The casual pleasures and ageless allure of the beach endure. Whether for a weekend or a lifetime, it’s impossible to resist the pull of the gracious homes and timeless architecture, as well as the easy-come, easy-go attitude of the stretch of the Florida Panhandle fondly known as Scenic 30A.
Although there are no set rules on how to decorate a house along the water, interior designer Paige Sumblin Schnell strives to find the perfect balance between casual and sophisticated, especially when outfitting a vacation rental in Alys Beach. There’s an underlying elegance and confidence in the architectural aspirations of every structure in 30A’s chic new urbanist town. The grandest civic structures, the private homes, and the smallest details are designed and executed with the same thought.
Eric Watson was of one of the original eight architects commissioned to explore ways to integrate courtyards as outdoor living spaces and design a collection of homes that would set the town’s aesthetic. For this three-bedroom home, Eric deviated from the classic Alys Beach plan of a central court. Instead, he carved out two symmetrical exterior spaces anchored by covered porches on either end.
Inside, the main living spaces boast a welcoming sense of openness, while tall windows and French doors embrace the connection to the outdoors. Bedrooms are spread out, with two guest suites located on opposite ends of the ground floor and a master suite on the second level.
A soothing palette of blues and neutrals informs the master suite. The upholstered headboard is a custom design available from Tracery Interiors. French doors open onto a private “Juliet” balcony that overlooks the rooftops of Alys Beach.
Ever mindful of the architecture, Paige applied her signature style throughout the house with durable furnishings, bold fabrics, rich textures, and art. Her exuberant color palette weaves a constant thread of corals and blues both inside and out.
The dining room, with its red-cedar timber vaulted ceiling rising to nearly 18 feet high, anchors the heart of the home. Bluestone flooring and white plaster walls further blur the lines between indoors and out. To soften the space and introduce color, Paige added tall curtains along both window walls. “The right draperies can actually frame windows to accentuate the views, ” she explains. Five simply detailed panels in a memorable shade of coral echo the colors of the courtyard furniture.
“Finding the right mix of fun and elegance is so important in a beach house, especially one that’s a rental, ” maintains Paige. “The question is how to make something beautiful without being too precious.” This colorful getaway along the Gulf strikes the perfect chord and promises to offer countless families a vacation to remember.
LEFT The dining room offers a gracious interchange between the kitchen and living areas. A contemporary farm table accommodates 10. RIGHT In the living room, Paige chose comfortable furnishings with linen and cotton fabrics in neutral tones. Art pieces, accessories, and pillows add accents of color. Window treatments in the living room and stairway echo the colors, but the fabric is animated with a vibrant pattern to set them apart.
Looking to Decorate a Rental with Style?
Check out these tips to get the most longevity out of your investment:
• Invest in Quality Furniture. Yes, it’s tempting to skimp in a second home. But remember, it will receive double the wear and tear. Invest in quality-built pieces that are both pretty and durable. Replacing inexpensive purchases every year will cost the same as if you had bought the good stuff in the first place.
• Outdoors, IN! It’s no secret that outdoor furniture can offer indoor style. Take these resilient pieces back inside for even more durability.
• Choose Easy-Clean Surfaces. We love rugs, but the antique Oushak may not be the best choice for the beach. Think natural fibers and quick-sweep floors.
• Don’t Get Too Personal. Keep the framed family photos and souvenirs at home—or in the owner’s closet. Remember, renters want to feel a bit of ownership—even if it’s just for a week.
• Do Add Flair. Boring rentals are a thing of the past. Leave behind the white walls, matching dining sets, and polyester bedspreads. Just because it is a rental doesn’t mean it can’t have pizzazz.
interior designer: Paige Schnell and Anna Kay Porch of Tracery Interiors Rosemary Beach, Florida and Birmingham • 850.231.8755 or 205.414.6026 • traceryinteriors.com architect: Eric Watson WaterSound Beach Florida • 850.213.0004 • ericwatson.com courtyard landscape design: Marianne Khoury-Vogt and Eric Vogt, Khoury & Vogt Architects Alys Beach, Florida • AlysBeach.com living room sofa and chairs: Lee Industries LeeIndustries.com paintings in living room and master bedroom: Tracery Interiors dining room: upholstered chairs: Lee Industries side benches: Custom design by Tracery vacation rental information for this home and other houses in Alys Beach: 850.213.5555 • AlysBeach.com
Text and styling by Lynn Nesmith • Photography by Jean Allsopp