Designing this house in Watersound, FL was such a great experience for me that I am really sad to have it completed! The homeowners found me by touring a nearby model home and picking up my card. She then researched my blog and gave me a call to set up a walkthrough, so I could see the scope of the project. Then we could talk about what she was looking for and would best suit her families wants/needs from their new home. We hit it off immediately and went straight to work selecting finishes and furniture, as well as tackling some of the problematic areas of the house since it was a foreclosure home that was left unfinished in the final construction phase. With two young boys and plenty of family and friends to vacation, the primary goal was comfort and durability while having a light, airy, and coastal atmosphere. We started by painting the entire house in a light grey/blue with the bedrooms in a eggshell white. The dark brown island with dark granite seemed to a huge mass in the open floor plan kitchen/ living space so we also decided to paint the island Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams. With the island lighter, the whole space seemed larger and more cohesive.
From there, we added a rectangle Oceanside Glass Tile backsplash in “Beach Blonde” which really made this amazing kitchen shine. Luckily, the cabinet paneled refridgerator, copper farm house sink, and Wolf appliances all gave us an incredibly beautiful base- we just added the finishing touches with the paint and tile.
The dining area was a rectangular space that the homeowner and I instantly agreed on how to treat. We both wanted to do a built in banquette to really maximize seating without having to squeeze past a bunch of chairs to get to the back corner. We had a local trim carpenter build the three sided banquette complete with storage drawers underneath, than had custom cushions made of a durable raffia fabric, and added scattered throw pillows for the final touch. The sea creature pillows were a little touch of whimsy, which the boys (ages 4 and 6) loved! However, once this was all complete, we still had a table to find to fit the space. After searching high and low for this unique size with a pedestal base, we decided to have it built custom by a local craftsman. We also switched out the chandelier to something larger and more proportional to the space. The grass weave roman shades throughout the house also really helped take the windows to the next level. They gave a great warm glow and helped diffuse the harsh afternoon sun. The coastal abstract art is a giclee on canvas by local artist Allison Wickey.
The living space in this house actually posed a bit of a design challenge since a major traffic pattern ran right through it to the back porch. If we put the sofa in front of the door it made the area really tight, but pushing it back against the wall was a waste of floor space as well as making tv seem too far away. After much consideration, we decided to use a wedge sectional in a light neutral fabric with a long sofa table behind it. This gave us horizontal surface for lamps and really maximized seating/lounging space, without crowding the path to the back door or the counter stools at the bar. We then added swivel gliders with striped slipcovers and an accent chair in a light khaki linen on the opposite of the back door. By using upholstered top storage ottomans that could double as seats if needed, everything in this room really serves a function and works together to create a fresh, clean, overall look. Deciding on rugs to anchor the space was our next dilemma- do we use one large rug to tie in the two seating areas or break them up with two rugs? We tried both! Sometimes you just have to see something in the house to decide what you want and what looks best. The first attempt was a 8×11 jute rug, but it seemed overwhelming and covered up way too much of the beautiful hardwood floor. We then switched to a pair of smaller rectangle rugs, but that too wasn’t quite right. Finally, we grabbed a round rug and combined that with the small rectangle for the perfect fit, which helped define the spaces without making it too choppy.
The accessories of the room such as the pillows, art, and lamps were really what tied everything together and gave the room it’s punch of color. We used a combination of pillows in modern florals, geometric, solids, and script designs. These all layered nicely without competing with each other and were various sizes which was visually appealing. The seaweed watercolor art and white wooden lamps were both taller in scale. This was just what we needed to add vertical interest to the space, but with the white color of the lamps and white background of the painting, it didn’t seem like looming heavy objects that were crowding you while lounging on the comfortable sectional.
The client decided she would prefer a built-in media center vs. a freestanding piece of furniture since there was already a niche in the room that somewhat determined how deep a piece of furniture could be and still look right. She also wanted storage for AV components, DVDs, and games. We worked with the trim carpenter to make sure the accent can lights weren’t blocked and we could still have decorative items along with a large tv. Shell vases with willow branches helped add some vertical interest and the top sections we decorated with a collection of natural coastal items such as seafans and coral along with various sized and colors of candles by Vance Kittera.
We had a local piece of found driftwood mounted on the wall instead of hanging another piece of traditional art there. I really like to break the use of square or rectangle pieces of art, which can seem boxy and angular,with different shaped pieces of art, mirrors, sconces, and found objects to make each space truly unique. In one eye line or room, there should be a collection of shapes, sizes, textures, and mediums.
