Pop Life


Story and Interior Design by Mindi Shapiro Levine
Photographed by Mary Britton Senseney

In a summer home, you have the freedom to have fun and be irreverent when it comes to design. My clients, Jeff and Andrea Shapiro, took a leap of faith and said, “We want a happy, bright, fun, whimsical place in the sun.” I took the design to a new level with a playful re-introduction of bold color and an eclectic and stylish décor. I kept in mind the need to create a beach home that had enough dexterity and flexibility to handle sun, salt and sand — plus all the wear and tear an active family can dish out.

“We love everything the beach can offer,” Jeff explains. “Our family loves boating, fishing, skiing, swimming and all the other fantastic aspects that beachside living has to offer. Of course,” he says laughing, “with kids that means wet towels, bathing suits and sand. But, it’s the beach, so what else would you expect?”

Jeff and Andrea bought the Destin condo in 2000. At that time, I was given a very small budget to paint the walls, order some slipcovers for the sofas and purchase bedding, accessories and a few pieces of art. It is amazing what a coat of colorful paint can do for 11 years. This project, in 2011, was all about letting loose and having fun. The idea was to make this three–bedroom, two–bath condo super cool. As Andrea notes, “each room has a vibe of its own-like a boutique hotel, so that guests could say ’I stayed in the yellow room this time’ or ‘I got the teal room,’” she says. Just like when you’re on vacation, there’s a certain “no rules” approach to decorating my family’s beach house that has a refreshing effect. There is a level of exuberance here, but there’s also a level of restraint. The house is basically turquoise, yellow and red with a tiny bit of orange and lime green. All this is laid over white, or a similar neutral base.

First, the old color-blocking paint theme was replaced with a white palette throughout. A set of three identical mirrors, installed in the entry foyer, created the perception that the space never ended. Then, once inside, I started over from the floor up. A well–used and well–worn Berber carpet was replaced with a sand–colored, wood–patterned tile throughout the living areas. Wood flooring was an earlier option, but given the high usage, wear and tear, a fabulous compromise was this incredible tile. Existing neutral sofas became blank canvases. Pillows of various fabrics and patterns featuring every color in the condo provided a visual pop without being too overpowering. I also played a lot with shape and texture. I naturally tend towards ovals and circles, and each is repeated throughout the house, as in the artwork above the dining table and the colorful disks above the master bed. I find rounded forms very friendly, and a happy home needs friendly shapes.

Color is the key element in decorating this condo. Yellow is my favorite color, so I’m probably biased, but I think it’s great in this setting. It’s warm and welcoming, and it feels fresh and unpretentious. I chose cheerful pops of yellow to cast a sunny spell over the guest room and in the dining room. I mixed it with other high-octane colors for an energetic vibe and plenty of white to keep the intensity level in check. But since yellow is “the” hot color, it needed a cool balance, to cut through the heat; in came turquoise. Various shades of turquoise are used throughout the condo, from the tile back splash both in the kitchen and in the master bath to the artwork in the dining room and bedding in the master. It is an homage to the sea, and it happens to be one of Andrea’s favorite colors. An attention–grabbing, bold multi–colored chair from CB2 adds a jolt of energy to the guest room and makes it so the rest of the room requires a minimal decoration. I found the “Shhhh” painting at Ikea and it added humor and whimsy.

The living area is all about colorful accents. Even though there’s a lot of color, it feels balanced. The base color is white-white walls, white cabinets, and some white and neutral furniture. There is also a high–gloss, white wood table, and white, powder– coated metal chairs, both found during a floor-sample sale at Crate and Barrel. New tile, cabinets, lighting and appliances refreshed a kitchen that is the center of the home. New countertops and an extended bar created more space for preparing the fresh catch of the day. We used quartz composite for durability, and the surface reflects the space as the sun reflects off the water. A new bedroom suite, also from Crate and Barrel, brought a warm, rich texture through its modern wood. Unifying the entire space are the custom drapes, lined with blackout fabric to keep the summer heat out but the sea feeling within. In the end, with a creative approach to unifying the spaces, reflecting the beach in the colors and patterns, and a belief that great design is achievable even within a budget, the Shapiros ended up with a bright, fresh, warm space suitable for family and friends. •

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One Response to “Pop Life”

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