The Nicolini family were leaving Bermuda after nearly 11 years. Before they left, they wanted to capture some of the happy memories they had in their beautiful home. I have to say, I adore doing home shoots as it really gives me a chance to capture a family in their element. They are surrounded by things that they have chosen and their own personal flair really comes out in the photos, beyond just what they wear, but really in where they are. Michelle and Marco have done a beautiful job with the house and of course Valentina and Conor did an amazing job bringing it all to life.
Marco is from Trieste which is an hour north of Venice so the family love it there. Every year, they go for Marco's birthday which falls during Carnivale, so they thought it would be fun to do a tribute to the festival by wearing the masks. They love the spirit of the city during Carnivale, with all its beauty, frenzy and almost ominous feeling there. Michelle has always been drawn to the masks with their fine line between reality and surrealism. It just fit so well, with the piano and the telescope, the masks, and indeed, the family's love of Venice. It's the drama, the imagination of it that Michelle adores so the image of them all together in their elegant living room, all wearing these masks, was something that just popped into her head and I was thrilled it did - such a fun idea!
This carved chair was what they always referred to as "The Throne". Michelle found it in an amazing shop in Soho and it was made from reclaimed doors and shelves from India. She knew she had to have it the second she saw it and both Conor and Valentina would love hiding in the back section ever since they could climb.
Michelle is mad about children's parties. She loves kids' themes done larger than life, slightly distorted to be larger than life with dramatic intense colours - a feast for the eyes. She has always refused to use brand name anything so she would play old Shirley Temple tracks with the scratching noises of the records clearly audible, and serve deviled eggs, old fashioned lemonade and go to thrift shops to find old table cloths and vintage toys. She longs to preserve the wonder of childhood so she would have pretend birthday parties for the children all the time. This little wooden birthday cake was the perfect way to have a very happy unbirthday all the time with the children, singing songs and making believe that the cake was different flavours.
Agnes had been part of the family for almost four years and the children adored her and she truly adored them. Sadly, she had to return home to the Philippines for family reasons so Marco and Michelle wanted to be sure they captured some shots of their beloved nanny with the children.
Michelle was so thrilled we could do the shoot at Peppermill. Marco and Michelle were married nine years ago and had lived in other houses but when they moved to Peppermill, they knew they had found their dream home. It has such a great flow, a beautiful elegance, yet still feels like a family home. It was such fun to move from room to room just capturing the family being themselves.
Connor's room was decorated in vintage toys and it had such a charming feel to it when you walked in. He sometimes will blurt out "Mummy - you are the best mummy in the whole world, and Daddy is the best daddy in the whole world and Valentina's the best sister in the whole world... and I'm the best brother in the whole world!" Talk about a delicious love bug!
Valentina's room was the ultimate in girlishness. She loves pink and all things girly like setting up little homes for her dolls or gathering flowers and putting tiny ones inside bigger ones using contrasting colours to make glorious bouquets.
Valentina is a very protective older sister and her generosity and kindness towards Conor is unending, even when he refuses to share with her, she patiently and tirelessly shares everything with him. When he's upset, she'll look at his sad face and exclaim, "Aw, look at my cute little baby brother!"
Conor adores Valentina - he rushes into her room to wake her up every single morning. He simply cant' wait to play with her each day, as if it has been a week since he has seen her. The other day, he asked Valentina, "Do you want to be a rock star?" Valentina replied that she did not and in turn, he said, "Well, I do," and he broke out into a pretend guitar playing move - hello yummy siblings!
Valentina lives to dance, dream and draw - a natural born artist. Her teacher says that Valentina always has a crayon in her hand and dances as she walks. And when she points, she does so just like a ballerina with her foot and toe pointed and her fingers positioned as if she were performing. She is extremely affectionate and goes out of her way to comfort anyone who is ever sad or hurt.
Conor is the comedian of the family and every evening he makes faces like a pirate telling stories. He is also a total love bug, and walks by his mama in the kitchen and runs his hand along her back or arm as he goes, and he loves loves to snuggle. His teachers say is a sweet, kind hearted free spirited boy who always comes to the rescue of anyone who has been hurt.
Marco, Michelle, Valentina and Conor - thank you all so much for inviting me into your beautiful home and sharing some of your special family times with me. It was such a fun shoot and you were all so wonderful and creative and a joy to capture with the cameras. Hopefully these memories of your lovely home in Bermuda will keep it all very alive in your lives and bring you back for lots of holidays! xxx