“Our cabinet de curiosités includes unusual items that are unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere on the island,” says Sea Memory owner Edouard Lacour of the mix of nautical and marine-inspired pieces that dot his family’s St Barths emporium. “Shagreen humidors that are customisable by colour and trim [€1,500-€2,500] and rare tourmaline and labradorite geodes [€200-€4,500] are just a couple of my favourites.”
The Lacours cater to a discerning clientele – many of whom dock in nearby Gustavia harbour – at their traditionally designed, charming French West Indies shop with its peaked red roof and vibrant blue façade. Since opening the boutique in 1997, Edouard and his parents Claire and Pierre have carved out a niche as purveyors of handmade leather goods, furnishings hewn from wenge, rosewood and macassar, and home accessories in horn and mother-of‑pearl. The vibe is that of an elegant-yet-inviting beach house “where crystals, paintings and picture frames are all arranged as you’d find them at home rather than by department,” says Lacour. Customers include Hollywood luminaries, who flock here for chic pieces with Caribbean flair.
The light-filled 65sq m space shows off the natural curiosities to dazzling effect. Chunks of blue agate (from €1,000) set atop glass and silver pedestals, as well as rare corals (€800-€4,000) in deep red and indigo hues and taxidermy crustacean exoskeletons (€6,500), “provide colourful juxtapositions to the shop’s more understated pieces,” says Lacour. “Our clients – some of whom are furnishing minimalist boats or homes – come to us for contrasting materials and exuberant pieces.”
Model boats (€560-€2,000) are a Sea Memory specialty, with handmade, miniature Rivas in mahogany and fibreglass by French maquette maker Kiade among the most popular, while paintings by contemporary French artist La Roche Lafitte (€500-€2,000) illustrate Caribbean life, their shells, sailboats and assorted sea creatures adding to the eclectic ambience.
The brilliant colours of the island also pervade the inventory: there are treasure boxes (from €90) in hues of lime, orange and lilac, as well as sculpted horn objets d’art (€180). Other favourites are competition-size bespoke backgammon sets (€3,600) in various skins, and champagne sets (€450-€1,500) containing weighty pewter goblets and buckets that are easily maintained in the salt air. Sea Memory’s signature Pacific stingray pieces include simple bracelets (€90-€1,500) and clutches (€350-€690) that make portable holiday mementoes, while bigger items such as armchairs (€12,000) with lacquer touches by Italian artisan Giorgio Guerra and an elegant art-deco bar cabinet (€21,000) can be shipped internationally.
For those who can pull themselves away from St Barths’ pristine beaches, Sea Memory pays tribute to the wonders of the ocean. “I hope visitors will find things to remind them of their time on the island but which will also add unexpected touches to their interiors for many years to come.”
For more nautical-inspired finds, see naval binoculars, and for extra St Barths flavour, see paradise found for food to write home about and Caribbean hotels reborn for the ambitious rebranding of two of the island’s venerated hotels.