Country Sampler's Prairie Style - - Contents - WRIT­TEN BY Megan Ka­plan. PHO­TOGRAPHED BY Gri­d­ley + Graves.

A mainly white pal­ette, earthy ar­ti­sanal el­e­ments and a do- it- your­self ap­proach turn a dated Florida home into a peace­ful retreat.



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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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