Designer Lisa Gilmore was first approached by her clients, a family of four from rural Pennsylvania, with the prompt that they wanted their new Gulf Coast condo to feel like a waterfront boutique hotel. The property, the family’s second home, is nestled in a great area on Tierra Verde (right on the Gulf of Mexico and about 25 minutes from downtown St. Petersburg). At the first design meeting, the client came equipped with an open mind and about four paint chips: black, white, blush and deep teal. Fortunately, she was already a huge fan of Lisa’s work, so things went swimmingly from there.
By relying on that poppy color palette, bringing in loads of pattern and texture, and adding a few gorgeous custom details — the designer achieved that hotel vibe and then some. Think cool, coastal, and original. (There’s not a single anchor or seashell in sight.) Check out our recent interview with the designer to learn more:
How did the location and the property itself impact your design plan?
It’s a new luxury condo community and their view is the open water, the historic Don Cesar (aka “The Pink Palace”) hotel, and its directly off a protected preserve, which is great—they will never have to worry about something being built up. It’s so quiet and serene. You can ride your bike to Ft. Desoto park have miles of white sand, and also lots of local restaurants and boutiques to enjoy. It truly provides such a lovely escape. Escape was the whole idea behind this design and the surroundings absolutely play into that.
The clients wanted it to feel like a chic, waterfront boutique hotel. What are some of the design elements you brought in to achieve this?
When I go to a hotel, I am attracted to the main common areas, the lobby, bar and dining, how the design can make you feel like you are transported into a vibe. I wanted to create a pulse in the home—one that was energetic, bold and artsy, but wasn’t overwhelming. To me the hand painted drapery fabric from Porter Teleo sets the tone. This place is luxurious, and the energy is good. When I selected the orangey pink fabric, I could just picture it framing the windows so beautifully with a warm watercolor-esque sunset. Mixing the drapery with high contrast black and white patterns could have made it a bit cold and stark, so we opted to soften it up with blush tones, watery blues and deep jewel teals. Lastly, we selected some really fun artwork that wasn’t too serious. A large popsicle in the bar area, paired with photography and a vintage style gal with a scuba gear headpiece on. I love to get playful with the art.
The rest of the space is filled with incredible wallpaper, lighting and textiles. It’s truly such a feast for your senses.
What are the elements of this home that you feel really “make” the space?
The layout is really great, I’m really proud of how we were able to capture every little spot and make it special and useable. It really feels like you are floating through a hotel lobby in a way, with all the fun little entertaining and living “pods” that flow so seamlessly together.
The materials and color selections are just fantastic. They create this energy that is bold and invigorating, yet interestingly calming all at the same time. The view is almost mesmerizing and really transports your spirit, so maybe that’s how the calmness is so present throughout.
I’m a complete wallpaper and drapery nerd, so this project really just lights my soul on fire, because we really got to flex those muscles. Additionally, the lighting, the banana leaf chandelier that I designed and fabricated will always be special to me, I honestly need to have one created for myself, but all the other lighting throughout is very noteworthy, too.
Finally, what do you love most about designing a second home, versus someone’s primary residence?
Every project is so different, local or afar, so they all come with different challenges and excitement. I loved doing this second home because it was a space that they truly wanted to have fun with it. While we had to be practical about finishes and fabrics for durability, we didn’t have to create homework stations or the little things that people need for everyday use or mix in a lot of personal items that you would want in a primary residence. We got to have more fun with the wow factor of it all.
See more of this unique home + snag Lisa’s design insights in the slideshow.