What do Ireland’s coast and Cape Cod have in common? Both come together, style-wise, in this Jacksonville, Florida second home, a charming family getaway for Gavan and Orla Duffy. When the couple saw this oceanfront lot for sale in Ponte Vedre Beach, Orla knew it was perfect. “We both grew up in Ireland and were surrounded by water,” she says. “Ever since we met 28 years ago, we’ve always wanted our own place on the beach.” The clapboard style of the house was inspired by a summer when they lived on the Cape in Martha’s Vineyard. As another homage to their shared memories, they named the house “Rosebank,” after Gavan’s grandparents’ home in Ireland with the same name.
With its gray shingles and white trim, this Florida beach house resembles coastal homes found on Martha’s Vineyard. “Blue is Orla’s favorite color, so we just had to go with a blue door,” says designer Carol Kirchner.
The view to the ocean was one of the most important design aspects to Orla and Gavan, so interior design decisions in the hallway reinforced that goal. Carol sourced custom chandeliers from the UK made from hand-poured, matte porcelain bells as an artistic lighting choice that are flush-mount to the ceiling. “When the breeze blows through the foyer you can hear the beautiful sound of chiming bells,” she says. Lucite and lacquered modern consoles add an unobtrusive presence to the hallway.
“I ran across a pair of old French doors that were fabulous, and I knew immediately we had to incorporate them into the design somewhere,” says Carol. “We decided to have them hung on a stainless sliding bar to frame out the living room.” This antique mantel originally was housed in the Yale library back in the 1900s.
A zinc-topped coffee table holds collectibles in the living room.
From the start, the Duffys planned for Rosebank to incorporate their cultural history. “We needed a home that would hold up to the lifestyle dictated by four children, a big golden retriever and lots of entertaining,” says Orla. “But I also wanted a mix of modern and European — something different and unique than you usually see on the beach. We’re Irish and have traveled all over the world, so we wanted to bring those touches into our home.”
The kitchen is a mix of modern and European, with blue glass-backed cabinets, stainless and quartz countertops.
White subway tiles run floor to ceiling as a modern touch, joined by another set of European doors adding aged charm as the entrance to the pantry.
“This room was designed around Orla’s antique table that we had stripped down to the natural wood,” says Carol. An open shelf buffet filled with Orla’s collection of white dishes sits behind the table. Multiple sizes of hanging glass pendants from BoBo Intriguing Objects line the table.
To merge antiques with day-to-day living, Orla turned to Jacksonville interior designer Carol Kirchner of Villa Decor & Design for help. Kirchner embraced Orla’s philosophies, sourcing additional items from Europe or salvaged materials to contribute more of an aged patina to the new beach house.
The master bedroom is filled with beautiful shades of gray.
The master sitting area overlooks the ocean with modern hanging globe pendants and French chairs recovered in a Weitzner fabric.
Daughter Rebecca’s bedroom is designed around her love for horses and includes an antique horse from Belgium that sits in front of her windows. The headboard is a Schumacher batik fabric that set the tone for the rest of the room.
The design for daughter Sarah’s room began with an upholstered headboard made from Duralee fabric with embroidered cabbage roses. The custom bed skirt and pillow for an antique bench at the foot of the bed are from Donghia.
The bathroom light fixtures were sourced through Solaria, and interestingly enough are made out of paperclips. The wallpaper is from Great Britain. Custom vanities were created from old chests.
Carol even made sure guests got a dose of Ireland when they first walk in the dining room. “I had ‘Slainte’ (the Gaelic word for ‘Cheers’) wrapped in zinc letters and attached to the top of the buffet,” she says. Orla approves of these sentimental gestures, saying, “That’s the way we like to welcome people into our home.”
The clever bunk room features shiplap with a painted wash, authentic port holes that open in between each of the bunks, and boat cleats for drawer handles. Each bunk has flexible lights that are adjustable for reading, as well as iPhone chargers. As another personal touch, ceilings of the bunks are wallpapered with maps of various places Orla and Gavan have traveled around the world.
The Duffy’s son George had two requests for the room: make it blue and incorporate an antique civil war gun that was given to him as a gift.
The backyard pool includes relaxing views of the ocean.
Thank you to the Duffys for allowing us to take a peek inside your beautiful Florida home. And thank you to Jessie Preza Photography for the beautiful photos of the Duffy home.
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