A Multigenerational Key Largo Beach Home Is Coastal Cool


Full House in Miami

Nautical accents fill a Key Largo beach home where three generations vacation harmoniously under one roof.

Natural Wooden Entryway with Deep Blue Rug  and Leather Chair

For the entry of this Key Largo home, interior designer Tracie Schumacher collaborated with architect Robert Richard and general contractor James Gregory on the design and installation of the beams and trusses from Wood Zone; new hurricane-resistant doors open to the space. A lantern from The Well Appointed House hangs over a blue-and-white West Elm rug that helps establish the home’s color palette.

Nautical Rope Chandelier Living Room with Blue Striped Rug and Wooden Table with High Ceilings

Pillows from Wisteria as well as custom ones on the RH sectional evoke the color of the waterway visible from the living room. Behind the sofa, a pair of glass lamps by Arteriors continues the water-inspired palette, while the wood coffee table from Cottage & Bungalow mimics the driftwood-stained ceiling beams. A white Savanna side table by Gallerie Noir and Thos Moser recliners join the setting to rest on a Perennials rug; a Midas chandelier by Fisher Weisman hangs above.

Blue Wood Pattern Sitting Area With Plush Seating and Geometric Carpet

Schumacher designed the staircase to be wrapped in blue-stained-pine panels from Wood Zone, creating an interesting backdrop for a cozy, out-of-the-way gathering spot, which includes cushy indigo chairs by Lee Industries and a durable rug by Perennials. In the corner, a Mariella lamp rests on an Emmett table, both from Arteriors. Here and throughout the house, the floors are white oak from Arrigoni Woods.

Wide Blue Striped Carpet Family Room with Seal and Ball and Multicolored Pillows

The fun, relaxed family room is punctuated by shots of orange in the light fixture and on the leather-and-wood side chair; the light fixture is from YLighting, and the chair, along with the room’s tripod floor lamp and striped rug, is by Ralph Lauren. The sectional is from RH, and the whimsical yellow and black Muuto tables are from Danish Design Store.

Rope Chandelier with Purple Chair Dining Nook With Water Views

Positioned across from the kitchen island, the dining nook provides some of the seating for the three families. The concrete table and the chairs are all from Mecox, with the latter sporting vibrant Castel fabric from John Brooks Incorporated in Denver. The Rope chandelier by Fisher Weisman adds a whimsical seafaring feel, and the window shades are by Hunter Douglas.

Blue Bamboo Chair Kitchen Corner Table with Starfish and Neutral Cabinets

In the kitchen, Schumacher designed the cabinets and the reclaimed-driftwood table that wraps around a corner of the quartzite-topped island. The bright blue bamboo chairs are by Bungalow 5, and the rope-and-glass fixture is from Currey & Company.

Double Mirror Neutral Corner with Natural Shelving and Leaf Plant

A wood display stand filled with small treasures and a pair of mirrors, all from Wisteria, create a chic vignette just outside the kitchen. Visible from an opening, the Miele stove, custom Wood Zone hood and the watery blue Artistic Tile backsplash from Decorative Materials in Colorado define one part of the culinary center.

White Railing Staircase with 3D Star Chandelier and Art Gallery Wall

A painted-white punched picket railing accents the stairway at the top of the second-floor landing. Schumacher garnered a selection of nautical-theme artwork from local artists and online vendors such as Minted and arranged them in a gallery wall. The light fixture is from Cottage & Bungalow.

Teal Wallcovering Master Bedroom with Organic Chandelier and Pier Artwork

Pre-finished white pine crowns one of the master bedrooms, which features walls dressed in vibrant Phillip Jeffries vinyl wallcovering. A chandelier from Mecox hangs over the space, where a faux-shagreen dresser, also from Mecox, joins a banana-silk-and-wool rug from The Scarab in Minturn, Colorado.

Teal Green and Cream Geometric Tile Bunk Bathroom with Double Faucet Sink

Blue hues continue in the boy’s bunk bath with walls painted in a bright Sherwin-Williams hue; the color reemerges on the floor in hexagonal concrete tiles from Decorative Materials. Cabinetry from Wood Zone is topped with a Caesarstone material in Pebble and accented with a Kohler sink and faucets. Surfboard pulls and hooks from Etsy and a light fixture by Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. finish the fun, beachy look.

Captain's Quarters Guest Room with Barn Wood Ceiling with Squid Art

Nautical overtones continue in the guest room that has been dubbed the “captain’s quarters.” Here, Wisteria pillows are piled on the West Elm bed, and the hand-stitched quilt throw is a flea-market find. An Arteriors lamp rests on a nightstand, also from West Elm.

