The Kip is a hidden gem, an intimate place that completely took my heart away. It is located off the road near the village of Ahangama, in a private colonial villa. This boho luxe paradise is surrounded by lush jungle and the sound of surf breaks. It is incredibly simple and stylish, but what makes the real difference here is the contagious positive energy and the most amazing people I had a chance to meet while staying here. Phoebe Taylor and Seddy Di Francesco are the owners of The Kip and probably one the most outgoing, caring and loving people I have ever met, so yes, are absolutely guilty of making me feel home away from home.
What does stand behind the name?
Well, “Kip” is British slang for sleep, snooze, nap or siesta. As I am loving nothing more than an afternoon ‘kip’ (preferably under the palms in a hammock) along with the fact that we offer accommodation, it seemed like the perfect name.
How did you life look like before Sri Lanka and The Kip?
Before moving to Sri Lanka, Seddy and I were working corporate jobs in Melbourne. I was in advertising and Seddy was in Health Insurance. Although we loved certain aspects of living the inner city life, at a core level we knew that we wanted out of the rat race.
What inspired you to move to Sri Lanka and to open a magical B&B here and how do you get inspired in general?
A fast paced life of action and constant activity that really wasn’t for us was, so we made a decision to quit our jobs and move to the most magical island we ever could find, to follow our dream of a slower life. My main source of inspiration is most certainly travel and art. On this project I mostly got inspired by Sri Lanka and its jungle and with my love for Moroccan riads. Seddy, being Italian, finds inspiration from good food & nature. However, what has inspired us the most during this project, is most definitely, our passion for the slow life and all things sustainable, ethical & environmentally conscious.
What had the biggest impact on interior and exterior?
I had so much inspiration for this place that I got a little overwhelmed, because I love so many different styles to be honest. In the end I just tried to combine everything I love and mix it with my ultimate inspiration, Sri Lanka. In particular the jungle in Sri Lanka. I am obsessed with plants, so I tried to bring as much greenery inside as possible. The internal courtyard was slightly inspired by my love of Moroccan riads, while the bedrooms are definitely inspired by the ‘less is more’ ethos we try and live by. Most of our furniture & details have been made by local craftsmen & artisans or sourced at local markets. We find perfection in imperfection and love that many of our pieces are one offs. We have also had to adapt many things we found here to make sure it was in line with our values and our passion for aesthetic. For example, we love butterfly chairs. However, the only ones they sell here are made from leather which obviously didn’t work for us. So, we sourced organic fair trade fabric and had them made by up by a local women in the area. Win Win.
Can you tell me a bit more about your local, Sri Lankan manager and did how three of you become like a little family?
Essentialy, Chatu (Chaturanga) is our right hand man, all rounder and most importantly out friend. Him and Seddy met when Seedy was managing another property on the south coast of Sri Lanka. They became great friends there and rest is history – when Seddy left, Chatu followed and became a part of our family. They two love to play soccer together and Seddy is Chatu’s wing man. There are other fun facts about him that I think are worth mentioning – he has a wicked sense of humour, dresses like a real, charming Italian, speaks German and learned English while listening to Bob Marley.
A little bird told me you two teach English at the local temple. How did that happen?
Well we are really grateful to Sri Lanka that changed our lives and all about giving back to our community here and making a positive impact, so Seddy decided to start to give English lessons at the local temple. I jumped in while Seddy was away but the kids decided he was much more fun than me so now it is actually just him who teaches English every sunday.