It started with a tray that belonged to homeowner Terry Teele’s late mother—a display piece that once sat on a credenza, rich with teal. The item—and its wowing hue—became the inspiration for Terry’s Gulfport waterfront home remodel. “There was something about that color,” says Terry, whose family consists of his partner, Josh, and their two young sons. “I used this piece as my palette, and I wanted to do something with kind of a coastal elegance but not the Florida traditional style.”
A complementary color palette
Terry enlisted interior designer Diana Holmes of Interior Design Consulting by Diana in St. Petersburg for the project, who was accustomed to this type of inspired beginning.
“This happens a lot. Sometimes it starts with a pillow or shower curtains,” Holmes says. “In this case, we used the shades of aqua and navy in the tray Terry had, and we took it from there.”
Holmes describes the revamped residence as a “classic waterfront home with a coastal vibe” but, just as Terry wished, it is far from typical.
“It has a transitional feel—elegant and coastal without being cheesy coastal,” Holmes says.
Getting there was quite an endeavor, which kicked off in the spring of 2015. Locating the ideal structure took time, and the one Terry ultimately chose consists of 4,000 square feet of space (not including the bonus area), four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and a pool. It was built in 1999 with lofty ceilings and multiple built-in cabinets.
“I almost didn’t buy the home because of the blend of orange and brown in all of the cabinetry. But Diana nudged me toward this off-white color and saved the cabinetry because she has tremendous resources,” says Terry, whose family spends summers in Chicago, but lives in the Gulfport home the rest of the year. “What I love about her is she really listens. And this became very much a collaboration.”
Accommodating all members of the family
The home’s prior owner did not have children, so they used the fourth bedroom as a den. Holmes immediately converted the space into a bedroom fit for little ones.
“It is magnificent for a child’s room. She really adapted the home to our needs. We’re not a family that likes to display all of the children’s toys; we like to keep them behind cupboards and in cabinets,” Terry says. “Diana helped us find spaces for everything that were also easily accessible to children. We even had custom cabinetry built that was child friendly. She found a place for everything.”
The couple gave their 5-year-old boy a choice of what motif he wanted in his bedroom and he told Holmes he loved outer space.
“She found an artist who gave him a room that met that theme,” Terry says. “It wows everyone who comes into his room.”
The kids’ room is not the only space that wows. In fact, Terry says he has received so much positive feedback on the home that he has been encouraged numerous times to sell it.
“A realtor friend of mine said to me, ‘My husband and I love your house. If you ever decide to sell, talk to me,’” Terry says. “We considered it and had a cash offer within 24 hours, but we ended up turning the offer down. I just couldn’t part with the house. When people say to you, ‘If you decide to sell, please let me know,’ I think that’s the greatest compliment you can get as a homeowner.”
Upgrading existing elements
Holmes agrees, and it is transformations like the Teele home that have made her 30-year interior design career so gratifying.
“Before we started, the house was very distressed. Everything was plum carpeting and there was nowhere to go but up,” Holmes says. “It’s beautiful now. That’s what I’m really good at—taking something and turning it into a gem.”
One of her budget-friendly fixes in the Teele home was the cabinet redo, which saved the family tens of thousands of dollars.
“We took Texas-orange cabinets and put a soft white paint on them with a chocolate glaze, which transformed the whole house. Because they were 100 percent real wood, we were able to paint the cabinets instead of replacing them,” Holmes says. “There were some existing beautiful chandeliers in the home (with that garish gold brass), so I had my painter change it to more of a German silver, so it was a little more coastal-looking. I’m good at saving money in certain areas and spending money where we need to.”
Holmes also regularly incorporated art into the décor. Terry Klaaren, a Tampa Bay-based artist who has done work for Busch Gardens, helped brighten up the home’s lower level (adorning three walls to make them look like a majestic underwater aquarium).
“I loved working on this house. It is almost hard to believe it is the same house,” Holmes says. “I feel so blessed to be able to do work like this. I love a great transformation.”
RESOURCES Interior designer Diana Holmes, Interior Design Consulting by Diana; Lighting Lamps Plus; Kitchen lighting Denley chandeliers, Ballard Designs; Painting Five Star Painting; Custom murals Terry Klaaren; Furniture and accessories Livingston Furniture; Flooring and kitchen backsplash ProSource; Window treatments Designs by Trish; Cabinetry J&B Fine Cabinetry; Appliances, sinks and faucets Ferguson; Front porch planters Val’s Home Décor
Article by Abby Weingarten/Photos by Joe Traina
Article originally appeared in Housetrends Tampa Bay – March/April 2020
To see another home with hints of color, search: Calm, cool and classic