before & after: what happens when you give a designer the reins (and the keys!)
Sometimes you just have to leave it all up to a pro...
Published Aug 27, 2015 5:00 AM
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Florida-based designer Melida Williams recently shared two before & after properties with us that we couldn’t wait to share with you. The first one, a South Beach vacation home, is waiting for you here, and next week you’ll be treated to the second space, a stylish investment property. Trust us, you’ll want to come back and see it. (Hint: wallpaper). For now, read on to learn more about a bright, detail-oriented space full of inspiration–Miami style.
What brought this project about?
My clients are from New Jersey and I met them through my contractor. They were looking to buy a property in South Florida for awhile. One was for investment (stay tuned for this property next week!) and the other one was for their vacation home, pictured here. This space is located in the historic Shelborne Hotel (with the beach as their backyard).
Did your clients have a vision for their home or did they leave everything to you?
I was lucky to have clients with great taste and an open mind. Since they are from out of state, they handed me the keys and put a lot of trust in me and my design ideas (which always makes for a better end product). I had an initial design presentation showing the vibe I was going for and basically worked with their budget to achieve the overall look (modern/ casual/ eclectic). Their only request at the beginning was to “make it look a little funky!”
What is your favorite memory of this project?
I love the beginning and right before the end. My favorite part is the initial process of reimagining the spaces. The property was in disrepair and needed a complete overhaul. We basically gutted the interiors, knocked down walls, raised ceilings and came up with a more functional use of the space.
And the biggest challenge?
Construction! It’s always a challenge when working in old buildings. Once you open walls, you don’t really know what you are going to find.
What does your client love most about this redesign?
My clients love how personalized the space is. This space was all about a monochromatic look with rich textures and exotic woods.
Are there any design elements you used in this space that our readers should try for themselves at home?
I do have a few design elements, which I always incorporate in almost every project:
I love a bookcase! They are the best way to display anything and create a great architectural feature in a space.
Used as an graphic accent or textural element throughout, it’s always a good way to add interest to walls or ceilings.
Whatever your budget allows, it’s the best way to infuse personality in any space.
We’re having many different kinds of chair envy from this home. We’d love to know where they’re from!
I have a chair obsession myself. For the desk chairs in the bedrooms, we wanted something fun and with a pretty back and profile (not your typical desk chair). In the master bedroom, we used the Frida black chair with Tibetan fur by Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams . It was so fun! As soon as I saw it in the showroom, I felt like saying “It’s so fluffy!” (in my despicable me voice).
For the guest bedroom, the Francesca Chair has a great mid-century modern feel which complements the more graphic elements of the room.
The large mirror seems to be a recurring element. Was that something the clients wanted or is that all you?
I love mixing scales in spaces, so when I was shopping for my client and saw this mirror I knew it would be perfect above the sofa. The thin framed brass mirror is a great way to bounce the light around in the room and because the frame is simple, it does not look heavy or out of place. Also, using a large-scale mirror above a sofa is a great alternative to a large-scale piece of art.
In the guestroom bedroom, I thought the mirror was a nice layer to add above the wallpaper. Both mirrors have simple yet interesting frame details.
Any advice for readers interested in using large mirrors in a similar way?
My advice is to think of the overall room and use the mirror as an accent (use different material/ interesting frame detail). The large scale of these mirrors works well because the frames themselves are not overpowering. It’s all about layers! And always make sure you have backing in the wall (so the mirror stays up!).