View from the Top

An ambitious renovation transforms a shell of a penthouse in Perdidio Key into a luxurious vacation home with panoramic views from the Gulf to the Bay.

Balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico with its snow-white beaches and crystal blue waters.
Take It All In
Overlooking the vast expanse of the Gulf of Mexico with its snow-white beaches and crystal blue waters, the condo’s numerous balconies are ideal for sunset cocktails, alfresco dining, intimate conversation, or meditation. From morning to evening—no matter the season—the view, the ocean, and the sky are ever-changing to create a continuum of awe-inspiring moments. Photography by JEAN ALLSOPP

With a perch on Perdido Key high above the Gulf of Mexico, this renovated condominium offers a bird’s-eye view of the wonders of nature. Sugar-white sand, sparkling emerald waters, and breathtaking sunsets are constant reminders of the joys of spending time along the beach.

Those vistas convinced an Alabama couple to purchase the condo and then informed the vision of interior designer Ashley Gallion of Ashley Ayer Interiors. “When the unit came onto the market, it had been gutted down to the structural walls and concrete floors,” Ashley says. “We were excited about the chance to start with a blank canvas.”

Designer Ashley Gallion in living room.
Fresh Start
The blank canvas of the 4,000-square-foot penthouse (originally built in 2000 but completely gutted) allowed designer Ashley Gallion to leave a deeper imprint than a conventional decorating project. After removing a wall, renovating the kitchen and baths, and appointing new fixtures and finishes, she painted the interior walls Simply White by Benjamin Moore to keep the focus on the views.

The interior space was sprawling. It begged for definition and a more intimate scale. “It’s a vacation home, so we wanted it to be open and casual, but the different areas still needed some distinguishing features and separation,” Ashley says. To accomplish that goal, the designer used furniture placement and focal points to create independent, yet harmonious, spaces in a sand-and-sea color palette.

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In the living area, two distinct seating areas break up the expansive room. A matching pair of facing sofas and two comfy swivel chairs are flanked by Gulf views on one end and a contemporary fireplace on the other. A secondary seating area, further defined by the white-washed wood ceiling, features more swivel chairs that can turn to look out to the south and west through arched windows taking in vistas of both the ocean and Perdido Bay. Both areas enjoy easy access to the corner bar—an addition that creatively transformed an awkward curved recess into a stunning and functional focal point. “The curved wall was structural,” Ashley says. “We used it to our benefit and designed the bar and serving area.” The custom-designed cabinet is painted a subtle shade of blue. Above, glass tiles arranged in a vertical pattern conform to the curve and shimmer in the light from the clear glass pendants.

Living room with win cellar.
A large sisal rug anchors the main seating area and lays the foundation for a lively mix of sophistication and comfort. Contemporary acrylic nesting tables pair with sleek stone tables and practical upholstered pieces.

“There is no better place than Perdido Key to take long walks on the beach at sunset and pick up sea shells. It’s therapeutic for me, and it will always be one of my favorite things to do!”
—Ashley Gallion

An interior accent wall separates the formal dining area from the kitchen while creating a much-needed anchor for a sideboard. A mirror above ensures no light or reflection of the view is lost.

The tour de force of the space is the jewel box of a wine cellar. Glass walls, seamless hinged doors, and polished metal shelves allow the wine collection to be front and center within a climate-controlled space. “It’s a prefabricated kit that we assembled on site and added the complementary wood trim to hide the cooling system on the top,” says Ashley. “While the standout feature of the home will always be the drop-dead views in every direction, this is a sculptural feature that transforms the inside.”

Essential to any beach retreat is a family-friendly kitchen. A generous island designed for a casual, coastal lifestyle takes center stage. Brass hardware and light fixtures, counter-to-ceiling textured glass tiles, refined molding, and an ornate range hood add touches of sophistication. Sliding doors offer access to a rear balcony and flood the marble pedestal table in the breakfast nook with natural light.
In the master suite, a soft sky-blue color scheme instills a decidedly coastal mood. The chairs and shared ottoman have deliberate low profiles so all eyes can stay focused on the view.

“Our overarching goals were to capture the sensibilities of summer days at the beach, as well as the owners’ love of entertaining,” Ashley says. Judging from the spacious, light-filled rooms, as well as the views of the waterfront setting, the goals were more than accomplished.

Ashley Ayer Interiors
Ashley Gallion creates beautiful spaces that foster camaraderie and a sense of home, whether for a place at the beach or a full-time residence. Her firm, Ashley Ayer Interiors, is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and includes a team focused on creating personalized, beautiful spaces designed to be both functional and valuable. The firm offers comprehensive decorating from the floor up. It also includes a showroom and shop space featuring furniture, lighting, pillows, art, and more.

Formerly Ashley Gallion Interiors
Montgomery, Alabama
334.356.0599 /
IG: ashleyayerinteriors

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