There’s a piece of conventional wisdom that holds especially true for those on the quest for their dream home: “You’ll know it when you see it.” Never had that adage felt truer for a young couple than when they walked through the front door of a waterfront property on Florida’s Gulf Coast. “We pushed it open and could see directly to the water,” recalls the wife. “It’s like this sense of calm washed over us and we knew this was it.” Even more so, she says, because the home’s open and airy layout was ideal for their growing brood of three rambunctious boys and now playful golden retriever, Max.
There was just one problem. While the Atlanta transplants leaned toward a classic Southern aesthetic, the home was a markedly Mediterranean-style property. With a total refresh in order, the wife enlisted interior designer Sandy Moore and designer Megan Newman along with PCDG Construction for expert help in infusing some traditional yet youthful charm into the outdated home.
First up: the color palette. Taking cues from the couple’s art collection as well as input from the design-savvy wife, Moore and Newman conceived a fresh scheme of neutrals with splashes of green and blue to help soften the home’s heavy Mediterranean flourishes. And to keep the palette from reading overly coastal, they introduced the pops of color in elegant applications—from a delicate tape trim on the dining room chairs to a leaf-print drapery adorning the back gallery’s arched windows and door.
The latter gracefully frames views to the backyard and water just beyond, thus making them a focal point of sorts from the front door. While existing columns help lend the long gallery a sense of distinction, the same wasn’t the case for the adjoining living room and dining spaces flanking the home’s entrance. “The open layout was great, but the room felt so vast that we needed to create and define spaces to give the area purpose,” Moore says. So they formulated a new lighting plan overhead to help divide the space; a living room is centered around the existing cast-stone fireplace at one end, while a custom-scale dining table and chairs fill the opposite side. The trio of spaces is now primed for entertaining, flowing from cocktails and conversations in the living room to dinner in the dining area to poolside nightcaps in the backyard.
And while the rooms may sound formal in theory, they are anything but, notes Newman. “It was very important to the wife that the home be family-friendly. They absolutely adore their boys and want them to feel comfortable in any space,” she says. “And the wife was willing to use the materials necessary to ensure that.” In the kitchen and breakfast nook, for example, they settled on sturdy vinyl seating for easy cleanups. The combined areas underwent perhaps the home’s biggest transformations. The dated kitchen cabinetry was given new life with fresh coats of paint and the countertops were replaced with honed white marble featuring a striking waterfall effect. To maximize space, Newman and Moore suggested a banquette for a cozy setup that’s perfect for piling in and enjoying everything from family meals to game nights.
An adjoining space similarly received a top-to-bottom makeover and was transformed into the children’s homework room. Bold blue cabinetry is ideal for storing away school and craft supplies while a sculptural light fixture and graphic wallpaper adorning the ceiling add a dose of whimsy. The desk chairs are ready to tackle any mess, thanks to the stain-resistant textiles that were used to cover them.
While the home’s new design very much channels the wife’s traditional roots through graceful lines and classically inspired prints, it feels equally warm and approachable, much like the hospitable family of five themselves. It’s a balance that can be credited not only to its breezy waterfront setting, but also to remnants of the house’s previous iteration. “We didn’t completely erase its original character,” explains Newman. “Rather, we were excited to incorporate some of the Mediterranean details that we felt could be transitional.” Take the living room’s coffered ceiling. Its dark wood beams—a Mediterranean hallmark—were left untouched and juxtaposed with a richly colored Oushak rug underfoot. The home’s exterior echoes a similar approach. While its stucco was kept intact, updating it from a pale orange to a crisper, more classic white hue set the tone for the home’s casual-meets-elegant aesthetic. “It was a fun challenge,” Moore says of the renovation. “We were able to create this blended style that’s unexpected and, most importantly, allows our clients to feel at home once again.”