Treating a home that is elegant but also child- and pet-friendly was the challenge for designers Alicia Weaver and Keri Feeney of Alicia Weaver Design in Fort Lauderdale. The owner of the 5,000-square-foot four-bedroom, five-bath Las Olas Isles home relocated from the Bahamas. She wanted a casually sophisticated interior for entertaining friends, hosting her 11-year-old daughter’s playmates and allowing their beloved Cockapoo to climb on the furniture. “She wanted things to be beautiful, but nothing stuffy,” Weaver says.
To accomplish this, the designers used outdoor fabrics for many of the furnishings. The home had a relatively dark décor, so they chose a color palette of sea foam, blues and greens, along with neutral creams and browns to lighten and brighten.
“She likes coastal colors,” Weaver says. So, they ripped out a dark brown border that circled the perimeter of the polished crema marfil floor. Surprisingly, they were able to match the other tiles and replace the dark border with the ivory of the rest of the floor. Then they added a textured, creamy rug with emerald and gold highlights for softness.
In the elongated entry, which feels more like a hallway than a traditional foyer, they kept the existing white crown molding and wainscoting, as well as the filigree wallpaper with a vertical pattern. “The ceiling isn’t that tall, and the pattern gives a feeling of height,” Feeney says. They placed a British West Indies-style bench topped with a cushion upholstered in the turquoise hue of ocean waves against one wall. A throw pillow with a lavender and green pattern adds a touch of whimsy, and above the bench, large portraits of the homeowner’s daughter and the family’s dog personalize the space. Standing opposite is a long, narrow black lacquered table topped with alabaster lamps. An open-sided chandelier with an iron framework and candelabra hangs from the center of the ceiling.
The designers turned one of two closets on one side of the hallway into a cozy, visually interesting nook. “We felt like having two closet doors there was repetitious, so we opened the space,” Feeney says. After cladding the wall with square white panels, they installed a loveseat with a mocha cushion and storage drawers underneath. An oval mirror framed in antique brass above is a dramatic focal point, while sconces and a bookshelf add warmth.
To brighten the nearby powder room, they installed striped wallcovering in tones of cream and Champagne, a vanity with polished nickel legs and a soapstone top. Elegant sconces illuminate the small space.
A dark charcoal wall unit with display shelves, storage cabinets and a large TV screen creates a focal point in the family room, which is just off the entry. A tone-on-tone cream-colored, geometric-patterned rug provides texture, while overhead, a clean-lined, stainless ceiling fan can help cool the room.
Gray tweed fabric that looks like linen but is actually designed for the outdoors covers a comfortable sofa, and a wing chair is upholstered in a cream and gray chenille animal print pattern. Two more chairs have ebony-colored wooden frames and cushions covered in brown and ivory striped fabric.
In the center of the seating group is a large tufted ottoman upholstered in ivory and black polka dot animal hide. “It’s somewhere everyone can put their feet up,” Feeney says. The homeowner wanted a desk, and since the space is deep but not wide, the designers placed a custom-made piece behind the sofa instead of against a wall.
Walls in the large living room area are a creamy neutral, while the ceiling tray is covered in a pearlescent wallpaper with a bluish cast. “The shine pulls the sea foam colors in the room together and creates an interesting focal point that’s elegant and feminine,” Weaver says.
A graceful gold chandelier with a palm leaf motif has a mirrored silver ball. The tone-on-tone ivory and cream rug bordered in shades of green is a mix of knot and flat weave. Oatmeal draperies with a leading edge embroidered with a bronze and gold palm leaf pattern can be drawn across glass doors that look out over the back patio and canal, and a large framed mirror on the opposite wall reflects the beautiful view.
Two chaises framed in honey-colored wood have gracefully curved backs covered in cream velvet with a whimsical gold-patterned animal print. The chairs are positioned so they can be turned to face either the glass doors or the cream-colored sofa, which has a border of sea foam green. Turquoise accent pillows add flair. Behind the sofa is a wood table with a pale sea foam finish and gold circle pattern, while side tables have painted faux silver leaves and antique mirrored tops. The coffee table is brass, acrylic and glass.
