Thee dining room at Alexa de Castilho’s Brighton home is a sultry affair. The polished black glass table, surrounded by curvy gold Seventies chairs, reflects a dazzling vintage light that hangs from the ceiling. There’s a mini-bar housed in a shiny black jeweller’s safe and rattan chairs – though thrones might be a more accurate description – clustered around a huge African goatskin drum that doubles as a coffee table. Green jungle-print paper climbs the walls, echoing the real-life palms and banana trees in the small back garden. One half expects to bump into Bianca Jagger in her Studio 54 heyday, holding a cocktail and trailing cigarette smoke.
“When I designed this room I was having a lot of parties,” smiles Alexa, a striking Brazilian in a boilersuit and tiger-print utility jacket. “My style was dark and disco because that was what my life was like. It’s changed a lot since then but I’ll always be obsessed with the Seventies.” The interior designer and stylist grew up in that decade, in the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janiero, where her father worked as a coffee trader. “It was such a glamorous place back then. My mum and dad had a lot of parties and I remember big sunglasses, lots of jewels, sexy bikinis. It was a decadent time and I’ve always tried to recreate it in my work.”
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