This kitchen contains decorative touches, including imaginative paint colors, custom lighting and bar stools by Henredon. Photo by Scott Holstein.
A Talented Local Designer and an Imaginative Artist Create a Décor That Brings New York Style to the Emerald CoastBy Wendy O. Dixon
The drama of a room is what you see first or last,” says interior designer Jeanie Ilvento. And one Emerald Coast home is a feast of drama.
The home at One Water Place in Destin’s Kelly Plantation is a retreat for the owners, Gary and Betty Lazarini, who also reside in Memphis, Tenn.
As you enter the foyer from the private elevator of their glamorous home, you can’t help gasping a soft “wow.” The vestibule of warm chili pepper walls, along with the whimsical custom artwork and the brushed aluminum mirror, is inviting and energizing. Your eye is drawn up to discover brushed aluminum leaves that have been hand-cut and laid.
The creative team of Ilvento, president of Isle of Fantasia, and KK Blevins, designer and owner of Beach Funk Studio, created what the Lazarinis could only describe but had no idea how to achieve for their 3,200-square-foot condominium.
“We wanted to create a visual feast of unique styling and creative expression of art and color. This place is pure metropolitan glam,” Ilvento says. “We wanted to go over the top.”
Blevins is a wall sculptor and decorative faux finisher. Ilvento describes her as a talented artist with a whimsical eye, an innovative individual with a magical touch to transform the ordinary into the captivating.
Ilvento is a professional interior decorator and floral designer. According to Blevins, Ilvento is a resourceful planner and gifted organizer – a creative stylist with a full repertoire of decorating techniques, from the tried and true to ahead of the curve.
“This condo is a blast of exciting colors and creative and artistic touches,” Betty Lazarini says. “Thanks to Jeanie and KK and their individual talents, all this fell into place.”
The 602 square feet of wraparound deck provide a panoramic view of the manicured greens at the Kelly Plantation Golf Course, the bay and the Gulf. And the floor-to-ceiling windows maximize the natural light.
“What a blend of colors in the morning when the sun peeks on the crest of the bay waters and slowly rises into the sky,” Lazarini says. “There is a colorful palette of orange, gray, pink and blue, with powdery slashes of purple and peach. We thought the sunsets of the Gulf were great, but the sunrises have such a serenity or a softness that doesn’t seem to be in a hurry.”
Lazarini, like many women, loves her shoes. She thought they were too pretty to be tucked in her closet, so she put them on display. Her first novel, “A Promise Land of Plenty,” is displayed along with her red Gucci pumps, black patent leather ankle boots and festive evening sandals behind custom-made Lumicor panels in the hallway leading to the master suite.
While every room has a statement, the powder room is so much fun, guests might linger longer than expected. The room is a work of art in and of itself. The custom-made mirror and sink were meticulously crafted by the design team.
You might think, “Well, that looks beautiful, but how can I duplicate that look on my budget?”
Ilvento provides tips and tricks you can use to get the look for less.
“I can work with any budget, and even in this home you’ll see accessories from Target, JCPenney and Pier 1 Imports,” she says. “There’s no point in spending a ton of money for some things when you can save.”
For example, paint is the simplest and least expensive way to take your home from boring to brilliant. The kitchen walls in the Lazarini home can easily be duplicated with patience and a little daring. Ilvento used a jalapeño pepper color for the walls, then added whimsical details by adding simple circular shapes on the walls in coordinating colors. Perfect circles would be boring, she says, so she gave them personality by making them slightly rounder on top and narrower on the bottom. Each one is different, which keeps the eye traveling throughout the room to get the full effect.
The plaster effects on the walls and columns once took a lot of training to create because the materials – such as cement-based stucco and true Venetian plaster – were tricky to work with. Today, acrylic formulas of Venetian plaster are available and easy to apply. You can create anything from a sandy surface with brush or trowel marks to the polished look of Venetian plaster.
Whether you hire a professional decorator or do it yourself, these ideas can be duplicated in any home. See where your imagination will take you, and create your own version of Metropolitan Glam.