Two stools covered in turquoise vinyl embossed to look like ostrich skin stand next to a piano, which the owner brought from a former home. “She wanted people to be able to sit around it and listen,” Feeney says. A nearby inlaid lacquered accent table adds warmth to the space.
On the other end of the living room, just outside the dining room, is a dramatic, lima bean-shaped bar with clear acrylic and polished brass legs and an antique mirrored top. Four round stools have matching brass legs. “Because the dining room is small, she wanted a second place for people to sit,” Weaver says.
The designers laid medium-toned wood planks on the dining room floor, which they continued into the kitchen. To create the illusion of height, the oversized cove molding is painted to match sea foam green grass cloth wall covering. Floor-to-ceiling silk draperies are a similar tone, and large, gold-framed watercolors add an ephemeral touch.
The round, walnut crotch table has dark legs and a lighter polished top with a narrow ebony border around the perimeter. Chairs are upholstered in fabric with a pale turquoise background patterned with many of the other colors seen throughout the home. The ornate crystal chandelier, which was there when the owner moved in, is a stunner.
In the light, airy kitchen, white cabinetry had been recently redone, so the designers kept it. Because the owner likes to cook, they installed an oversized range and replaced the butcher-block top on the island with light colored granite. “It’s better for rolling out dough,” Weaver says. Suspended over the island are hand-blown glass pendant lights.
The breakfast nook features a round table with a walnut finish, along with chairs upholstered in a whimsical pink and ivory flowered print with a British West Indies look. A curved banquette fits into the bay window, which is framed in floor-to-ceiling draperies in a sea foam and ivory print.
An iron four-poster bed with an ivory leather headboard and a pale silver coverlet draws immediate attention in one of the guest bedrooms, and a dramatic starburst ceiling light offers illumination without intruding on the tall bed frame. A TV screen hangs above a long wood credenza with a reflective antique mirror inlay, while a lavender settee offers seating under the window. Bedside tables wrapped in raffia hold antique mirrored lamps.
In another guest bedroom, a silk rug in hues of sea foam, turquoise and silver adds softness to the driftwood-toned wood floor. The bed’s headboard is upholstered in grass cloth, and an ivory and turquoise coverlet recalls ocean waves. A valence over the bay window is covered in the same turquoise and ivory fabric as the seat under it.
In the homeowner’s daughter’s room, walls are a soft blue green, and black and white animal print wallpaper covers the ceiling. At the windows, creamy side panels flank pink sheers, and on the floor, an ivory and pink rug adds punches of color. The daybed is covered in a black and white print similar to the ceiling, but smaller in scale, piped in hot pink. The daughter’s treasured chair, which belonged to her father, has been reupholstered in iridescent ivory with nailhead accents.
The designers painted the home’s original yellow exterior a pale gray-green, installed new light fixtures and copper gutters, and to add a pop, painted the window trim a creamy white. To keep a view of the canal open while providing privacy from neighbors, they planted crepe myrtle trees.
The home originally had two pools, but the owner chose to fill in one of them to make more space for outdoor furnishings. The designers created a romantic garden area by using artificial turf and travertine pavers, and stringing lights among four gumbo-limbo trees they planted. Wicker chairs with black and white cushions surround a table topped with an oval cut from granite left over from the slab used for the kitchen island. “We wanted to create the feel of a French bistro,” Feeney says.
In an adjacent area, rounded benches with orange and cream cushions flank a circular fire pit, and khaki and cream lounge chairs accented with orange pillows offer places to stretch out and relax. A sitting area under the covered portion of the patio features loveseats and chairs with soft, thick gray cushions.
The home now is just what the owner wanted: a place where she and her daughter can enjoy each other and their friends. Nothing too fussy, just an understated elegance that is both beautiful and comfortable.