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.