A Glimpse into Retreat Living
By Ainsley Rogers | Photography by Troy Ruprecht
Towering over Draper Lake, 230 West Bermuda Drive stands at the end of a cobblestone path. Inside, sunlight shines uninterrupted through large picture windows that welcome sweeping views of the crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and white sugar sand beaches winding along the shore. The peaceful, scenic atmosphere gives a dreamlike quality to the home. And that is partly the truth. Because for most, the 2011 Cultural Arts Association Designer Showhouse for the Arts is just that: a dream home. Now, VIE would like to offer its readers the exclusive opportunity to experience the 2011 Cultural Arts Association Designer Showhouse for the Arts between our pages well after its viewing has been closed.
Located in one of the area’s most private neighborhoods, The Retreat of Blue Mountain Beach, the show house boasts both luxury and exclusivity. The gated community shields its inhabitants from the hustle of 30A while offering breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. Designed by architect Dawn Thurber of Thurber Architecture and constructed by Onno Horn of Domicile Luxury Homes, the four-bedroom, three-story home “had all the elements to make a great show house,” as executive director for the Cultural Arts Association Jennifer Steele puts it. With surrounding views of the Gulf of Mexico and Draper Lake, multiple floors with an interesting layout, and a location in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in South Walton, it’s no surprise that the show house is currently listed for sale with Destin Real Estate Company for $5.5 million.
The house itself, home of Dr. & Mrs. Merrill N. Bradley, was impeccably decorated by some of the region’s most talented and renowned interior designers and design firms: Bohlert Massey; Design Services of Florida; Holly Shipman; Jennifer Hunter; Libby Baker; Lizzy Rose; Luanne Kelly; Musso Design Group; Pizitz Home and Cottage; Tamara Bickley; Tamera Massey and Todd Reeves; and Tracery Interiors. The designers were assigned their individual rooms to decorate six weeks before the opening and given five days to install their decor.
The home is beautifully decorated, fusing natural elements with unique details, and is a reflection of serenity done in light colors, a mix of modern and vintage decor, and with a minimalist approach. The view of the Gulf of Mexico, seen from all the rooms on the second and third floors, and the architecture itself were the most influential factors for the designers to consider when decorating the home.
Susan Byrd, designer of the dining room by Pizitz Home and Cottage, sought to impart a “timeless, refreshing, calm feeling” through her use of natural elements and soft colors. A teak table, white slipcovers on the chairs, and touches of blue and green reflected the views of the Gulf seen through the surrounding picture windows.
“The architecture of the house is amazing. I loved the wood floors mixed with the stone,” Byrd related. “The large windows draw your eye to the outside with all the amazing views of the Gulf. All these natural and beautiful elements in the home made me want to keep the dining room clean and simple.”
Similarly, Holly Shipman was inspired by the surrounding views in her design of the second-floor bedroom. “I didn’t want to detract from the beauty outside, so I used similar colors inside,” Shipman said. Shipman made sure the architecture of the house spoke for the room, adding French touches that subtly complemented the architectural aspects. The result was a room that exuded a serene, comfortable vintage feel.
“I loved the juxtaposition of the rough-hewn architectural finishes and the elegant curves of the French furniture,” Shipman stated. “That, added with the mix of original art, gave the room soul—as if someone used cherished pieces passed down from their grandparents to furnish their beach house.”
Paige Schnell of Tracery Interiors also sought to evoke a feeling of intimacy in the show house living room. Tracery Interiors specializes in the fusion of new and antique or vintage items in their design schemes; by pairing these with clean lines, Schnell accomplished a beautiful yet comfortable and balanced look for the living room, which is nestled next to the dining room for intimate occasions.
“We were inspired to create a room in which to gather,” Schnell said. “We created a space where you can have great conversations and a glass of wine after dinner.”
The result of the designers’ meticulous work was a chic, modern home that exuded a warm, comfortable, serene atmosphere for visitors. Visitors were overwhelmed upon entering the home. “They were impressed with the finishes and the designers’ attention to detail,” Steele explained. “They left the house excited and inspired, saying they could tour it two or three more times and still see something they had missed the first time.”
Steele estimated the home hosted nearly a thousand guests throughout the course of the six-week showcase, doubling the attendance of 2010. By the end of the showcase, the Showhouse for the Arts had raised $16,000 for the Cultural Arts Association’s mission to support the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs, and education.