Part of the fun of being an interior designer is getting to work in different areas of the country, exploring various design styles, furnishings, fabrics, finishes, and paint palettes. So many elements combine to create the final, fabulous look that personifies a client’s style, and it’s my mission to make sure every detail represents their personality within their space.
As some of you may remember, I began work on a gorgeous waterfront home in Florida earlier this year that needed a total overhaul. It’s an interesting process when a client buys a home that’s filled with a design direction that’s the polar opposite of their aesthetic, although, it’s not uncommon. Often times people discover properties that seem to be a good fit on paper, but you may need to look past what the previous owner incorporated into their design to explore the potential of your new style, and know that it can live beautifully in this new space.
This approach requires vision, tenacity, and commitment to stay true to your design goals and confidence in realizing your home’s final look—and to help stay on track, the Corian® Moodboard Maker is a fantastic tool that visually expresses the aesthetic you are going for. I used the Corian® Moodboard Maker for the first time on this project and it’s so fun to look back at the process—from conceptualizing the spaces with the tool to going through the renovation to seeing the final results now, it’s been a full circle experience that all started with this inspiration.
When it comes to my clients, I can often see the many options, which leaves people unsure of where to start. But no worries; I’ve got this! These are the first three steps I share with them:
1) Take some deep healing breaths (it’ll all be fine, promise!)
2) Think about how you want to live/function in the space
3) Think about what design elements will help you love where you live
We had a nice kitchen to start with, but we wanted to alter the layout to create a more current design.
The cream and tan colors were uninspired, and the dated granite was a once-upon-a-time big selling point for many people, and a pinnacle in quality surfaces for kitchens. But…looks have since evolved. I was excited to not only give this kitchen a new layout, but also a major bang-for-your-buck makeover. The angled high-height island visually cut off the main kitchen area, and I wanted to establish more of an inclusive feel and flow. By bringing the island to a freestanding counter-height, it feels like an open extension of the living room, creating the illusion of a great-room rather than a cut-off kitchen.
The clients’ three main goals for the kitchen were to: (1) reflect a Florida lifestyle, (2) transform it into a great space for entertaining, and (3) have it work as a family-friendly space. The wife is from New Zealand, and it was fun to work with her to bring her design visions to life. We loved the themes of blue and white, mixed with natural textures and weaves. Since the kitchen is almost an extension of the outdoor and living room space, I wanted to weave in the blue and white theme into those adjacent spaces. It was all about making a seamless color and design flow, and blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces. So much of the Florida lifestyle is bringing the outdoors in and letting the exterior reflect in the interior design.
The husband had his mind set on wanting the look of a concrete countertop, and the challenge was to give him that look while still maintaining the beachy vibe and coastal texture that his wife wanted. I love the look of concrete, but working it into this design took some thinking outside of the box. The kitchen is very linear, and the original design didn’t have a true island, but more of a jut-out, and we knew we wanted to incorporate a freestanding island. I was excited to mix surfaces, and it became a study in contrast, which is a great place to start if you are designing your own kitchen. Mixing levels of light and dark in a space visually makes it so dynamic, and thinking in terms of different tones playing off of each other adds depth and dimension to a room.
Working on a kitchen gives you wonderful opportunities to play with contrast, starting from where your eye lands and wandering from floor to ceiling. For this project the floor is a soft tan travertine, the perimeter cabinetry is a light and bright white, and the countertop is a beautiful rich gray cement look in Corian® Quartz Grigio Alpi. I love this Corian® Quartz product because it evokes the look and feel of concrete but is a little warmer, with soft flecking and veining which gives it dimension and softness. As soon as I saw the Grigio Alpi finish I knew it would help me seamlessly give the husband and the wife the combined look they wanted for their new kitchen.
The backsplash is a ceramic high gloss white tile with some texture and movement, the upper cabinets are white and then there is a pale blue gray paint color to help visually frame out and finish the cabinet walls. For the island, I chose a soft slate blue custom color for the base cabinetry and the countertop, we chose Corian® Quartz in Calacatta Natura. This beautiful contrast takes the primarily white field background and adds some gray and tan veining to tie in the concrete feel that looks great with the natural texture chairs and counter stools.
