Neutrals Forever! See Inside this Cozy Watercolor, Florida, Home
Going down the Pinterest rabbit hole often leads to the best discoveries. Nikki Colquitt would agree. That's how she stumbled upon interior designers Allison Smith and Anne Scott Shelley of Maison Studios. Colquitt reached out about a rug they had pinned, only to find that they were based in the 30A area, where she and her husband, Britton, had just bought a spec house in need of a softer look for themselves and their four children. That rug inquiry led to a design partnership.
Colquitt turned to the decorators with a specific request: Bring the outside in. "My favorite colors are blue-green tones and the shades of old wicker and worn rugs—mostly hues you'd see outdoors here," she says. Although the neighborhood's tree-lined streets and the Panhandle's beaches provided a lot of inspiration, Colquitt didn't want her year-round family home decked out like a Gulf Coast rental. The designers layered celadon hues with airy neutrals that stay cool even on Florida's 100- degree days. "For a house near the sand, you need easy materials that won't feel too stuffy. We stuck to natural fibers like linens and cottons—no velvets or wools," says Smith. See how these designers turned a stark spec house into a cozy home that feels good all year long.
All The Neutral Design Inspo You Need
Color It Coastal
The Colquitts visited their neighborhood, WaterColor, for several years before settling here. It's hard not to fall in love with this community's laid-back pace and sherbet-colored cottages. The home's mint exterior (Sherwin-Williams' Bonsai Tint, SW 6436) fits in on the block.
A white wooden swing, built by a local craftsman, adds charm and seating on the porch.
The tones in the living room came from the unique family tree, created by artist Rebecca Rebouché. Louvered doors beside that painting hide the laundry room.
Prepared for Life
Investing in your interiors with young kids can be risky, but Colquitt wanted no areas to be off-limits. Form, meet function: Washable linen slipcovers top the Lee Industries chaises and sofa, and the armchairs were stain treated. "Now I don't have to be a helicopter mom and worry about messes," she says.
The rear porch is basically another living room. "Outdoor furniture can either be massive or tiny," says Smith. "Finding the right scale was where we started." The comfortable teak Restoration Hardware furniture makes inside-out living feel seamless, especially when all the French doors are open.
Bring In the Shiplap
Backsplashes aren't a requirement. Extending the wall paneling (painted Sherwin-Williams' Creamy, SW 7012) from the counters to the ceiling and over the range hood gave the kitchen a roomier look. Cabinet-front appliances painted gray-green (Sherwin-Williams' Austere Gray, SW 6184) relax the space even more. A mix of metals, like the brass faucet and white bronze hardware, adds character.
Make an Escape
The canopy bed was another specific idea Colquitt brought to the decorating process. The designers chose a four-poster Tritter Feefer bed, added an upholstered headboard, and draped a white eyelet fabric overhead to create the dreamy look. "It reminds me of a jewel box," says Colquitt, who loves for her kids to pile in on lazy mornings. Airy pinks, greens, and grays round out the look.
Create a Quiet Corner
The master bedroom's soothing palette spills into the sitting area. "It's like a multipurpose room that's still my private space," says Colquitt. The designers found the vintage rattan chair on Etsy for a song. (Pro tip: Before ordering furniture online, use painter's tape to make an outline of the piece's measurements to visualize how it will fit in the room.)
"Our goal was to create a space Colquitt's son would love now and also in five years," says Shelley. The designers chose deep sea blues instead of pastels to play up a nautical theme. "The light fixture reminded us of an octopus, and the pattern of the draperies almost resembles seaweed. Grass cloth warms up the walls," says Smith. Layering neutrals with rich blues keeps the room from straying too childish.
Fish for Ideas
The inspiration for the boy's bedroom's aquatic theme actually started with the bath's fish-print Cole & Son wallpaper. The designers pulled colors from the pattern—burnt orange, deep blue, and soft browns—into the space with pieces like the Oriental-rug bath mat.
Anything other than a single bed would have taken up too much floorspace in this long, narrow room shared by two of Colquitt's daughters. The designers got creative, drawing up one 13-foot-long upholstered headboard for the two twin beds (each with a trundle underneath).
Designate a Play Place
A secluded kids' hangout on the third floor is an ideal spot for games and movie watching, with ample storage for toys and art supplies.
Make Efficient Use of Space
Just off the playroom loft are a bunk room and full bath that can be used as a private guest suite for hosting company. This room also holds the rug that started the whole project.