the master suite has Lucite-framing with faux sharkskin gray upholstery, crystal accents and a distressed-silver finish, all custom-designed by Supriya.

The curtains also have her own inimitable touch, accentuated at the goblet pleat with crystal napkin holders that she bought at A. L. Thompson’s.

The master bathroom offers a spa-like experience, with three different shower effects. Venetian mirrors, mirrored cabinets and Schonbek light fixtures fill the room.

Meanwhile, the powder room is unique with a wall-finish inlaid with abalone shell made from tiny slivers of shell set on marble in a mosaic pattern.

The guest bathroom, on the other hand, has walls inlaid with African amethyst.

Most of the artwork in the condo is by Supriya’s sister Kamal, who is well-known and operates out of a studio in London.

Design background
Supriya’s superlative design skills date back to her early years in the United Kingdom, where she was educated.

She spent most of her formative years in London and in Forte dei Marmi, Italy, where her family had a holiday home.

After a stint in Canada studying for a bachelor’s degree in political science she returned to the U.K. capital, obtaining a master’s degree in international relations at the University of London.

While working on her master’s, Supriya set up and managed an interior design company — European Design and Development — in South Kensington, London.

“I am fluent in Italian and the parent company — Design Duemila — was based in Rome, it was owned by a friend who won the bids to complete some very high-end projects in London and Dubai,” Supriya recalls.
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“This was my first exposure to interior design at a highly professional level with some of the world’s best designers and materials. It was here that I got my training.”

Those years in Italy also played a big part in fine-tuning her eye for design and all-things artistic.

Indeed, she was trained in gilding and decorative finishes by one of Italy’s best —Roberto Passeri — who is responsible for many restoration works in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and other projects worldwide.

Trust House Forte Hotels, now renamed Rocco Forte Hotels, approached Supriya while she was in London, to refurbish a hotel the company owned in Guyana
She seized the opportunity, returning home in 1990 to set up her own business, Demerara Design.

“The company was very successful, completing several embassies, state houses, airport, hotels and luxury residences,” she says. “We undertook many projects around the Caribbean and South Florida as well.”

And it was during work on one of her Caribbean projects that she met her husband Bobby Bodden.
Politics & charity

While living in Guyana, Supriya became involved in politics, campaigning during the 2015 elections for the opposition party that has now formed the government.

Although she has relocated to Cayman since marrying Bobby, Supriya still spends a good amount of time in her native country where she owns a fruit farm filled with peacocks, rabbits and ducks, and is surrounded by rice fields.

Shortly after her wedding to Bobby, Supriya was diagnosed with breast cancer but has recovered with a clean bill of health.
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After finishing chemotherapy at the end of 2012, she set up the Guyana Foundation, which is a non-profit charitable organization that has done a tremendous amount of work in the field of women’s empowerment, youth empowerment and community renewal projects.

“Life is precious and I learned the hard way that its true meaning can only be unraveled when you learn to look beyond yourself and strip away all the egocentric things we surround ourselves with,” she says. “We must share love, kindness and respect to each other and lend a helping hand to those less fortunate.”

The Guyana Foundation has flourished and Supriya was recently awarded one of the highest honors in Guyana, The Cacique Crown of Honor, for her work with the foundation and in the field of politics.

So when not traveling, campaigning or undertaking charitable efforts, she seeks sanctuary in the Seven Mile Beach residence with Bobby.

“My husband and I both have very hectic lives that involve a lot travel,” she says.
“Therefore, our condo in Cayman is a breath of fresh air and a place of peace when you enter the door. We are so thankful for this beautiful space.”

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