The “RELAX” and “30-A” pillows were made in a custom size for us by the Hula Girl Gallery on Seagrove Beach. The upholstered stools by Aidan Gray are perfect storage for blankets and toys and can easily be moved around and act as more seating at the coffee table or pulled closer to the TV for video games. The versatility of these really sold us on selecting them.
This light khaki linen chair is framed in whitewashed distressed oak and bronze nailheads. We actually selected this chair first and worked the entire room around it! The beautiful lines made it perfect to angle where it was the in the room so everyone could appreciate the front in the living area and the back in the dining room or hallway. With the coral printed accent pillow we tied in the aqua, turquoise, and other shades of blues we used throughout the living space. A metal stool to hold our driftwood crab and drinking glass was the perfect compliment to the chair and a nice texture for the area since we already had plenty of upholstery and wood in the room.
Down the hallway to the master bedroom we hung these amazing sea fans in turquoise. Made in Florida, these sea fans are tinted by hand and between double hung glass (so the wall color shows through behind it), and framed in a distressed silver metal frame. Love love love these!
The powder bath is downstairs and is a room often forgotten about by many homeowners. Instead, we wanted to give it the focus it deserved since it was going to be prominent in the first floor. We added a mica wallpaper to the vanity wall and hung a interesting shaped wood mirror so that area was really highlighted. The wallpaper actually looks like tiny crushed oyster shells and it glints in the lights, which we both really loved.
The entry to the house was something we tossed several ideas around for how to treat. We originally were going to have a mud room type space with a bench, hooks, baskets, etc. but since they really would use the back entrance to go to the beach and pool, it seemed like we should do something different. My main thought was that since you could see everything through the glass front door, that we should keep things simple and uncluttered for a great first impression of the house. We also didn’t want to have any sort of a heavy furnishings that would prohibit moving freely through the front door when laden down with suitcases, grocery bags, or even sleeping children. So, we opted for a open based demilune (not sharp angles to bump into), and lamp and bowl made of resin coral and filled with recycled glass balls in a different sizes and finishes. With the lamp on the and door shades up, the entry is full of light and invites guests to come on in! The addition of the capiz shell chandelier really finished the area and the way the light shines through all the hanging pieces is really spectacular! With the front door open and the wind blowing in, the shells clink together and make a great sound as well!
For the master bedroom, we started with the king bed made of seagrass and distressed wood. The nightstands are such a great shape and are actually mounted to the wall, which we topped with aqua recycled glass lamps. The lamps are really gorgeous, since they resemble swirling water and the light shining down through them cast a beautiful glow. “Less was more” was our motto for this area, so we didn’t clutter up the tables with much This way the space could really be used for water, glasses, telephone, etc. The rugs is chunky looped natural fiber that was suprisingly soft to the touch. This was really important to warm up the room, yet still be comfortable under bare feet. Natural fiber rugs are also great about trapping dust and sand, which is nearly impossible to keep out of a beach house. The coral draperies flanking the windows helped frame out the view to the outdoors. Coordinating with the euro shams on the bed, the coral print fabric drapes puddle very slightly to keep the effect soft and dreamy.
All of the bedding is washable easy care linen and cotton, except the hand painted seahorse pillows on burlap, which were the perfect addition of texture and design. Above the bed are a series of wooden art with shells (made in Florida). Notice the script on the bottom of the art pieces is actually the Latin name of the shell!
After all the furniture, drapes, and art was installed we decided on adding this chaise for the corner of the bedroom. We tossed around the idea of two chairs and an ottoman, or maybe even a double chair, but decided on the chaise for multiple reasons. With only one arm, someone could sit up straight and put on socks, shoes, etc. but could also comfortably lay down and read a book or take a nap. So far, this spot has been a hit for everyone! The painted sign behind the chaise says “The longer you look at the ocean, the more you see” and I love that the other piece of art in the area is a giclee of the ocean! Or Gulf of Mexico, rather! A little woven rattan table with a glass top is the perfect size for a glass of wine and a book.
For the niche in the stairwell we wanted something more unique than a traditional piece of art and would soften the lines of the corner. We loved these driftwood boats and decided a vintage fishing net, recycled glass balls, starfish, and porcelain crabs would make a fun vignette when arranged all together. The finishing touch was naming the boat! My client’s two sons are Alex and Max, so we put them together and the S.S. Alemax was created!
