Color! Character! Charm!: See How This Florida Condo Goes from White to Wow
Windsor is the type of place that's hard to leave. The charming village in Vero Beach on Florida's Treasure Coast is a jewel box of croquet courts, restaurants, horse trails, and sandy shores. So when interior designer Lindsey Coral Harper finished a project there, she was reluctant to give up her visits. Fortunately, her work impressed Jenny Williams and Al Dragone, who had recently purchased a town house in Windsor for weekends away and asked Harper if she'd be willing to decorate it. She couldn't say yes fast enough.
The 20-year-old home's Caribbean-inspired exterior was flawless, but the white walls, refined finishes, and blond hardwood floors inside were a little too bland for the couple. "Williams has an eclectic taste and is interested in modern art," says Harper. "Although this is a very traditional setting, she wanted something a little bit different with lots of color." Harper twirled up the interior accordingly. She had no trouble dialing in a just-right mix of Old Florida panache (lush wallpapers, perfectly deployed rattan) with an up-to-the-minute freshness carried by a jewel-tone palette and the owners' bold art collection.
Was it a success? For Harper, the proof was in the party. Soon after she completed the home, the owners invited her over for a cocktail gathering, and the "wow" moments wowed, the art seemed to pop off the walls, and the line between inside and outside was nearly undetectable. "When you open the doors, everything works together seamlessly. It's a sophisticated place but still Florida, so it has a relaxed vibe," she says. See how Harper transformed the space.
Living Room: Before
Living Room: After
Harper launched the home's overall design from the next-gen take on a bright, traditional floral print (Patrician; dogwoodfabrics.com) that covers the pair of armchairs. In addition to updating a familiar motif, the fabric also spurred a rich palette of pink, purple, green, and turquoise, which she used liberally. "I prefer to utilize all the shades in a fabric," she says. Lilac, sage, and gray are just a few of the "surprise" colors Harper pulled out. The chartreuse fringe trim on the pillows ties to the palm trees in the courtyard beyond the living room's windows.
A strict color scheme can start to feel stiff fast, so the designer morphed the shades between different spaces. Flashes of turquoise and lavender pepper the living room, but in the den (which opens to the main living area), Harper pushed the colors into the deep end, letting teal and violet dominate. The walls are gray in both rooms, but here a high-gloss version of Fine Paints of Europe's WC-95 was applied instead of the living room's gray grass cloth. She lightened up the palette's darker mood with a pair of whimsical Moroccan-inspired stools (Nathan Turner Fez Ottoman; 1stdibs.com) upholstered in a striped fabric (Tarantas Steel Blue; romo.com).
The part of the living room centered around the fireplace is essentially a pass-through. It sits just inside the front door, is adjacent to the stairs leading up to the second level, and is on the way to the courtyard. "You walk right into that space, so I didn't want any clunky chairs there," says Harper, who met the challenge with vintage, open-backed horseshoe chairs found on 1stdibs. "They don't take up much visual space." The ottoman can also serve as extra seating for guests.
At first, Williams and Dragone planned to keep the white kitchen as it was. But once the rest of the home was decorated, the stark room felt like too much of a departure. "I convinced them to pick this wallcovering at the very end," Harper recalls. She took a cue from the stone countertops and the lush greenery right outside the French doors and hung George Spencer Designs' Palm Stripe in Sea Green wallpaper. "Now it's like, which came first: the green stone countertops or the paper?" she says.
The source of the homeowners' tiki-style bar (shown above) is unknown, but she loved its Old Florida funkiness—and that it fit in this nook.
In the guest room, Harper again chose a favorite fabric (Alan Campbell's Potalla for Quadrille, used on both the shams and window shades) for the range of blues that turn the room into a soothing oasis. She played with the color proportions, letting turquoise be the star and casting navy in a supporting role. "Dark blue side tables help calm down the turquoise accents," she says. Natural striations in the blue grass cloth (Phillip Jeffries' Bermuda Hemp) give a watery effect.
Harper decided to dramatically change direction in the master bedroom to distinguish it from the home's public spaces. The patterns are quieter, like the subtle print on the headboard (Stripes in Meadow by Lee Jofa). The colors are much less freewheeling, and the furniture is more classic. Warm apricot grass cloth sets the backdrop for apple green. The accent color was a no-brainer for Harper. "Coral always works in Florida," she says.
Harper made the small home feel expansive inside by working the courtyard's greens and blues into the interior's color scheme. So outside, she used the same trick: matching the trim on the plush outdoor cushions to the deep teal pool tiles and chartreuse greenery but sticking mostly with whites and grays to fit in with the architecture. "It's not a very large house, so maintaining one palette makes it feel like a unified space," she says. Heading outside is like "stepping into an outdoor version of the living room," she adds.