Switching Gears

Couple’s family home grows up

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have that one room in the house that gets a little disorganized. It’s the rarely used spare bedroom, office or den, where all the extra “stuff” is deposited and left with the promise that it will be taken care of later. When company arrives, expected or unexpected, the door is promptly shut and the mess miraculously disappears. F The homeowners of this Tarpon Springs home used to have their own version of the catchall room. It was this room where gifts were wrapped, school projects were completed and hobbies were started. Life was busy and the family was thankful to have a designated area to handle all the activities. A few years ago, when the kids grew up and moved out on their own, the couple decided it was time to make a change. “My husband had his own man cave in another part of the house. But over the years, he’s collected more toys so I agreed to turn the room into his new man cave,” the wife says with a laugh.

Go Gators!

The room that once housed the children’s craft room is now home to a larger, masculine, yet inviting, space where the couple can watch a movie on the 80-inch television or the husband can enjoy a cigar. The décor was very important to both husband and wife. They enlisted the help of Nancy Osborne, a designer with Annabelle’s Fine Home Furnishings, to bring the room to life. “We’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Europe,” the homeowner says. “We rented a villa outside of Florence, in a little town called Reggello and we fell in love with the old-world and French-inspired design.”

To achieve a look that also complements the Colonial French home, Osborne suggested adding the dark brown beams to the renovated room’s vaulted ceiling and warm tumbled travertine to the floors. “We used the travertine throughout the entire first floor of the home, it creates a sophisticated, rich look,” she adds.

Another challenge Osborne faced was to somehow incorporate the couple’s love for the Florida Gators into the design. “We both attended the University of Florida,” the wife says. “We didn’t want to decorate in orange and blue, but we wanted to show our team spirit.”

In honor of the Gators, Osborne covered the walls in handmade Vahallan wallpaper embossed with an alligator hide design. To complement the unique walls and tie the entire space together, Osborne added the Harden desk with alligator leather insets and the Leathercraft theater chairs, which feature the manufacturer’s Crocodile Marrone leather.

The rich décor masks a very important element in the room—technology. The homeowners can operate everything from the television to the lighting with an iPad. “It’s amazing,” the homeowner says. “It has a daytime and evening program and it is so easy to operate.”

During the day the lights are adjusted accordingly and the television automatically turns on to MSNBC. Once the sun goes down, the lighting brightens and the husband can enjoy a game on ESPN.

Great outdoors

The iPad also controls the couple’s new outdoor living space, located just beyond the man cave’s beautiful arched door. “We weren’t outdoor people, essentially because our back yard was not inviting or accommodating,” the homeowner says.

That has all changed thanks to an astounding transformation. The existing pool and spa were refurbished, along with an old, outdated fireplace. Osborne suggested carrying the same travertine found inside, outside. A gazebo now houses an outdoor living room, accentuated with glazed stucco walls and comfortable Woodard Landgrave furniture.

Finished in late 2010, the back yard was a popular spot this past summer. The homeowners have hosted several small and large gatherings, including a 20th birthday party for their daughter. They rented a giant movie screen, which could be viewed from both sides. “It took me back to the days when drive-ins were popular,” the wife says. “It was a great idea. Everyone lounged in the pool and around the table and enjoyed watching movies.”

The couple now spends a lot more time outdoors and especially enjoys cooking in their new kitchen. The Alfresco grill, refrigerator, icemaker and sink make cooking dinner a breeze. But it is the Big Green Egg that has captivated the husband’s attention. “He was never really interested in grilling, now he’s ordering cookbooks and bringing home different kinds of meat to grill or smoke,” says the wife with a laugh, who adds that the Big Green Egg also acts as a pizza oven.

Even though their children are on their own, the renovation has brought the family closer together. “We now have a wonderful place to get together, rain or shine,” the homeowner says. “Sometimes I find it hard to believe this is our home. It feels as if we’re in a completely different place, but it is still familiar and it feels like home.”


Designer: Nancy Osborne, Annabelle’s Fine Home Furnishings; Contractor: Ugur Soylu, ITU Builders; Pool and spa renovation: Gulfstream Pools and Spas, Inc.; Audio/video: Home Technologies; Electrical: Tampa Bay Premium Electric; Painting: Rainbow Painting; Furniture and accessories: Leathercraft; Old Biscayne Designs; Harden; Maitland-Smith; Woodward Landgrave, Annabelle’s Fine Home Furnishings; Outdoor kitchen appliances: Outdoor Kitchen Store; Outdoor kitchen installation: Outdoor Kitchen Magician; Greenery: Classic Florals

To see this article as it appeared in the magazine, please visit our Digital Edition, pages 38-44.


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