Long-Distance Home, Local Interior Designer

A new kitchen island replaced the peninsula for better flow through. White cabinets, tile, and stone brighten the space while the dark grey cabinets provide contrast as well as ample storage.
Provided by Posh & Patina Interiors

Remodeling or decorating a second home doesn’t have to be stressful, and it can be done without you being present. The key is to choose a professional designer who understands your personality and goals, and who can also coordinate an on-site team to ensure your vision comes to life.

This historic Florida home needed furnishings throughout, as well as kitchen and bath renovations. The client hired a Florida company for the renovations and Wisconsin company Posh & Patina Interiors’ designer Carol Ferris to completely furnish the home; consult on the renovation design; and work directly with the builder for selections, such as tile, stone, paint, and fixtures. The entire process was completed in five months.

“I knew this particular client since I had worked with her on two previous projects,” says Carol. “She has a great eye for design and a wicked sense of humor. And I knew we were in for fun when she kicked off the design by selecting a large original painting, Pas de Deux , featuring two large ostriches! It was a unique way to inspire the project, and we placed the ostriches inside the front door to greet people.”

The most crucial part of a long-distance project is the preplanning. A successful redesign requires an on-site visit from the designer to take accurate measurements, thorough photos, and to experience the overall visual layout and flow. “The data I collected on the initial visit became my planning foundation and reference guide when selecting furniture. It’s crucial to ensure the pieces not only fit in the rooms, but also through doorways and around corners,” says Carol.

As a second home for an active family, practicality was important. The original flooring was a rare heart of pine wood that the client wanted throughout the entire house. Carol suggested choosing a vintage-patterned porcelain tile for the backdoor area leading to the pool since wet feet would be a reality. The texture and visual contrast the tile added in the small, heavily used space was an added benefit.

“We wanted the interior design of the house to be a nod to the beach without being too literal or cliché. Wicker, natural weathered woods, furniture slipcovers, and an overall color scheme incorporating textured neutrals with splashes of blues and greens accomplished this goal.

“Another one of my favorite updates is with lighting fixtures, which can easily make or break a room. We added new lighting in every room, which further defined the style direction. Coordinating the installation timing was important since they needed to be installed before the furniture and accessories arrived.”

The kitchen renovation was the most dramatic transformation. “I believe kitchen designs should be approached the same way as living rooms since everyone always ends up in the kitchen—furniture, surfaces, and lighting should not only be functional, but also beautiful. One of my favorite design changes made in the kitchen was removing the upper cabinets from the window/sink wall. By continuing the white subway tile to the ceiling and adding two elegant sconces, the wall became a beautiful focal point and brightened the room. Rattan bistro counter stools and natural jute pendants brought in some warmth, while brushed gold hardware added a bit of jewelry to the room.”

Another simple change that had a huge impact was the renovation of the master bathroom vanity. Carol had two large statement mirrors and three wall sconces installed over the sinks. New cabinets, counter surfaces, and hardware complemented the existing color scheme and modernized the overall feel of the room.

Often, in second homes located in areas where outdoor living is the norm, the interior design will continue out to porches and pool areas. Outdoor furniture can be exposed to the elements year-round, so weatherproof, yet comfortable, lounges, tables, and chairs were sourced for the pool area. For front-porch curb appeal, a new door in deep marine blue plus two vintage French grape hods used as planters created a welcoming front entrance.

Good interior design and project coordination is in the details. The timing of orders and deliveries is crucial to stay on deadline. “Working on long-distance interior design projects isn’t that different than my local Wisconsin projects. I hired a professional transfer and storage company to receive, store, and deliver all merchandise. This way, every piece could be delivered on move-in day. Also, having a handyman on site for small jobs ensured that the smaller details were attended to,” says Carol. With meticulous planning and coordination, seamlessly renovating and decorating an additional home, whether it’s at the beach, in the mountains, or just down the street, is possible.

Photographs provided by Posh & Patina Interiors.

Posh & Patina Interiors