When Taraneh Duval was looking to design a nursery for her son Tristan, she drew inspiration from four watercolour images of animals she loved.

It was the beginning of what would become an entire room of eye-catching murals, painted by Cayman artist Hannah Cook.

Photos by Stephen Clarke

“I wanted the room to take your breath away when you walked in,” says Taraneh. “I also wanted everything to inspire my son’s senses. Now, when we are nursing, or playing in the nursery, he is constantly looking around with big eyes smiling and talking in his sweet baby-talk voice. It’s a special place for me and my son.”

Indeed, there is much to explore in this charming room – from striking zebras
and looming giraffes to exotic birds and curious monkeys.

It took Hannah about a month to complete, sometimes working 12- to 14 -hours days.
“It was so beautiful to see the process evolve,” says Taraneh. “Hannah truly poured her heart and soul into it and I am thankful for her hard work and creative talent.”

Taraneh has known Hannah since moving to the island nine years ago from her native Toronto. She had painted a ceiling mural at the Lilly Pulitzer clothing boutique in Camana Bay, which Taraneh ran for seven years before it closed.

“I loved other pieces of Hannah’s work and knew she could take my vision and make it a reality,” she says. “Her style of painting was something I was drawn to, and I connected with her work.”

Growing family

Taraneh and her husband Kirk Duval have four children: baby Tristan and Kirk’s older children Brayden, Ethan and Megan.

Kirk is the CEO of 3T Cayman, which has an MRI medical imaging machine at Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, and he is also the owner and CEO of OceanMed, a women’s healthcare facility in Bayshore Mall.

Although she is now a full-time stay-at-home mom – and caretaker of three dogs and two horses – Taraneh previously worked in the fashion industry in her native Toronto.

She has a history degree from Western University in London, Ontario and a master’s degree in marketing and communications, with a speciality in fashion, from Toronto’s Ryerson University.

She’s a painter as well, but a challenging pregnancy – suffering nausea for the entire nine months – prevented her from painting the nursery herself.

In designing the nursery, Taraneh wanted a calming atmosphere, choosing a soft colour palette to complement the furniture she had sourced from Canadian furniture brand Dutailier.

“I wanted my pieces to have clean lines and have a contemporary touch,” she says.
Other accents include large, plush toy animals and a stunning white pouf from Morocco that was a gift from her mother.

Taraneh and Kirk visited Paris when she was three months pregnant, where she purchased a Hermès baby blanket for Tristan’s memory chest.

“Paris was very memorable for my husband and I, and the blanket will be something that I will keep for my son to pass on to his children,” she says. “It comes with a beautiful story behind it and so many memories to share.”

And no doubt mother and son will have many fond memories of times spent in this imaginative nursery surrounded by exotic animals and lush jungle greenery.


Originally published in InsideOut magazine, Issue 37, Spring Summer 2020.


Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now