When beginning a project, Kara Miller often asks clients to share images of inspiration for their home. The exercise hints at a direction for the designer, known for her pattern-friendly, island-inspired interiors. Yet the images that caught the eyes of her latest clients—a busy family of six building a residence on a Jupiter golf course—pointed to clean lines, crisp palettes and a contemporary style often found on the West Coast. “I knew I didn’t want the typical Florida tropical feel,” the wife says.
The look was a slight step outside the boundaries of Miller’s portfolio. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t pull it off. “While this was a bit of a departure creatively from what I normally do, I liked the challenge,” she says. “This was exciting, because no one had ever asked me for a California-modern design.”
The house, by residential designer Dennis Rainho, presents a contemporary coastal-style façade with little ornamentation. “The exterior’s clean lines really set the stage and created a stepping point for the finishing details,” he says. Adding an edgy feel amid the structure’s soft gray shutters are dark bronze window and slider frames. “There are no outriggers or molding,” general contractor Michael Maxwell says, “so the shutters are the only architectural feature.” Inside, the owners wanted “a lot of verticality and lots of light,” Maxwell says, so the team placed floor-to- ceiling windows where possible and 13-foot-high walls in spaces such as the living area. They also introduced Shaker-style millwork on ceilings and walls, adding dimension and interest.
The clients, a couple with four children ages 11 to 17, were relocating from a residence with a lot of unused space and unnecessary upkeep. “We lived in an area nearby, but the house just didn’t suit what we needed as our family was growing up,” the wife says. “The idea here was more of a utilization of space and making every room fully functional.” Keeping usability front of mind, the team added an extra set of machines in the laundry room and created a large mudroom with pantry space, a second refrigerator and floor-to-ceiling lockers— one for each child—designed by Miller. “With four kids, all involved in various sports, they needed a space where they could neatly stow all their sports gear and backpacks,” she explains.
The family-friendly mindset continued in Miller’s choice of hardworking performance fabrics throughout the home, such as flax-colored Crypton on the club room sofa and indoor-outdoor textiles on counter stools and dining chairs. “The owners can literally take them outside and hose them off,” she says.
The designer restrained the palette in the common areas for a cool, California vibe, balancing white walls and clean-lined furnishings with wood accents and select shades of blue. Yet she still made sure to leave her signature mark of inserting bold prints where appropriate. The laundry room’s flooring consists of intricately tiled maritime blues and grays, which complement the mudroom’s blue lockers and cabinets. Each bedroom suite also has its own pop of color or pattern: a blowfish-print wallpaper for the son’s bathroom; blush hues for the younger daughters’ shared bedroom; seafoam and lavender tones for the eldest’s.
But the space that draws the most attention is the back exterior, accessed from the living area’s sliding glass doors. With the move to a smaller home, indoor-outdoor living was essential to the family, and the team delivered with a large covered loggia that houses an outdoor kitchen, a dining table and a gathering area. Overlooking the seventh hole on the golf course, the property also includes a pool, a private outdoor shower and an elevated deck with a fire pit and lounge seating. Landscape architect Steve West designed the grounds, and Miller fulfilled the husband’s single request for a triple-faucet sink—just like the one at his favorite local restaurant—in the cabana bathroom.
The family’s new residence is a hive of activity, the wife says, and that’s just what they envisioned. “I’m at the point in my life where I want to enjoy what I have—and our surroundings and my family,” she says. Most importantly, each beautiful space is lovingly used. “We were very intentional with this house,” Miller says. “Every square foot was well thought-out.”