How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interiors capture their ‘newfound freedom’: ‘Bright and airy’ design of their $14million mansion reflects their joy at ‘taking back control of their lives’, experts reveal
- Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan Markle, 39, moved into their $14.65million mansion in Santa Barbara in July
- Snaps and videos of the couple over the last few weeks have revealed a glimpse into the new California home
- Images have given peek into clean and modern taste in interiors with white painted walls and plenty of plants
- In most recent appearance, the couple appeared in front of a large stone fireplace adorned with candle stick
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been offering royal fans glimpses into their new dream Californian mansion during recent appearances.
The Duke, 35, and Duchess of Sussex, 38, bought the sprawling nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom mansion in upscale Santa Barbara, known as ‘The Chateau’ for $14.65million on June 18, making them neighbors with celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres, according to DailyMail.com.
And during their last few appearances, the parents-of-one have given a sneak peek into their interior style, from a fresh, white colour scheme to a huge stone fireplace.
Expert interior designer Lucy Askew at www.Hillarys.co.uk suggested Meghan and Harry were embracing a neutral colour scheme, to keep their home looking both ‘modern and elegant’ and to potentially convey the ‘sense of freedom’ they’re feeling at being able ‘to take back control in their lives’.
She told FEMAIL: ‘The overall style looks very modern and elegant but neutral in colour. I think they will keep the theme throughout the house very similar with no bright, garish splashes of random colour.
‘A room can tell you a lot about someone’s personality; the neutral, airy space they are clearly trying to convey could mean a sense of freedom and the ability to take back control in their lives.’
Lucy continued: ‘I’m sure Harry and Meghan are looking forward to making their house a home. This is the couple’s first home in America so they can really put their own stamp on the place and enjoy the decorating process.’
Elsewhere, Kane Hughes, interior design expert at My Job Quote, added: ‘The interior of the property caters to the couples love of nature.
‘The incorporation of various plants and the large windows letting in the natural light create a sense of freedom and a more natural lifestyle. The white walls and furniture are in keeping with the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’ clean and sleek styles.
‘The couple has tried to create a happy home with a positive vibe. It’s so obvious that the pair want to create a warm home that offers positive vibes to everyone that enters.’
Here, FEMAIL looks at the different interior design aspects that fans have seen so far, which make up Harry and Meghan’s home…
EMBRACING NEUTRAL TONES
The Duke and Duchess appeared to offer their largest glimpse into their opulent new home yet today as they appeared in a video call for the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (pictured)
The Duke and Duchess appeared to offer their largest glimpse into their opulent new home yet today as they appeared in a video call for the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
The couple spoke enthusiastically from a bright and airy room within their new home, thanks to the white-painted walls with a gloss finish – which interior specialist Lucy insists makes the space ‘feel brighter and bigger’.
She added: ‘Going for a white colour scheme gives a blank canvas to change the interior as and when they wish.’
Meghan and Prince Harry could be seen sitting in front of several dark panelled windows, adding a touch of character and drama to the room.
Meanwhile they accentuated the greenery of their new gardens and outdoor areas with a huge plant in the corner of their room, with interior specialist Lucy revealing was in-keeping with their relaxed yet modern theme.
She explained: ‘Indoor plants bring life to a room and, whilst real plants are good for your health, artificial plants are a lot easier to maintain. However, I imagine the Sussexes would go down the real plant route.
‘Again, the colours are very green and natural, no brightly coloured plants or flowers, which leads us to be believe they are sticking with a neutral theme.’
Kane added: ‘The abundance of plants demonstrates the royal couples love for nature and wildlife. This presumably resulted in them looking for a property that features more open plan living with lots of windows to not only allow the light in but let them appreciate the stunning Santa Barbara sunshine.’
The room also features a huge stone fireplace, which was visible behind Prince Harry, and upon which they had balanced a black iron candlestick.
MAKING THEMSELVES AT HOME
Royal fans couldn’t help but notice several squares of colour behind the Duke of Sussex, 35, during a recent video appearance, with some suggesting they could be paint swatches
Eagle-eyed royal fans have spotted a selection of ‘paint swatches’ on the wall of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new Californian mansion, days after it emerged the Duke and Duchess have bought their own home.
On Saturday, the Duke of Sussex joined athletes participating in his Invictus Games competition,for a video call from his mansion in Montecito to discuss how important it was to ‘check in on each other.’
