Today, we’re heading south to Rosemary Beach in Florida, where Memphis-based designer Lee Pruitt has transformed a beach condo. He has combined stunning, clean design components and a signature beach palette with the traditional charm of a gracious Southern interior. Enjoy the trip!
The style of this summer home is reflective of Rosemary Beach itself, which was founded on the principles of new urbanism and traditional neighborhood development. The original vision for Rosemary in 1995 was to build a classic beach neighborhood, and today, the 107-acre, gulf-front development is popular with vacationers who appreciate community, neighborhood and convenience.
Lee is a creative professional whose outgoing Southern charm is apparent in his personality and design work. He is known for sophisticated interiors mixed with unexpected elements, and his primary inspiration is always the homeowner. For example, in defining the interior of this summer retreat, he never veered from the client’s request for a light and airy mood.
Also, because this family asked for a quick turnaround, Lee put this six-month project into overdrive and, instead, completed it in four. From December 2013 to March 2014, the entire renovation included new paint colors, cabinets, tile, light fixtures, wall coverings and window treatments, furniture, decorative accessories, floors, interior doors and hardware … and all were in place in time for this Memphis family to enjoy summertime at the beach in a new vacation home.
Lee describes the original condition of this Florida condominium as a “sheetrock box painted in yellow.” Today, this beach retreat on Rosemary’s Barrett Square is far from its bland former state. Preceding every design decision, he took into consideration the relaxed beach setting, beginning with a palette of rich, natural colors to unite interior spaces with the outdoors.
While relaxed living was of utmost importance, Lee did not abandon his trademark use of picture-perfect, gracious elements. Forward-thinking ideas are plenty, but timeless elegance is predominant. There are pleasing vignettes throughout, but no dramatic trends are in play; instead, there is a smattering of tasteful whimsy in modern patterns, decorative accessories and contemporary furnishings.
Of course, the home’s functional character is on trend and streamlined, but aesthetically, the emphasis is on updated combinations of enduring elements. For example, the dining room table and chairs, tailored window treatments, handsome wood flooring and traditional white throughout are all safe, sophisticated choices. However, it is Lee’s staging technique that gives the final product its fresh appeal.
Bold rug patterns, a variety of statement light fixtures and symmetrical placement of large and small objects add energy and visual movement throughout the home’s sleek interior. Beach-inspired materials—jewel-toned glass, clear Lucite and shells—are used on lamps, decorative mirrors and walls to repeatedly connect with the outdoors in color and texture.
Unique wall coverings, many of which are textural, greatly influence the mood of this beachy setting. Venetian plaster walls, which are cool to the touch and slightly reflective, are dominant in the main living area. Adjacent to the dining room, two hallway walls are covered in shell-encrusted concrete tile, and another distinctive wall is in the master bath, where there is a covering of bleached pebbles. In the powder room, a mother-of-pearl wall covering is regal in appearance.
Because this family spends much of the summer season at the beach, a highly functional kitchen was an essential part of the renovation. The corner kitchen is masterfully blended into the main living area with cabinets painted to echo fine furniture. Marble countertops and a tile backsplash complement the traditional white of surrounding rooms. Covert storage of appliances and utensils maintains color and form in the room. While this open area provides bar seating and all amenities necessary for preparing the grandest of meals, it never sinks into a state of disarray with uninviting clutter due to careful planning.
This home is not only a beautiful showplace in the Rosemary Beach community, but also an ideal background for building memories with family each summer at the eastern end of scenic 30A.
Interior Design: Lee Pruitt
All furnishings: The Shop at Lee Pruitt Interior Design
Photography: Julie Wage Ross
Contractor: Carl Rudolf, Panama City, (850) 596-0024
Location: Rosemary Beach, FL