Tom D’Agostino Jr. never paid much attention to the Regency-style townhome he frequently passed in Palm Beach. But years later, when he and interior designer Danielle Rollins toured the property as the couple’s prospective new residence, she pointed out loads of promise: the allée of palms leading to the entrance, the grand staircase sweeping up to an oculus skylight, the private swimming pool in the back courtyard. “It had such good bones,” Rollins recalls. “I told Tom, ‘This is it.’” The pair soon moved from their condo to the townhome, where they spent the next five months putting their own stamp on the place.
“When you’re doing a project, the house tells you what to do,” Rollins says. In this case, the townhome’s classic lines, well-proportioned rooms and easy flow called for “barefoot elegance,” she adds. “There’s a formality to it, but it’s a relaxed formality.” Tom offered a particularly descriptive take: “I suggested the style be somewhere between Peter O’Toole and Ernest Hemingway—a British Colonial feel,” he says. So, Rollins conceptualized a design that blends color with subtle patterns for a calm and sophisticated style.
The couple first got to work honing the highly polished marble floors, replacing pocket doors with a more classic design and relocating the pillars that dominated the dining room to just outside the main entrance for a grander welcome. The modest kitchen was upgraded with a pantry and hidden storage to maximize every inch. “Some people come with baggage; I come with china, silver, crystal and linen,” Rollins quips. Overflow mementos are displayed in the dining room’s massive antique breakfront, a sentimental item from her previous Atlanta home. “I need to have a little bit of my past with me—a few pieces I know,” the interior designer says. “It’s a sense of comfort.”
More work occurred in the television room, an angled space outfitted with built-ins. “We cut the millwork and moved it back, changing the whole look of the room to be half-octagonal,” Tom explains. They installed a cozy banquette, repurposed their former dining table into a coffee table and painted the room a moody shade of navy. “I always say: Paint the smallest room in your house the darkest color you can stand,” Rollins shares. “It visually expands the space.”
Throughout the home, gracious windows welcome radiant outdoor hues and natural light. To counter the vibrancy, Rollins embraced calm interior tones of chocolate brown, white and pale blue, with touches of black, beige and coral. “That restful palette gave me the chance to let pieces with a lot of heft pop,” she says. Inspired by the enormous mahogany front doors, for instance, the interior designer selected furnishings of the same wood, including the living area’s modern coffee table and antique English consoles. Her Queen Anne-style mirrors and lacquered Ming-style tables, meanwhile, play with the contemporary- leaning seating Tom selected. “This was the perfect way to take antique pieces and make them fit with a more modern feel,” Rollins says. The deep white skirted sofa and upholstered slipper chairs mirror guests at a dinner party—“You need a mix of skirt and legs,” she muses—while the chairs’ block print and a sisal rug nod to a Bahamian feel.
The duo settled on subdued off-white walls for the main bedroom upstairs, home to a grass- cloth bed with a nailhead detail and vintage night tables. “She’s gotten me to move off of the monotones to a more colorful palette, and I think I’ve gotten her to somewhere a little more centered,” Tom says, making the interior designer laugh. “It’s a good balance.”
Outside, Rollins added a new portico to the front exterior, installed a fountain across from the front door and planted new greenery, including blooming white tropical flowers, star jasmine vines and green island ficus hedges. “When you live in Florida, your exterior is as important as your interior,” she says. The rear courtyard offers even more space to entertain, including oversize settees the interior designer arranged around the pool and a breezy cabana for alfresco dining.
Simultaneously traditional and easygoing, the townhome is an amalgamation of the couple. It’s become a sentimental spot as well: In the courtyard during their New Year’s Eve party, Tom surprised Rollins with a marriage proposal. “I think the test of a house is that the more you’re in it, the more you like it—and we both feel that,” she says. “It’s home for us now.”