POV: Delia Kenza
Delia Kenza approaches design the way she approaches life—with her whole self and a flair for the unexpected. Just over a decade ago, she walked away from a successful law career to follow her heart into interior design. Today, she's renovating urban living spaces to great acclaim (Elle Decor A-List, New York Magazine, HGTV, and more), drawing inspiration from her global travels and "almost any physical source" around her. Her signature style is modern, with neutral colors and subtle touches of the past—but she's not afraid to mix things up. In her own home, you'll find "Drop" dining chairs by Arne Jacobsen from Republic of Fritz, mixed with artwork by Ugandan artist Moosh, Angolan busts, photography by Patrick Demarchelier, as well as masks and costumes by her husband, artist and choreographer Júlio Leitão.
Away from home, Delia admits that her travel tastes have evolved over the years. "When I was younger, I just wanted to get to the destination and stay at any hotel, as long as it was clean!" she laughs. "But now the stay is just as important as the destination, and I only stay in places that are beautiful and inspiring. And actually, this is what I enjoy so much about BoutiqueHomes."
Destination-wise, she's in love with Mexico, where she feels "instantly comfortable and at home." And, like so many of us, she's "completely infatuated" with Portugal, whether it’s Cascais and the Algarve with her husband and their two teenage daughters, or Lisbon for work. "You get a lot of bang for your buck there," she says, "the food, the people. It’s beautiful."
When choosing a place to stay, she gravitates to modern and clean. "I’m not very much into the showboaty," she explains. "I like subtle luxury. I love things that look luxurious and feel luxurious, but feel like they were made by hand. But I also just appreciate character. I stayed at a super huge mansion in Portugal recently. It was very ornate, very over the top, decorative and gilded. I mean, it was tasseled everywhere! And there was something very charming about that. So, even if my thing isn't chintz, it doesn't mean that I can't respect it and appreciate it in different settings."
It’s the sense of place that is key. "I think when there's some foundation, that's what makes the most beautiful places," she says. "When there's no foundation and a space is just tricked out with all the latest bells and whistles, I just find it—as my friend would call it—like a human file cabinet. And I'm not necessarily interested in staying in places like that."
From a cluster of brutalist beach homes in Oaxaca, Mexico, to a cherry-red micro home in Dorset, England, here are Delia’s ten favorite BoutiqueHomes for the fall.
CASA CONS, PUERTO ESCONDIDO, OAXACA, MEXICO
CASA CAL, OAXACA, MEXICO
LAS MARIANAS, PUERTO ESCONDIDO, OAXACA, MEXICO
CASA COSTAMOR, TRONCONES, GUERRERO, MEXICO
CASA LA CHIOCCIOLINA, NOTO, SICILY, ITALY
VILLA SAN MATTEO, CRETE, GREECE
MONOLITHOI, MANI, GREECE
ANISE & OUZO, NAXOS, GREECE
GILREU APARTMENTS, PORTO, PORTUGAL
THE BIDE, MILTON ABBAS, DORSET, ENGLAND
Photography: Delia Kenza portrait: Jessica Neste; Delia Kenza interiors: Sean Lichfield.