And in the background of Prince Harry’s call royal fans noticed two large squares in black and grey tones, with Instagram account @_duchess_of_sussex questioning if the couple were using the ‘paint swatches’ to decide on wall colours for their new home.
During the video call, the Duke offered a glimpse into his home, sitting down in a bright room painted in a fresh white colour with solid panelling.
However fans couldn’t help but spot the squares of block colour painted over Prince Harry’s shoulder, with some speculating the couple may already be renovating their new mansion. Meanwhile a large white cabinet could be seen over the Duke’s other shoulder which featured trendy diamond panelled glass.
Interior specialist Lucy said: ‘It looks like they are testing out what looks like paint or wallpaper samples, and again, these are very neutral colours. Black however can enclose a space and make it feel a lot smaller if it is a big part of the room.
‘White furniture will help even this out though if that is the look they are going for – it’s definitely making a big come back as an interior design choice.’
LAVISH ON-TREND HOLLYWOOD DECOR
Harry’s appearance comes after Meghan seemed to give fans a glimpse inside the couple’s dream California home – complete with views of the rolling Montecito hills and vintage-inspired furniture (pictured)
Meanwhile Meghan offered a glimpse into their home during an interview with the 19th* co-founder and CEO Emily Ramshaw on Friday.
The mother-of-one sat down for a one-on-one virtual interview with Emily, and showcased the space filled with lavish decor.
The room boasted a bright and airy feel thanks to the white-painted walls with a gloss finish, as well as an eye-catching, large, four-panelled window.
With a walnut-looking wood frame, the window offered spectacular views out over the garden to rolling Montecito countryside – with giant trees also overlooking a perfectly-cut hedge.
Meghan sat on a vintage-looking arm chair, complete with a mahogany-style wood framing and incredible cream fabric. Her room was finished off with white potted plant which was placed on a glass-top coffee table.
Interior design expert Kane said: ‘House plants have gained popularity in recent years due to offering natural beauty to a living space. It is also thought that plants help to relieve stress and make us feel better in general.
‘Orchids especially offer an elegant addition to a home as they give the impression of almost being fake due to appearing perfect.’
Meanwhile Lucy said that the couple may have added pops of colour elsewhere in their home to make it feel ‘less clinical’, explaining: ‘Homeowners are tending to opt for a white or light grey colour theme nowadays.
‘Many might feel this is boring, but to make sure it doesn’t appeal too clinical, they can think about adding a splash of colour throughout the furnishings to make a bold statement to a room.’
ELEGANT AND MODERN DESIGN
At the end of July, Prince Harry revealed another corner of the couple’s new home as he appeared at a virtual global summit for his sustainable tourism project Travalyst
And at the end of July, Prince Harry appeared via video link to deliver the opening speech at a virtual global summit for his sustainable tourism project Travalyst, offering another glimpse at a wooden panelled corner of their new house.
Interior design expert Kane said: ‘White paint can make a room feel more open and spacious as it reflects the natural light well. Accompanying your white walls with darker wood features can make it feel more homely and natural.
‘The darker-toned window frames do this brilliantly. Meghan and Harry’s new home uses features to make sure the white doesn’t appear too empty and bland… it gives an understated and elegant vibe while maintaining a warm and homely feel.’
Interior specialist Lucy said: ‘Neutral colours do give that crisp, clean feeling, especially bright white. So from the screen grabs, it definitely looks like this is the style they are keeping to and it is no surprise.
And speaking about whether they’ll be both American and British aspects in the design, she said: ‘I think there will be elements of both. They are very well off and, as Harry was brought up as a royal, it will be hard not to keep an element of that within their house despite making the decision to leave The Firm.
‘Despite living in America I think the house will hold a lot of British elements, so it truly will be the best of both worlds.’
Meghan and Prince Harry’s new home sits on 5.4 acres of land and immaculately clipped hedges border the estate’s stone-pillared entry gates (pictured)
Meghan and Prince Harry’s new home sits on 5.4 acres of land and immaculately clipped hedges border the estate’s stone-pillared entry gates.
The eye-watering costs of running their home
The Sussexes took out a multi-million-pound mortgage to buy their spectacular home.
Sources say the couple are ‘proud’ to have bought the home without help from family.
Deeds show they took out a £7.25million mortgage to be paid back, plus interest, by 2050 – indicating they put down a deposit of around £3.8million.
