Filled with Gravitas, This Palm Beach Vacation Home is Perfectly Cozy


Comforts of Home in Palm Beach

In north Palm Beach, a conscious departure from regional coastal style results in laid-back, family-friendly good looks.

Symmetrical Ranch Style Exterior with U Driveway

Architect Edward H. Sheahan was responsible for refreshing the home’s exterior and installing new impact windows for a modern look that highlights the pleasing symmetry of the entrance and front elevation.

Cream and Blue Family Room with Airplane Art and Patterned Curtains

A sleeper sectional by Lee Industries is at the heart of the family room, providing a plush place to lounge amid a Thomas O’Brien coffee table from Century Furniture, a Dash & Albert rug and wallpaper from Cowtan & Tout, which pops thanks to trim painted Benjamin Moore’s Kensington Blue.

Tongue and Groove White Kitchen with Pale Baby Blue Stools

The great room’s kitchen and tongue-and-groove ceiling were labors of love for builder Eddie Naugle, who worked diligently to master the angles of the vaulted ceiling. Shimmery backsplash tiles by Mosaic House and Mystery White marble on the countertops lend depth to the monochromatic design. The barstools are by Lee Industries.

Water Artwork Blue Dining Room with Lampshade Chandelier

Designer Andrew Howard added hits of blue to the dining room, with its custom table and vintage chairs, via a subtly striped rug from Dash & Albert, cushions crafted from a Raoul Textiles fabric and beach art by Thomas Hager from Sears-Peyton Gallery in New York. The quirky lampshade-inspired chandelier overhead is by The Urban Electric Co.

Pale Blue Master Bedroom with Bench Seating and Artwork

Howard built the master bedroom around pale-blue Matouk bedding that homeowner Patty Coughlin purchased with a friend in New York. “I showed Andrew the comforter and told him, ‘This is the color I want my bedroom to be,’ ” Patty says, “and he worked within that palette.” The bench at the foot of the custom bed is from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and the ceiling is painted Colony Green from Benjamin Moore.

Freestanding Sculptural Tub Master Bathroom with Adjacent Shower and Patterned Tile

A clean-lined freestanding tub that the homeowners hand-selected and a sculptural Lefroy Brooks tub filler sit on tile flooring by New Ravenna to define the serene master bathroom.

Citrus and Green Floral Guest Bedroom with Hanging Artwork and Nightstand

The guest room gets a dose of fun thanks to a healthy mix of patterns via the Galbraith & Paul fabric on the window shade and HB Luxe’s Strata fabric in Pomegranate on the matching Lee Industries benches, which pair well with the simple texture of the Basket wallpaper from Cowtan & Tout. Howard brought the custom beds to life with pool-blue Fabricut linen and a decorative Samuel & Sons border.

Opposite Color Blue and Orange Guest Bathroom with Shower

Salmon-hued Java Java wallpaper from Quadrille in the guest bathroom is a bold departure from the shades of blue used throughout the house, but it’s one of Howard’s favorite unexpected touches. “Orange is directly opposite blue on the color wheel, so it’s a great complement to the hue,” he says. “Using it in this space was the perfect way to introduce some of the warmer tones that we used in the adjoining guest bedroom.”

Palm fronds, chintz and vintage blue-and-white vases: These familiar trappings of Palm Beach style were nowhere to be found on Joe and Patty Coughlin’s redesign wish list. To be fair, though, the list was pretty short to start with. When the couple snagged the perfect fixer-upper in an exclusive North Palm Beach enclave for their vacation property, they were surer about the have-nots than the must-haves. “We just knew we didn’t want it to look like what you’d expect from a vacation home in this part of the country,” Patty says. So, she went to work to fill in the blanks, tirelessly scouring the web for inspiration. 

Soon, Patty found that all of her favorite rooms—the ones she was clipping and pinning and saving for later—were the brainchildren of one interior designer in particular: Jacksonville-based Andrew Howard. “We loved that the homes he had a part in creating felt cozy and casual but didn’t scream ‘beach house,’ ” Patty explains. “He was the only person we called.” With Howard on board, things got under way quickly—thanks to the fact that the home had already been fully gutted (with the walls in the great room torn down and reconfigured for an open-living plan) and to the designer’s own singular vision. 

“When you’re designing a secondary residence,” Howard says, “it almost needs to read homier than your actual home, since you don’t spend as much time there and it can feel a little unfamiliar. My number one concern, then, was comfort—that this could be a place that would reflect the Coughlins and what their needs were, and that it would become something they could live in and grow with over time.” Delivering big on the cozy front in the light and bright great room, however, was about more than selecting the just-right fabric for the curtains—although the pretty Ferrick Mason Bizzy Bloom print is a perfect fit. 

Instead, Howard started by thinking about how the Coughlins and their two adult children would be using the space. “You need to be cognizant of the traffic flow when hanging out and entertaining,” he explains. “Paths need to be big enough for people to pass through easily and feel free to mingle. It’s not just about furnishings but about the way the pieces are arranged.” With that in mind, Howard was able to create disparate working, dining and living areas, using strategically placed furniture alone: a few barstools around the kitchen with its minimalist palette; a pedestal table with clean lines and wicker chairs with a splash of color on the cushions for the dining room; and a living room with just the basics—a sofa and three chairs around an oversize coffee table. 

For all of the design’s simplicity, there’s still style in spades: a baby-blue-and-white palette feels fresher than typical Palm Beach fashion with its more traditional navy, and the subtle mixing of textures, from sisal and wicker to wood and marble, ensures there’s always something interesting for the eye to land on. Howard made sure to hide plenty of charm in unexpected places, too, as in the colorful trim that pops up throughout the house—in the fuss-free family room and laundry room, where it frames dynamic window shades and wallpaper, respectively—and on the creative ceiling treatments in nearly every space. The great room’s vaulted tongue-and-groove ceiling, for example, lends gravitas to the area, while blue-painted ceilings in the guest and master bedrooms mimic clear skies. 

For homeowners who weren’t quite sure what they wanted when they started out, the completed house is total bliss. “Every room has its own personality,” Patty enthuses, “but they all work well within the whole. It’s casual and comfortable; we’re as relaxed sitting in the hot tub outside as we are hanging on the couch in the living room.” And the best part? There’s not a bit of chintz in sight. 

–Brielle M. Ferreira


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