In the butler’s pantry we had some fun with a decorative backsplash on one wall. It works with the multiple colors in the Corian® Quartz and adds an eye-popping element when you enter the home from the garage, which is a daily entranceway for the homeowners. I think the first focal point when we walk into our homes should be a design moment, even if you are entering in through a mudroom or garage. My client shared pics of a hotel in Australia that she stayed in and loved, and the tiles we chose echoed that design inspiration. The Corian® Quartz countertop was the perfect base as a jumping off point to take what could have been a forgotten moment to a rockstar moment in their home, and certainly, one that will make them smile every time they step inside!
The old kitchen had a cream and brown color scheme and my goal was to lighten and brighten the space, giving it the happy home vibe the clients wanted! The Corian® Quartz material allows me to do just that, and by using multiple materials in the same space, I’m able to bring the husband’s and the wife’s different styles to life in one cohesive look. The Corian® Moodboard Maker was the perfect tool to visually bring both of their styles together at the start of the design process, and I like that we are in a time of mixing materials rather than everything feeling “match-matchy;” it’s what gives a room perspective and allows you to personalize it for each and every client.
I always enjoy when a client buys a home and they can see through the design that’s currently in the space; often times this can require true vision and imagination. This was definitely the case in the kids/guest bathroom in this home; it had nowhere to go but up!
Some of the challenging elements that I knew had to go were a pre-fabricated shower, an awkwardly placed and sized-high window, a strange lighting placement over the window, and an offset vanity, all creating a peculiar space that needed to be totally reimagined. The focal wall of the room was nothing you really wanted to focus on at all—it’s actually the view from the window overlooking the pool, yard, and waterway. It’s absolutely fantastic!
I wanted to bring in a freestanding stylish tub, a new shower with chic details, and add a small private toilet room. We had fun with paint but made sure the design remained evergreen and something the family will enjoy for years to come. With that, we needed to add a little pizzazz!
Surfaces are one of my favorite tools in working with bathrooms. They have the ability to set the design apart and keep it from looking and feeling cookie cutter. I like to mix and match materials to make the design feel dynamic and visually interesting, and I think the combination of flooring, wall tiles and Corian® Quartz countertop in Blue Carrara add a lot of spice to the space.
Lately, blue has become the new neutral—for me, at least—and for this guest bathroom I wanted to accent a modern slate blue with aged brass. A big design challenge was to make the large window placed up high on the wall not look so out of place, and a bathroom is a great spot to work with tile wall detail. You’ll be shocked to see how it can be a strategic tool to help cover some design dilemmas, give it more of a design point of view, and add some pattern to make the space a little more dynamic.
The floral wallpaper mixed with the tan stone struck a nerve when I first walked in (Yikes!), but I knew the design direction was going to be to create a serene, stylish space for my clients to really enjoy. Again, part of the fun of a makeover is to forget every design detail you’re walking into and give it a whole new vibe. The shower is one of the first things you focus on, so I knew that required a real wow moment. I fell in love with the Corian® Quartz Versilia Grigio and knew it would do the trick. It has absolutely gorgeous veining, and what strikes me most about it is the rich gray with subtle bluish undertones—it’s so elegant and refined, and looks super luxe. I felt like it would be striking to see it in slabs as the shower walls as well as the tub deck and the vanity countertops, as it’s a stunning first look when you enter the room. There’s just one window in this large bathroom, so keeping it light and bright in tones was a way to maintain the airy and open feel.
Here is a look at other pictures from the renovation:
I love a good “before and after” just like the next guy, and I think this particular makeover shows the power that wonderful surfaces and new millwork can have on a space; you don’t always have to re-work the layout. The drama of this transformation is seeing past the space that I first walked into and imagining all the new and beautiful options. Kicking off this project with gorgeous concepts showcased through the Corian® Moodboard Maker was just the beginning of transforming the original space into a dream home for such a wonderful family, and I’m so excited to share the final results with you as we wrap up this coastal design.
Start your own design transformation at CorianMoodboardMaker.com
Special thanks to the following partners on this project:
Libby Langdon Interiors
Keith Baker Construction
Keith Baker, Jim Cunningham, Joe Saraiva
2053 US Highway 1
Vero Beach, FL 32960
The Bath Collection
934 11th Place
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Rick Montgomery, AL
3920 U.S. Highway 1S
Vero Beach Florida 32960
775 8th Court, Suite 1
Vero Beach, FL 32962
1865 Wilbur Ave
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Chris Galisim, Libby Interiors, Inc.
1032 6th Ave, Suite 203, New York, NY 10018
212.501.0785, f. 212.501.0318
Real Stone & Granite
427 S. Market Ave.
Fort Pierce, FL. 34982