This Couple Made Sure Their First House Would Be Their Forever Home

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Dorothy and Isaac Lidksy in Their Family Home in Windermere, FL
Ball & Albanese; Styling: Matthew Gleason

A happy coincidence brought Dorothy and Isaac Lidsky back to Florida. "We had lived in Delaware; Washington, D.C.; London; and then New York, where I gave birth to our triplets," says Dorothy, who grew up in Windermere, a small town outside Orlando known for the sparkling lakes that surround it. Hoping for a slower pace of life for their children, the couple began searching for a new place to call home. Then, a business opportunity for Isaac presented itself in Orlando, near Dorothy's family—kismet. The couple packed up their brood and headed south, but they didn't want to commit to just any old house. They rented instead, waiting four years for the right place. "The same day we heard about this listing, we met here and stood on the lot," says Isaac of their lakefront would-be homesite. "It was this peaceful, beautiful day, and we knew that this was where we would build our home."

Fifteen years of living in city apartments and temporary rentals meant that the pair knew exactly what they wanted in their first home: comfortable, no fuss spaces where they could unwind with their four children (their youngest daughter was born in April 2017) and an easy-to-navigate layout for Isaac, who is blind. Dorothy also wanted the house to feel fresh, with plenty of color and room to grow. She turned to designers Erika Powell and Meagan Burks of Urban Grace Interiors in Santa Rosa Beach for their twist on Southern traditional. "Every time someone walks into our house and says, 'This is so you! This is your family!' that to me is the biggest compliment because our home really is an extension of us," says Dorothy. Here, the couple and the designers share their moves for crafting a forever home.

Design A Family-Friendly Living Room

Lidsky Family Home in Windermere, FL Living Room
Ball & Albanese; Styling: Matthew Gleason

With a Perennials acrylic fabric on the armchairs and an indoor/outdoor material on the Lee Industries sofa, the living room can weather wet swimsuits and spills. The painting over the fireplace is by Florida artist Teresa Cline.

Make Room for a Crowd

Lidsky Family Home in Windermere, FL White Kitchen and Breakfast Nook
Ball & Albanese; Styling: Matthew Gleason

The family of six spends a lot of time in and around the kitchen, so plenty of seating was a must. Slipcovered counter benches from Lee Industries make a prime homework spot for the triplets, and the breakfast nook is a sunny place to start the day. As in the living room, Powell and Burks covered the window seats in an outdoor fabric and layered patterns with throw pillows. "You can get away with using lighter colors when you go with outdoor fabrics," says Powell. Belgian linen shades in Radish Moon's hand-illustrated Radish pattern in Indigo keep the kitchen windows playful. The ceiling is painted White Dove (OC-17) by Benjamin Moore.

Go (A Little) Formal

Lidsky Family Home in Windermere, FL Formal Dining Room Blue and White
Ball & Albanese; Styling: Matthew Gleason

An antique brass-and-amber glass-rod chandelier from Arteriors was the first thing the designers found for the dining room. From there, they built off its formality, choosing an heirloom-worthy table and buffet from Baker that both work well for entertaining. To unify the space with the more casual kitchen and living room, Powell and Burks stuck to the blue-and-white color palette, layering in window treatments in Schumacher's Nanjing fabric, an abstract painting by Florida artist Liza Snyder,and Dorothy's antique Chinese pottery. The designers also kept the kids in mind, covering the chairs in an indoor/outdoor fabric.

Put It in Neutral

Lidsky Family Home in Windermere, FL Neutral Master Bedroom
Ball & Albanese; Styling: Matthew Gleason

"Dorothy wanted this to be their retreat," says Burks of the primary bedroom. So Isaac could also appreciate its serenity, the designers chose textured pieces, like a tufted-linen headboard from Vanguard Furniture and table lamps covered in ceramic petals by Currey & Company. "The day we moved in, when I finally got to roam free and feel the different furniture and finishes with my hands—it's difficult to describe how amazing that experience was," says Isaac. "I couldn't believe I got to live in this house!" The custom pressed-hydrangea artwork that flank the bed is by Lauren Lachance.

Create a Personal Retreat

Lidsky Family Home in Windermere, FL Master Bedroom Neutral Sitting Room
Ball & Albanese; Styling: Matthew Gleason

In the primary sitting room, bamboo-frame armchairs and a muted palette ground the space and keep the focus on the lake view. The lamps are by Visual Comfort & Co.

Dial Up the Brights

Lidsky Family Home in Windermere, FL Girl's Bedroom Pink and Orange
Ball & Albanese; Styling: Matthew Gleason

"Pink is her favorite color, so we went wild with that," says Powell of the decision to cover the older daughter's bedroom in pink-and-orange toile wallpaper by Manuel Canovas. Dorothy didn't want to skimp on the children's rooms, adds the designer, who selected high-quality furniture in styles that can grow with them, even as their tastes in colors change over the years. "This family is not planning to move again, so they wanted to get things right the first time."

Tie In Complementary Colors

Lidsky Family Home in Windermere, FL Girls Bathroom Red and White
Ball & Albanese; Styling: Matthew Gleason

For the girls' Jack-and-Jill bath, Powell and Burks chose Sister Parish Design's Serendipity Wallpaper in Red.

Think Smart

Lidsky Family Home in Windermere, FL Back Porch
Ball & Albanese; Styling: Matthew Gleason

Automated retractable screens along the side of the house bridge the gap between indoors and out. "We worked with a company here in town to make everything in the home automated," says Isaac. "Speakers, lighting, pool equipment—all of it is connected to an app that's accessible to me, so for the first time, I can actually control everything in my house." Now, they're working to integrate Amazon Echo Dots into the system. "That means I could reconfigure lighting or turn on a Spotify playlist with a voice command," he adds. "Dorothy's unrivaled favorite music genre these days is yacht rock."

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