Cottage Style Fall/Winter 2013

GCI Design

Cottage Style Fall/Winter 2013

Before setting foot inside her client's 4,000-square-foot waterfront home, interior designer Georgia Carlee knew the project would require a little elbow grease and ingenuity. The house, built in the early 1900s and situated in the vibrant Florida beach community of WaterColor, lacked character, personality, and warmth. "This house was one of the first homes in the area," Carlee says. "It didn't have all the charming details WaterColor construction is now known for, but it had a stunning view." …

After several conversations between the family and Carlee, the five-bedroom, five-bath home underwent a two-year transformation. Walls disappeared, windows moved, and ceiling beams were added. Now the interior of the home matches its surroundings: natural, serene, and beautiful. The main living space sits on the second story, framing the best glimpses of water and forest. Below, a bedroom, office, and media room let the family sprawl out and enjoy alone time. Neutral walls throughout the home keep the focus on relaxing and enjoying one another's company, while sheer drapery allows sunlight to seep in even when closed for privacy. "The family wanted the space to have an elegant, coastal influence without overdoing it," Carlee explains. "Most people think of blue hues when they imagine beach homes, but we kept it natural and sophisticated."

…Nods to the nearby beach -in the form of shell art and paintings by local artists- personalize the rooms. "I prefer to shop locally for decorations and architectural touches. They make a home feel instantly welcoming and cozy," Carlee says. Easy-clean surfaces and tough-yet-soft slipcovers keep daily life hassle-free. "More than anything else, the priority was low-maintenance materials," Carlee says. "Not only can guests put up their feet and relax, but the homeowners can too. It's truly a vacation home."