Marlin Fish Wall Art with Three Ball Pendant in Netting

The maritime theme persists in the “captain’s quarters” with a trophy fish caught by the oldest grandson that hangs above a RH dresser, as well as a light fixture made of a trio of glass orbs encased in rope.

Water Wallpaper Powder Room with Orb Pendant Mirror and Red Flower

Water, water everywhere, including in the powder room, where the Phillip Jeffries wallpaper is reminiscent of the ocean. A polished-nickel mirror from West Elm hangs above a Kohler sink; the Whitman pendant is by Serena & Lily.

Imagine two grandparents (he’s a doctor and she’s a music conductor), their two sons and daughters-in-law (three doctors and one lawyer among them) and eight grandchildren (ages 3-12) all living on the same block in Weston and sharing not one but two vacation homes to which they routinely travel en masse. No, this is not the elevator pitch for a new sitcom but the very real-life version of how three generations of one family live and spend time together.  

Now envision what it would be like to be the person given the task of creating a home suitable for those 14 people. That was the position Colorado-based interior designer Tracie Schumacher found herself in eight years ago when she was tapped to assist with the family’s first multigenerational attempt—a ski retreat in Vail, Colorado. “I had never done a project involving this many people before, and establishing a trust level while deciphering everyone’s needs were critical parts of the job,” she says.

Clearly Schumacher succeeded, because when the families decided to expand their vacation holdings to include a beach house in Key Largo’s private Ocean Reef community, they again turned to their trusted designer. “They felt I had a real understanding of how they like to live,” she says. “But I’ve spent most of my career referencing the mountains, so working on a seaside residence offered a whole new set of challenges, especially when it came to the construction.”

First, the domicile was woefully short on bedrooms. According to one of the daughters-in-law, the original intent was to do just a modest remodel. “Before long, we thought if we’re going to do this, we should do it right, and pretty soon we were knocking down walls and gutting the kitchen,” she says. The result was the perfect balance of three master suites (two on the upper level and one on the main floor), adequate sleeping quarters for all eight children, including a bunkroom to accommodate sleepovers, the addition of a family office and a kitchen renovation that now provides enough space to seat everyone at once. 

But despite its expanded floor plan and enviable water locale that includes canals on two sides, the house still suffered from a lack of personality and character. In response, Schumacher worked with architect Robert A. Richard and general contractor James Gregory to add stone cladding to the exterior stucco walls and fish-scale shingle siding over the garage to introduce texture. To further break up the stark white façade and add some visual oomph, the eaves were painted a soothing teal. “The fresh and clean look with a shot of color outside prepares you for the beachy feel inside,” she says.

To elevate the overall look of the interiors, Schumacher, who also has a background in interior architecture, again collaborated with Richard and Gregory on the home’s millwork. In the entry and main-level living spaces, for example, new trusses and ceiling beams stained a driftwood color add warmth and depth. “When you look down to the kitchen and see the rafters, it looks like the hull of a ship,” Schumacher says. The introduction of vaulted ceilings in the second-story bedrooms proved equally transformative. As Richard explains, “The rooms were relatively small, and they all had flat ceilings, so changing the height and shape really had a dramatic effect.” 

The now nine-bedroom house stood ready to be appointed. “I was excited to explore hues and textiles I rarely get to use in the mountains, but I also had to learn about what worked here in South Florida, which is usually more color,” says Schumacher, whose immediate thought was blue, red and yellow. “But, because the owners live in the area full time, they didn’t want the same old beach shades. They threw out the idea of adding purple, and I took it from there.”  

The royal hue emerged as a background player, making appearances on the dining room chairs and on rugs and accessories in the grandparents’ master suite. But it is shades of blue, an inevitable response to the water, that dominate. In the living room, a commodious Belgian linen sectional topped with an assortment of turquoise, navy and cerulean pillows offsets a pair of Thos. Moser recliners reminiscent of deck chairs. The navy leather on the chairs ties to the stripe in the room’s indoor-outdoor rug, which in turn connects to the stained aqua panels that wrap the staircase and the shimmery pastel blue backsplash reminiscent of shells in the kitchen. 

Nautical accents provide another layer of connective tissue with boat-cleat towel hangers in the bunk bathroom and a papier-mâché light fixture resembling a fishing basket with little oars in the living room. The theme continues with a rope light fixture in the dining room, blown-glass orbs encased in what looks like fishing net in one of the guest quarters and healthy doses of art depicting all manner of 
sea life seen throughout.

According to Schumacher, both the multigenerational concept and design theme work because everyone has a space of his or her own but everything functions as a cohesive whole. “It doesn’t feel like nine distinct bedrooms because all the spaces talk to each other,” the designer says. “The beams and ceiling treatments give the house a sense of history, but it’s the pops of color that make it fresh and modern and tie everything together.”