Designer Kara Miller Invites Us Into Her Renovated Town House in Jupiter, Florida
"I have a heart for restoration and saving places that need life. This one was a prime candidate," says designer Kara Miller of the 1,600-square-foot fixer-upper she bought for her family in her hometown of Jupiter, Florida. When she arrived, this town house was stuck in a different decade with mirrored living room walls, popcorn ceilings, a closed-off kitchen, and lackluster beige tile flooring. The home's prime location on State A1A (just a skip away from the beach and a short bike ride to her office), won Kara over. "I started my career doing hard-core renovations for general contractors, so I've always had a bug for a good project," she says. The downstairs needed a fresh start; gutting it opened the floor plan to max out space. Next, she added her sunny Florida spirit. "I'm an old soul. I like mixing objects from the past with new and (once in a while) modern things," she says. See how Kara revived this home with punchy textiles, personal mementos, and family heirlooms.
"I'm a fierce editor. I believe in using what I have and owning only what I love. Every dish on the shelves in the kitchen gets used, so they never become dusty. Some of them are passed-down pieces of brown-and-white patterned Thanksgiving china, and I enjoy them. I keep cleaning supplies and Costco goods out of sight in the pantry behind peach doors. The 12-inch-deep cabinets on the island offer more dry storage, as do the two other pantries on either end of the kitchen."
"I designed the living room's vibrant green palette to flow seamlessly into the outdoor areas."
Live in the Living Areas
"My 14-year-old son always comes home with sand in his pockets. I don't want to fuss at my children and I'm also a huge dog lover, so I made my home as bulletproof as possible. All the upholstery in the living room is done in Crypton fabric, and the floor is vinyl (better for pets). I don't buy expensive rugs. I prefer natural fibers; they're low-maintenance and affordable. I have them cut to size, and if they get yucky, I can replace them. I'd rather splurge on curtains and vertical things you really can't hurt."
Design for Company
"Every little inch of space needed to be used wisely, especially since I was enlarging the kitchen. I pushed the dining area over by the window so we could have a bigger island. I knew if we wanted to host friends and family for dinner or holidays, then we would need to accommodate more seating, so I installed a wide built-in banquette."
Master the Mix
"Play around with patterns, proportions, and scale to achieve a balanced, layered look."
Living room and dining nook curtains: Ferns Multi Greens on Tint (AC100-11) by Quadrille
White pillows: Petite Cross + Dot in Peach (SW 6339 Persimmon) by Erika M. Powell Textiles
Coral pillows: Aswan Clementine by Lisa Fine Textiles
Seat cushions : Linear in Celery (317) by Norbar Fabrics
Use Sentimental Pieces
"I designed the master bedroom around my grandmother's framed crewelwork [hanging by the Quadrille Bali Hai Blues draperies]. She made me promise to take care of it, so I thought, 'What better place to honor her than my room?' I'm not normally a yellow person, but I like the boho feel of the Raoul Textiles linen I used for the bolster."