Having always excelled in fine art studies, Khalil enrolled for her Masters in contemporary art at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art when she moved to London in her mid-20s. Today, throughout her home and work ventures – including an under-wraps hotel project in downtown Manhattan – what hangs on the walls holds meaning for her. In the entrance hall, an expansive Joshua Woods photograph is artfully positioned above a bench, beneath which stands a new pair of angular Prada heels.
Both in her own art collection and with the community of creatives she’s fostering at Palm Heights, through residencies and commissioning of art and design works, Khalil has long been conscious of championing diversity in the arts.“We’ve always been about inclusivity. That’s what we stand for,” she says. In 2021, Palm Heights celebrated Pride with a party, and by raising the island’s first rainbow flag: “It was a really proud moment for us,” she says.
“I think it’s nice to surround kids with real art,” she says of her daughter Grace’s bedroom. Does Grace, now six, comprehend the calibre of the design she’s living with, I wonder? “Absolutely not. If she could, she would cover the whole wall with stickers,” she says, with a laugh. While impressive in provenance, her room is sweetly playful. A colourful 1960s-inspired rug from Home Union in Brooklyn matches a sky-blue bunk bed; Ettore Sottsass’s Ultrafragola mirror faces another framed in resin by Gaetano Pesce (“I would love one of his artworks for myself,” she says); there’s a cosy Giuseppe Munari armchair purchased at a Genovese auction; and a large flower painting from a series by Galina Munroe.
Khalil’s roomy walk-in wardrobe is packed with her city favourites: “The Row, Toteme, Loewe – I like tailored, simple looks when I’m in the city. Lots of black, boots and trousers.” She shops for fashion in the same way she does furniture: often strategically and specifically, but mostly emotionally. She keeps a separate wardrobe in Grand Cayman that leans more towards a vacation mindset, even though the beach is her office: Matteau, Marrakshi Life and a dose of Bode (whom Khalil collaborated with on the staff uniforms for Palm Heights).
“Right now, this is my home,” she says with the incomplete resolution of someone already thinking ahead. She misses London, but she loves the camaraderie in New York. “Arriving here, I felt that I already had a community.” She even knows her neighbours now – they met coincidentally at a magic show attended by their kids across town. And for the time being, she’s happy as things are. “Just having those moments on the beach when I’m in Grand Cayman watching Grace in the water. You have to take them while you can.”