Seek­ing Seren­ity

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Learn how to sim­plify your spa­ces by gath­er­ing ideas from a Florida res­i­dent who fa­vors ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments and a neu­tral pal­ette.

Sim­plify your spa­ces with in­spi­ra­tion from a Florida home­owner who uses ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments and a neu­tral pal­ette to achieve a pretty and pared-down coun­try look.

Pay­ing homage to the past of­ten evokes a warm and fuzzy nos­tal­gic feel­ing, but that’s not al­ways the case when it comes to dec­o­rat­ing trends. The brown pan­el­ing, pop­corn ceil­ings and other dated re­minders of decades past weren’t ex­actly what Shel­ley and Rex Price were drawn to when they pur­chased their 1,400-square-foot Win­ter Park, Florida, ranch in 1995. “It was true 1970s, with no real char­ac­ter other than the fire­place,” Shel­ley re­mem­bers.

How­ever, the one-time blog­ger and an­tiques dealer and cur­rent de­sign en­thu­si­ast knew she could help the dark in­te­ri­ors see the light—both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. “We set to work chang­ing the en­tire in­te­rior im­me­di­ately,” Shel­ley says, adding slate tile, hard­wood floors and crown and base mold­ing, re­plac­ing those bumpy ceil­ings, and gut­ting the once turquoise and har­vest gold bath­rooms.

About the same time, Shel­ley started blog­ging and, through pe­rus­ing some of the im­ages posted by other blog­gers, found she was drawn to a softer, mostly white pal­ette.“it was love at first sight,” she ad­mits. “Be­cause I was so im­mersed in over-the-top vi­gnettes for the shop, and later for our booth at Mar­burger Farm An­tiques Show in Round Top, Texas, the sooth­ing feel and look of an all-white in­te­rior was just what I needed to de­com­press at home.”

Her cur­rent job as cre­ative di­rec­tor and buyer for a group of three vin­tage home decor stores has ce­mented her love of the style, she says. “I’m constantly in­spired by all of my tal­ented friends. My style has evolved to this and it has stayed here.”

While she has stuck with a softer pal­ette, her home is any­thing but static. The back­drop may stay the same—white with a few pops of black, gray and brown—but fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories move of­ten. Play­ing oc­ca­sional games of “mu­si­cal chairs,” is, in fact, one of her top pieces of dec­o­rat­ing ad­vice. “I rarely leave things the same for long,” she points out. “My eye gets bored af­ter a while. If you move it, it’s like it’s new again.”

A pale pal­ette pro­vides the per­fect back­drop for her col­lec­tions of brown trans­fer­ware plat­ters, crazed iron­stone, clocks and vin­tage tex­tiles. “Seven­teen years as an an­tiques dealer has net­ted me some fab­u­lous pieces,” she says, con­fid­ing that she’s of­ten tempted to keep her best finds for her­self. From dis­play­ing a small clock in front of a crazed iron­stone plate on the liv­ing room book­shelf to her en­vi­able gar­den get­away (see “Shelve It” on page 38), Shel­ley’s styling skills, as well as Rex’s car­pen­try ex­per­tise, are on full dis­play through­out their cozy and charm­ing home. She ad­mits that she’s blessed with both a handy hus­band and a good eye.

One day, Shel­ley hopes to live in one of her area’s his­toric farm­houses—win­ter Park has a sur­pris­ing and en­vi­able sup­ply of 19th-cen­tury ar­chi­tec­ture—but she’s con­tent stay­ing put where she is for now. She’s busy with work and her fam­ily, which in­cludes two grown sons and four grand­chil­dren. Even if she does move, she is con­fi­dent that her dec­o­rat­ing style will re­main the same. “I oc­ca­sion­ally think about adding a lit­tle color,” she says, “but over­all, this style just feels like home.” Give even the small­est spa­ces big style, as Shel­ley did in her 12- by 8-foot gal­ley kitchen by re­mov­ing up­per cabi­net fronts for dis­tinc­tive dis­play op­tions as well as smart stor­age. Hide clean­ing sup­plies and other ne­ces­si­ties while soft­en­ing the sink area with a length of lace or fa­vorite piece of fab­ric. Shel­ley pulled the bot­tom sel­vage out of left­over linen to cre­ate a “fringy look.” Add a touch of sparkle to the workspace with new knobs and a vin­tage chan­de­lier.

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