Mortgage repayments will cost them some £30,000 a month and they will also have a yearly property tax of £220,000.
This is on top of the cost of maintenance, cleaning, staff and security and utilities which could run into tens of thousands of pounds a month.
The couple are also paying back the £2.4million spent on renovating Frogmore Cottage in £18,000-a-month instalments.
It is not clear how the duke and duchess will pay for all of this. When they quit royal duties they made a point of stressing that they wanted to become financially independent
Property listings say the home took nearly five years to build and included a library, office, spa with a separate dry and wet sauna, a gym with a stripper pole, game room, arcade, theater, wine cellar and five-car garage.
The entrance to the property opens onto a wide lane paved with hand-cut Santa Barbara Stone that leads through a grand archway of trees to the main residence, according to Zillow.
The estate has sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender, century old olive trees, a tennis court, tea house, children’s cottage and a pool.
It also boasts a two-bedroom, two-bath guest house, perfect for Meghan’s mother Doria, who is acting as one-year-old Archie’s nanny. Doria has already been to the house, TMZ reports.
The home’s seller is thought to be Russian tycoon Sergey Grishin who bought the ‘palatial’ mansion for more than $25million in 2009 and had tried to sell the home for up to $34million before eventually accepting a loss.
Grishin is also the former owner of a different California estate – known as the Scarface mansion because it appeared in the 1983 Al Pacino movie – which sold for a similarly cut-price $12million in 2015.
Surrounded by lush green gardens and overlooking the sea, the home has been described as a ‘hidden paradise’.
One estate agent who spent an hour inside said it was ‘designed for someone who never wants to leave home’.
Brett Buschbom said: ‘I went through this house and an hour later I’m coming out like “wow”, the whole bottom floor felt like a resort with steam room, massage room, sauna, Jacuzzi, full bar, arcade and one of the most amazing wine cellars and that was just the basement.’
The Sussexes are said to have been living in the house for the last six weeks, after moving 90 miles along the coast from a mansion in Los Angeles where they were house guests.
While it is unknown if the couple have plans to transform their new home, the Duke and Duchess previously worked with interior designers to achieve the perfect look.
Last year, Meghan was understood to have enlisted Vicky Charles, former Global Head of Design at Soho House and a favourite of A-list celebrities, to work her magic on Frogmore House.
Speaking previously, Ms Charles has noted her Soho House interiors brought together the ‘grit and the glamour’.
The overall feeling is one that is eclectic yet pulled-together, rooms that feel cohesive but are not overly rigid or matchy.
Meghan Markle’s Toronto-inspired interiors
The style is very similar to the interior of Meghan’s Toronto home, where she lived before joining the royal family.
The then-actress regularly shared snaps on Instagram of her home’s white colour palette and mid-century modern furnishings.
Despite having two dogs with muddy paws, the then-actress bravely opted for a white couch in her living space with a grey striped throw from the luxury textiles brand Pamuk and Co.
Her dining table was white marble and she placed a full length shabby chic vintage mirror resting on the wall behind it to create the illusion of extra space.
While the star has long favoured mid-century modern furniture and a white colour palette, she added vibrant pops of colour with accessories such as a red striped rug in the hallway.
She has also always been a fan of fresh flowers, especially pink peonies which she has declared are her favourite.
But rather than being a gift from Harry, she reveals that she regularly treats herself to her favourite bouquets.
‘I bought these peonies for myself yesterday because they make me so endlessly happy. Do something sweet for yourself today too,’ she advised her followers.
She’s a fan of a scented candle, including Diptyque’s Figuier with fresh wood, green notes and crushed fig leaves and the Le Labo Santal 26 Classic Candle, £51, with ‘gentle, smokey and leathery tones’.
Meghan is also appreciates fine art, and had a print of one of fine art photographer Gray Malin’s birds’ eye view beach vistas on the the wall of her living area.
Above the bed in the guest room hung a figure study watercolour by New York based artist and illustrator Inslee Fariss, estimated to have cost $650 (£520).
In her own room, Meghan’s bed frame was an oversized wrought iron birdcage design and she continued her white theme with the curtains and bedding.
Meghan artfully arranged her books around the house, turning them into design features by perching them underneath jugs of flowers.
She was a fan of coffee table fashion books, such as former Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld’s style bible and Linda McCartney’s photographic memoir.
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