“I love bold color!” There may not be a more hypnotizing siren song for an interior designer to hear. Those were the exact words the owners of this Orange Beach condo said when they approached Ashley Gilbreath. “We usually don’t get that opportunity,” the designer says. “The owners are drawn to texture, pattern, and color. But since we were working with a very small space, we had to keep in mind that too much of a good thing can be too much.” To avoid going overboard, Ashley stuck to a limited palette inspired by the view. “You are there for the beach and the water, so we played off that palette,” she says.
Because of the nature of a high-rise condo—a concrete box that can’t expand up, down, or sideways—adding square footage to the vacation home wasn’t an option. And completely reconfiguring the floorplan wasn’t a good use of budget and time. However, Ashley did reimagine the ways an abundance of storage space was allocated (who needs a giant walk-in closet at a vacation home?), and she squared up some of the walls that were at strange angles for no apparent reason—à la 1980s architecture. Her creativity made space for a bank of cabinets and bar near the kitchen and a much larger island, as well as built-in bunks in the guest bedroom. “We were very intentional with planning every single inch,” she says. “The original, bland, builder-box condo has come a really long way!”
Inside & Out
The beach isn’t just about the view, as evidenced by the strong design statements that make a splash in this small, two-bedroom Orange Beach condo. Designer Ashley Gilbreath set the mood with a bold, graphic wallpaper (Jim Thompson) in the entry and carried it through to the living area. A vibrant, maritime painting welcomes guests and lets them know that they have arrived—even before they see the gulf. The balcony and its panoramic postcard vistas are shared by the main bedroom and living area. Here, Ashley created alfresco lounging and dining spaces with Summer Classics furnishings, Sunbrella upholstery, and Perennials accent fabrics that echo the interior palette.
Make it Personal
Individual expression is key to creating a home that reflects its owners. This homeowner brought her own personal style to the project with Mackenzie Childs chairs and the show-stopping Abe Lincoln piece by artist Ashley Longshore. “They each have so much personality and are perfect here,” Ashley Gilbreath says.
Blues, in varying shades and intensities, pop about from room to room connecting spaces through paint colors, fabrics, wallcoverings, and accessories. A bold blue (Commodore, SW-6524, by Sherwin-Williams) anchors the kitchen island and nearby bar. A banquette sports aqua ticking. A pale, watery blue linen dresses the sofa. Turquoise blue glassware awaits cocktail hour. Accent colors—lime green, cherry red, hot pink, and lemon yellow—scream summer, sunshine, and fun.
Is there any color happier than sunshine yellow? Ashley piled on the cheerful hue in bedrooms and baths. In the bedrooms, yellow is used as an accent through pillows, draperies, and upholstery. The suite’s bathroom vanity (Yellow Bird, SW-9022 by Sherwin-Williams), she says, “seals the deal.”
There’s nothing better than settling into a comfy bedroom after a day at the beach, so Ashley created stylish spots for owners and guests alike. The main bedroom’s custom headboard (above) is “covered in good, inexpensive linen,” Ashley says. “It’s an everyday material in an impactful color, but the application is what makes it extra fun.”
Interior Design: Ashley Gilbreath, ashleygilbreath.com Contractor: Philip Harris, Phil Harris Construction, harrisconstruction.net