FORM AND FUNCTION
A MAINLY WHITE PALETTE, EARTHY ARTISANAL ELEMENTS AND A DO-IT-YOURSELF APPROACH TURN A DATED FLORIDA HOME INTO A PEACEFUL RETREAT.
A mainly white palette, earthy artisanal elements and a do- it- yourself approach turn a dated Florida home into a peaceful retreat.
The minute you enter Shona and Shaun Carcary’s bungalow, you’re enveloped in white. In the dining room, an oversize chandelier from Blue Moon Trading Company was the first thing Shona chose. To complement it, designer Christy Mcgeachy found a chunky silver table base to lend drama. A mix of chairs feels cohesive
with the same natural fiber linen upholstery. One bright blue ceramic bowl makes for a singular
color statement on the table.
The teeny kitchen was in tough shape when the Carcarys bought the home. The couple remodeled the space, busting open a wall and trading closed-in cupboard space for open IKEA shelving. Shona didn’t want the room to be too uniform, so she and Shaun put in a tin ceiling, an homage to the age of the house, and had Blue Moon Trading Company make a custom island, built from old factory floors.
Nondescript light fixtures throughout the house were replaced with creative pieces that function as art—the funky living room “chandelier” was the inspiration for the rest of the arrangement. Metallic accents in the cowhide and pillows add a touch of glamour. The mantel was painted white, of course, and topped with an ample zinc mirror and meaningful items.
daughters in the United States, they decided on Tampa, Florida, “almost by closing our eyes and picking a place on the map,” Shona says. “We knew we wanted to be close to the ocean, which my husband and I both love and can’t live without.”
Eventually, the couple settled exactly where they wanted to be—in a 1,500-square-foot bungalow with great 1940s character but a dreadful pink-and-gold interior they had to look past. “We could see the potential—i’ve always been drawn to old homes with a story to tell,” Shona says. “We bought our house on a Friday, opened the door, and hit a wall down straightaway with a sledgehammer. The work hasn’t stopped since. We’ve saved thousands of dollars by doing everything ourselves.”
A once-dreadful closed-in kitchen was opened up, its cabinets replaced with open shelving, and a tin ceiling put up to lend character. The couple also laid new wood flooring on the entire second floor and remodeled the master bath, and Shaun singlehandedly built a generous deck on the house to create outdoor rooms for entertaining and dining alfresco.
Then there was paint—seemingly endless buckets of it. “After years of trying different colors, I knew I wanted white,” says Shona, who traded her former antique and Shabby Chic style for a clean slate this time around. She brought in her friend Christy Mcgeachy from Nest Designs to help her complete the rest of her vision for a neutral interior.
“It’s such a big transformation when you have a light palette, especially with a white floor as well,” says Christy, who helped Shona choose impactful textural furnishings and lighting. Much of the decor was sourced from the nearby Blue Moon Trading Company— Shona’s favorite store—which carries modern rustic statement pieces from artisans that shopowner Katie Gagnon finds in her travels. “We wanted to make the home casual but elegant, with lots of unique natural pieces in metals and woods,” Christy explains. “Anytime you have a white palette, you have to layer color and texture carefully so the whole room doesn’t look like a cloud.”
Christy teases that if she had left it up to Shona, “every single part of the house would have been white,” so she had to convince her to add vibrant colors here and there. They make an impact because there are so few—a painting in juicy hues made by Shona’s cousin stands out on one wall in the dining room; orange accent pillows add punch in the living room; and the green from the shrubbery outside looks more striking when seen through the bleached interior.
The calm environment provides a nice contrast to the bustling, energetic lifestyle the Carcarys lead from the minute they wake up. “This is our permanent forever home, and living here makes me feel like we’re always on vacation,” says Shona, adding, “but perhaps not to my husband, who is always being asked by me to do more work!”
Shaun built the deck himself, adding a few separate living areas, including this sheltered dining room, a lounge area with a bar and TV, and even an outdoor bath. Most meals are enjoyed at this long farm table set with metal chairs. This yearround connection with nature is one of the Carcarys’ favorite perks of living in Florida.
Shona loves numbers, so she tacked up a different found numeral on each stair.
ABOVE: Shona found a distressed shelf to hang above the stove, which adds a bit of old in with the new. Now, often-used essentials are within
easy reach. BELOW: The steel stove hood connects to the ornate tin ceiling, breaking up the white and imparting a touch of industrial style.
This central standout fixture is made from a tree root with old fencing wrapped around it.
ABOVE: Shona wanted her bathroom to be open to the master bedroom to conserve space. Shaun revamped the room, tiling an entire wall jade
green. A capiz-shell chandelier and a garden stool are the only accessories. BELOW: The original brown-and-pink bedroom had to go immediately. After painting the space white, an iron canopy bed was brought in and dressed in white linens. Light green accents offset the deeper bathroom hue, and a giant “X” and “O” are fitting romantic accents.