For a pair of high-powered Washington, D.C., attorneys, the tony seaside community of Vero Beach symbolizes rest, relaxation and precious time with family. “My parents purchased a house in Vero in the late 1970s, and I have been coming here on vacation ever since,” the wife says.
When grandchildren entered the picture, the couple sold their longtime vacation home in the area’s Johns Island community in favor of an oceanfront teardown. To dream up their new getaway, they hired architect Peter Moor, who had designed the wife’s mother’s nearby abode. “I love Peter Moor’s houses, because they’re so balanced and graceful,” the wife says.
That’s undoubtedly true of the house he designed for the couple, a white stucco Georgian-style dwelling that, stripped of the expected ornamentation, stands on its own while referencing the more traditional manses in the area. “It has a minimal, relaxed modernism,” says Moor, who was assisted by project manager Joanna Niznik. Because the clients are art collectors, Moor assumed they would favor an all-white home that mimics a museum. Instead, they requested a residence that not only displays their collection but also is a work of art itself.
In response, Moor presented architectural artistry from the outset. Accented with towering palm trees and a hedge of flowering bougainvillea, wide horizontal stone steps lead from the street to a long covered colonnade with a courtyard on one side and a swimming pool on the other. The latter was a particularly important feature for the wife, an accomplished swimmer, and Moor was careful to orient it just right to protect the area from ocean winds: An open-air cabana with bright orange shutters shelters the pool from strong breezes while allowing the pool a glimpse of the waves beyond.
Once inside, guests are greeted with an entry niche displaying a large Andy Warhol painting of an affable Howdy Doody. “What would be more welcoming?” the husband asks. “If Howdy Doody doesn’t make you smile, nothing will.” As inviting as it appears, the vignette is a suspenseful strategy Moor cleverly employed to build expectations of the house’s known beachfront vistas. “It’s sort of a delayed gratification move, the tortured entry sequence,” he says. “You’re not rewarded right away.”
Just a few steps to the left of the niche, the jaw-dropping ocean view reveals itself, exposed through an expansive wall of glass doors in the double-height living area. Shiplap-covered walls and large-scale limestone tile floors lean into the interior’s coastal milieu. The space is furnished with multiple seating areas that evoke the feeling of a five-star hotel—a familiar and welcoming setting for the couple, who often travels for work. “It feels like, ‘I’ll meet you in the lobby for a cocktail,’ ” Moor says.
The orange hue first spotted on the cabana shutters reappears inside, contrasting with more neutral furnishings through pieces such as the living area’s square ottoman, covered in orange leather. “When we looked through the clients’ artwork collection, we could see they gravitated toward this kind of palette,” explains interior designer Anthony Tinghitella, who worked on the project with designer John Fulcher. They carried the color into the adjacent kitchen, which boasts a high-gloss lacquer orange ceiling. To ensure there were no imperfections in the finish, general contractor James P. Hill and project manager Chris Hill sprayed layers of primer onto the highest quality of drywall before applying an automotive paint. The result is so slick, “You can see your reflection,” Chris Hill says.
Strong hues continue throughout the interior: A pair of iconic paintings—one of Chairman Mao by Warhol— coordinate with the office’s oxblood-colored wallcovering, while the adjoining bathroom is clad with a cherry-colored wall tile. “It’s quirky and unexpected,” Tinghitella says. “We tried to make things a little less predictable, so the house doesn’t look staid and static.” Housed in a separate wing attached to the main residence, the guest suites each feature a window wall in a bold color—green in one, purple in another—to take on their own personalities. “All the rooms have something with whimsy or energy,” Tinghitella says. Hallways are no exception, with artworks of all mediums hanging on walls and staged among respite seating areas around every corner.
It’s just the feeling the owners desired for their vacation home, a project that brought about a haven of artistry. “It resulted in a fabulous outcome,” the wife says. “The team reflected our taste—and I think they made it better.”