Bedtime stories: Claire Lloyd’s Greek Island Home
Claire Lloyd’s creativity seems boundless. The creative director, photographer, interior stylist and author of My Greek Island Home finds beauty everywhere; from the rooms of her whitewashed home on the Greek island of Lesvos, to shared meals assembled from the seasonal produce provided by the island, to seaside walks with her three adopted dogs.
Her signature style combines brightly lit spaces with layered textiles like linen, cotton and velvet and a healthy scattering of handmade and found pieces by her artist partner, Matthew Usmar Lauder.
We’re so thrilled to catch up with Claire and share some of her stories about life on Lesvos and insights into finding joy and creativity everywhere.
Claire Lloyd in her Lesvos home. Claire wears the mid length original poets tunic in winter white. Photo - Carla Coulson
How would you describe what you do?
I am a creative adventurer and I use my creativity across all mediums from designing and creating nurturing spaces to photographing, writing, filming, drawing, even making a meal. I love finding beauty in every detail.
What does a typical weekend morning look like at home?
For many months of the year we live in an authentic village on the Greek Island of Lesvos where it’s sometimes difficult distinguishing the weekend from weekdays. I know it’s Sunday when I’m woken by the sound of the priest bellowing his service across the village.
The first morning activity is feeding around 45 stray cats. Then I walk our three rescue dogs in the surrounding countryside. Sometimes we walk down to the sea, five kilometres away. Then it’s back home for breakfast.
Have you made any special family meals recently?
My family here consists of my partner, artist Matthew Usmar Lauder, three rescue dogs, three rescue cats and various rescue kittens that come and go.
Recently I had an enormous party for my family and friends. I consider my dear friends to be family. Sixty people came from various places around the world to our beautiful island to celebrate a lifetime of friendship with me. The celebration was over three nights and there was a meal, one for each night in a different stunning location. Although I didn’t cook each meal I oversaw every detail.
On the first evening we all met for prosecco poolside at Little Bird. This was the perfect spot for an early evening gathering. Against a spectacular Aegean backdrop my brother gave a very amusing, dodgy (laughs) speech!
As the sun slowly set over the water a local musician lead us along the water's edge serenading us to a special little taverna called Caravan. We arrived just as the last of the sun’s rays disappeared into the sea. We dined under hundreds of fairy lights by the sea eating delicious Greek food surrounded by the scent of clove candles I had especially made for the occasion.
Do you have any self-care routines that you swear by?
Massage. Every sense is heightened with a great massage. I also love my green juices and morning walks.
Seasonal produce from the island. Photo - Claire Lloyd
What’s your favourite thing about Autumn in Lesvos?
The pomegranates! There is an abundance here. It seems every tree in the village is laden with them! Sadly the only one that isn’t is in our garden. It doesn’t matter though as Matthew grabs armfuls from various trees when he’s out and about with the dogs. I enjoy juicing them and tossing the jewel-like seeds through a salad of rocket, walnuts and cucumber. So fresh and delicious.
What’s important in your home?
Light, simplicity and calmness. Textures are treasures: linens, mohair, wool, cashmere, velvet and crisp cottons. I love the feel of them all against my skin.
What items in your home get the most use?
The linen towels, linen and velvet cushions and linen bedding.
Scenes from Claire’s Lesvos home. Claire’s bed is based on the style of the traditional Greek sofa. The dining table and benches were made by Matthew and the door with the cross leaning against the wall was found and refinished by Matthew. Photos - Claire Lloyd
I love combining old fabrics with new. My lovely Bedtonic linen sits so well with my old French linen, lace gems from the local ladies and other pieces from the markets in Turkey.
What spaces or things in your home bring you the most joy?
I spread myself around; all the rooms in the house here have special qualities.I really think it’s important to create rooms you love, that way you can be anywhere in your home and feel good.
What advice would you give someone thinking about making a move like you did (a seachange?)
Just do it. If you feel it then follow your instinct. Don’t be scared, be open and excited and adventurous. Life always has a way of working out. It’s just another experience on your journey through your wonderful life.
Claire wears the mid length Original Poets Tunic in winter white. Photo - Carla Coulson A scene from Claire’s Lesvos home. Pictured: the mid length Original Poets Tunic in dusky rose. Photo - Claire Lloyd
What do you think is the most important ingredient in creating a beautiful and stylish living space?
For me it’s all about light, simplicity and the way a space flows.
What are you looking forward to at the moment?
There is always so much to look forward to and be excited about.
I’ll be heading off to Sydney in a month. I love Sydney and my little home there. It’ll be great to see my family, my mum and dad, my friends and Sydney Harbour.
Tasmania is a big excitement. My partner Matthew bought a small shack on the west coast and we will be renovating it into a proper artist’s cabin. So we are really looking forward to that.
And I am also looking forward to next June in Lesvos when Matthew and I will be joining forces with Carla Coulson for a creative retreat called JOY! For anyone longing to tap into their senses through creativity on a Greek Island it’s worth a look, it might be just what you’re looking for.
A big thank you to Claire Lloyd for sharing these beautiful scenes with us. You can find out more about Claire and her work here. You can order her book, My Greek Island Home, here. Follow Claire on Instragram @clairelloydloves @mygreekislandhome and Matthew @offthebrush.
Interview and introduction by Amy Snoekstra, photos by Claire Lloyd, portraits of Claire by Carla Coulson.