Cruise Control


This yacht looks amazing—what launched this project?
The clients have a beautiful home here in Greenwich, and they also have several other homes throughout the world. I’ve done all of their homes, and I was lucky enough to be involved in redoing this yacht as well. It was built in 2009 by Ferretti Yachts and delivered in 2012, and it features an exterior design by Zuccon International Project. It sleeps up to eight guests, and it’s also taken care of by three crew members. After the clients bought the yacht and lived with it for a few years, they felt that a lot of things didn’t quite fit the aesthetic they wanted or how they lived their life, so they wanted to give the yacht more of a personal feel. Since I was already working on some of their other projects, they asked me to come on board and help them with this.

Outdoor foldable SEAX chairs by DEDON offer chic yet comfortable seating that can withstand the elements, and the table is set with linens by SFERRA.

How do the clients typically use the yacht?
It’s a winter escape for them. They keep it in Florida, and they’ll fly down there and use it for long weekends or for Thanksgiving or other holidays, and they’ll take it to the Bahamas or the Caribbean as well. They also bring it up to New England in the summer and use it for day or weekend cruises, or they’ll take it up to Nantucket for the weekend.

What did the project entail?
Since all of the rooms are very small, everything looked cramped before. The idea was to declutter the look a little bit, to make everything cleaner, more modern and more pleasant to come into. We changed all of the linens and pillows throughout and brightened up some of the darker elements to give the entire yacht a lighter feel. The clients love color, so we introduced color with the accent and outdoor pillows. We chose Marimekko, which was fun. The clients have four children, so they also wanted the yacht to be a fun, attractive place for the kids, where they would feel at home. This project involved decorating only; while we did do furnishings and outdoor furniture, we didn’t change any fixtures or anything that was secured to the yacht.

The upper deck is supplied with colorful SFERRA towels for taking dips in the hot tub and Marimekko outdoor cushions for lounging.

Any must-haves for the clients?
They wanted color. There are four bedrooms—the master, one for the boys, and one for each of the girls—and they wanted each room to have a designated color. They are very detail-oriented, and they wanted the yacht to be really comfortable and to have the same high aesthetic, quality, look and feel as all of their homes. They like to go from house to house and not have any of them feel too different or out of place. They love beautiful tables as well, so we spent a lot of time designing various tablescapes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are a lot of different chinas and tableware and linens on the yacht, so they can create different scenarios for each meal.

The indoor living room offers ample seating with throws and cushions by SFERRA, and a cabinet housing a pop-up TV turns the space into an entertainment room.

What did you need to keep in mind when decorating a yacht?
Storage was one big consideration for everything. The yacht moves a lot, and there aren’t many places to store things, so that meant no big duvet covers, less pillows and less decorative pieces. It was about keeping things minimal. Even thinking about the number of pillows or the different towels for the exterior decks and pool—where would they be stored when not in use? Where does everything go? You had to think about storage for things when they’re not being used as much as you had to think about when they would be out for the family, and I also thought about it in terms of when the yacht would be traveling from one place to another. Another consideration was fabric—most of the fabrics for the social areas, like the living room, are indoor/outdoor fabrics so there’s no stress when everyone is swimming or playing.

The living room is flanked by the outdoor dining area on one end and an indoor dining area on the other.

How does the indoor living and dining area work for the family?
Other than the dining chairs, everything is secured in this space. The living room opens up to an outdoor dining area, and the clients only eat inside if it’s cold outside or the weather is bad. If they’re entertaining, they’ll use the indoor dining area for extra seating or use the table as a buffet to serve food—one member of the crew is a chef who cooks amazing meals in the kitchen. There’s also a cabinet that divides the living and dining areas that features a pop-up TV, so this area also works as a TV room.

How did you choose the bedding for the master suite?
I went with the same theme we had for the previous projects we’ve done for them, which was really clean, small details and a slight pop of color. We chose a pale icy blue with a little bit of gray, which both the husband and wife liked, and it complemented the art and the views of the water.

The various pillows add fun pops of color without taking up too much of the valuable storage space on board.

Looking at the bedrooms, did you begin with more and pare back, or did you start with very little to begin with?
I approached each room the same way I would approach a regular room, and then I said, “OK, how is this going to realistically work?” I spent a few days on the yacht with the captain and the steward who takes care of the bedrooms, and I talked to them to figure out logistics on how everything worked on a daily basis and how they stored things. And as you can see, we couldn’t have too many pillows or things on the beds because there wasn’t much space to store them at night. Bedding and tableware were the two most important things we did.

What plans do the clients have for the yacht now?
The marina rules have been strict with the pandemic, so the yacht has been in storage. I do believe they have plans to maximize its use in the future. I think they’re going to use it a lot more instead of spending a weekend in a hotel or going to a resort, and I think they’re going to rethink the way they travel—on a yacht, you can be in your own quarters while traveling and enjoy it.

The master suite was updated with sheets from SFERRA and a blanket by Loro Piana Home, and a chair by Poliform is pulled up to the built-in desk.

How does decorating a yacht compare to designing a home?
It’s totally different—you have to have so much more knowledge of the space, and you have to study storage. In a home, you don’t really think about where the clients are going to put the five sets of sheets or the ten pillows. With this, you had to think so much about where things will go, and you had to imagine various scenarios—if it’s raining, where does everything go? If they’re traveling and there’s a storm, how is everything secured? You also have to think about the exterior elements—you’re much more conscious about specifying products that can withstand the ocean and the breeze. It’s one thing to do outdoor furniture for a patio, but it’s another to select outdoor furniture for a boat that’s going to be out on the water. It takes a lot more time and care when designing for a yacht; it adds another layer. But knowing the clients so well, doing our due diligence and studying what we needed to know beforehand made the process much easier.

What made this project special for you?
Being on a boat and designing something surrounded by water, feeling like you’re connecting with nature in a different way, felt like a bit of magic.

The master bath, sited behind the bed, was stocked with towels by SFERRA.

Interior designer: Marcia Tucker Interiors, Greenwich; 203-409-3692;

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