Shape Up for Summer

As winter draws to a close and temperatures start to rise, it’s only natural to think about spring break. For lots of folks, the destination of choice is the stretch of white sandy beaches along the Florida Gulf Coast. 

When Gadsden residents Julie and David Chadwick head south to their Sandestin home, their warm weather getaways and holidays often turn into festive gatherings of friends and extended family. “The best part of having a place at the beach is being able to share it with others, ” Julie believes. “And it’s important that everyone feels welcome and comfortable.” 

That said, Julie still wanted her home away from home to be a little more elegant than the typical beachy-beach house. To strike the perfect balance, the Chadwicks turned to Birmingham designer Libby Greene, who had worked with them on several decorating projects in the past. “They’ve been great clients for more than 10 years, ” explains Libby. “Over time, you really get to know what a family wants and needs.” 

The Mediterranean-style home had generous rooms and an inviting flow, but it was in need of a fresher, lighter look. The couple brought Libby down to the beach to do her magic. 

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Since the home did not need architectural changes, the designer placed her focus on the fabrics, furnishings, and the overall feel of the interiors. Her first order of business was to make the living room a space suited for real-life activities. She replaced the heavy upholstered pieces with a welcoming arrangement of paired slipcovered swivel chairs and a plush sofa. “Knowing everything can be removed and laundered immediately puts your guests at ease, ” explains Libby. A custom coffee table is large enough to hold appetizer trays during impromptu parties.

Libby chose to simply give a nod to nautical themes and the coastal setting rather than jump in full force. In the foyer, four large fan coral prints in soothing shades of blue anchor the stairway, a large clam rests on the entry table, and a trio of paintings of Western Lake by local artist Allison Wickey trail down the side hallway. In the living room, antique shell prints and crusted vintage sunbursts create a focal point along one wall. And in the wood-paneled den off the kitchen, Libby clustered antique fish prints. 

The original house had a number of good-sized bedrooms, so Libby set about making each one comfortable and calming. She chose a soothing color palette of blues and grays for the master suite and paired a few selected antiques with newer pieces. Guest bedrooms accommodate a corner sitting area with a comfortable chair to offer visitors their own private retreat. “The renovation turned out better than we could have imagined, ” says Julie. “We didn’t need to add space, we just needed to redecorate. Now we use all the rooms and more like a beach house throughout.”  


ABOVE LEFT The open stairway carries the neutral tones and subtle blue accents upstairs for a cohesive look. 

ABOVE RIGHT In the foyer, an antique mirror and white chest offer the first glimpse of the home’s new lighter tone. 

ABOVE Soft neutral tones and textured fabrics lighten the mood in the wood-paneled family room. 


ABOVE LEFT A pedestal-style breakfast table anchors a sunny corner of the kitchen. To keep the home from looking overtly beachy, Libby maintained a level of elegance in the interiors. Subtle beach accents, such as the oversize shell centerpiece, give a hint to the coastal locale.

ABOVE RIGHT In the foyer, an antique mirror and white chest offer the first glimpse of the home’s new lighter tone. 

ABOVE The master bedroom offers a study in balance. Casual tones of blue and gray nicely complement more sophisticated elements such as the beaded chandelier. 

Interior designer: Libby Greene, Libby Greene Interiors  [email protected],  205.807.2192; Living Room: upholstered pieces: Lee industries,; coffee table: custom design, antique prints and framing: Arceneaux Art Gallery,  arceneauxgallery.comantique art above fireplace: Allison Wicky, • Seacrest Beach, Florida. Den: sofa and chairs: Lee industries, fabrics on chairs: Cowtan & Tout,; ottoman: Libby Greene Interiors. Master Bedroom: bed: custom headboard linens: Libby Greene Interiors, lamps: custom handmade pottery lamps. Foyer: mirror: Antique Trumeau–one of a kind, lamp: Hiltz Lauber Furnishings,  hiltzlauber.comrug: Paige Albright Orientals, Hallway: rug: Paige Albright Orientals, bench: Antique Swedish Settee, art grouping: Arceneaux Art Gallery

text and styling by lynn nesmith • photos by jean allsopp

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