The upstairs landing/loft was a long skinny area that my client really wanted to maximize for her children and guests to sleep and play. Though she originally wanted three sets of bunks along the wall, I was worried that would block the light from the windows and seem to massive for the relatively small space. I space planned several different designs, but we strongly ageed that we wanted symmetry and that was really what lead the final design. The other factor was storage- since this was technically a large hallway, we wanted as many drawers as possible for the kiddos to put the clothes and toys. She found some adorable pirate themed sheets, so we decided to run with that theme, and I don’t think I could have been happier with the result. Rope & galvanized boat cleat railings, porthole mirrors, antique boat oars, and grass cloth wallpaper all tied together to create a nautical look perfect for young boys, yet still sophisticated for such a prominent area. We even had porthole cutouts on the stairwell to the top bunk, so they could look through them at each other! Though some of the rope detailing and tying was a little laborious, the final effect was well worth the effort.
My sketch for the client and trim carpenter…
Detail on rope & cleat railing. The sign above the bunk is made from rope letters and Alex and Max picked out the “walk the plank” saying!
We had plain white pillow shams monogrammed with the letter “CREW” on the end in navy threads for the boys. Custom “stagecoach” shades hang over the windows in a sailcloth fabric with navy tape trim and metal grommet closures. Notice the porthole cutout on the bunk stair wall! Large enough to look through, but NOT large enough to climb through! That was an important factor to consider!
For the first of two upstairs guest bedrooms we decided to go with a little bolder color palette of bright color and aqua. With the “Coastal White” walls paired with the distressed washed casegoods, the colorful bedding and accessories really pop with contrast. Though we could have squeezed a king bed in the space, the client opted for a queen, so that nightstands with storage would fit as well. This also keeps all the walkways from being too narrow to comfortably move about. Geometric Trina Turk bedding was the foundation of our color palette and from there we added white linen euro shams with jute fringe and aqua piping, as well as the reversible aqua/white accent pillow. Once we monogrammed the words “rise & shine” and “sleep tight” on the opposing sides in a coral thread, the palette tied together perfectly. Although I am not a big fan of bedskirts as a whole, this burlap one was so cool! The lamps are resin stacked sea urchins and we actually switched the shades from white to burlap so there would be a little bit of a contrast from the wall. Since we have the perfect symmetry of the nightstands and lamps flanking the bed, we wanted a bit of asymmetry in the art. These aqua wall plates came in two sizes which we arranged off center over the bed.
The accent chest was distressed wood with a painted burlap over the drawer’s wood panels. We added a shell tiled mirror and a few small accessories to tie in with the bedding and art on the other side of the room.
The adjoining bathroom of this guest room was already really amazing, so we just basically iced the cake. With the silver footed claw foot tub and marble top cabinet so beautiful, we just wanted to add a few accessories that would highlight these features and not distract. By adding a driftwood shelf over the tub, we could arrange various candles and sealife which acts as a sort of frame for the photograph we enlarged and printed on canvas. This is a picture of Shell Island in Panama City Beach take by Coastal Images by Melissa Clark- who also took the photos throughout this house! The colors and vibrancy was so perfect to connect this bath and bedroom! A apothecary jar with sea sponges on the counter and a few starfish lined up on the mirror were the only other things we thought this dreamy bathroom needed! We pondered adding a ceiling mounted shower curtain, but the homeowner decided it wasn’t necessary at this time. It is an easy addition to add a later date, if they decide it would make the shower option more functional.
The second guest bedroom is designed to be a retreat and second master. The queen bed is a beautiful cream wood finish with a chocolate glaze. Combined with bedding in soft green, creams, and browns the overall atmosphere is very relaxing and coastal. We decided to not do a pair of nightstands in the room, but instead have a chest on one side and accent demilune table on the other. Fortunately, they were the same height so we could use a pair of accent lamps and still have them line up horizontally. This was really important since the art is hung directly behind the lamps. If the lamps hadn’t been the same height, the art would look as if it was hung incorrectly. The tufted bench at the foot of the bed is a mixture of linen and burlap and worked out nicely as a seating area, yet didn’t interfere with the pathway to the balcony door. The driftwood mirror over the antique chest was just the statement piece this niche needed and gave a little drama to the room. The sand pipers are carved from blocks of driftwood as well.