The View From The Veranda

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The house had to be completely ready in record time. Here’s how it was done.

How a beach house was transformed in just two months.

A View from the veranda

The house had to be completely ready in record time. Here’s how it was done.

designing to a deadline by Ann taylor Photography by Gridley + Graves


anted: House on the east coast of Florida with ocean view, large enough to accommodate an extended family. That was just what a couple from Wisconsin had their hearts set on, yet what they thought would be easy to find, wasn’t. “It took us three years before we finally found this place,” says the husband. “We started looking at homes all the way from St. Augustine down to Vero Beach, where our family had vacationed at the Disney Resort so we were familiar with the area. One of the criteria was that there had to be five bedrooms.” “Our family is very close and we tend to travel in a pack because we have such a good time together and needed the space,” his wife adds. “We loved this house even though it was a little more formal than we originally had in mind. During our search the realtor we worked with showed us a place that wasn’t for us although I loved the way it was decorated. The furniture, the colors, the accessories were just stunning – it was exactly the look I wanted.” She made sure she obtained the name of the interior designer, Page Franzel, owner of Page 2 Designs. And once the couple purchased the three-story, Tuscan-style beachside residence with pool and tennis court they wasted no time in contacting her. “When we came down last October we met with Page for the first time,” they recall. “We told her all about our family, what kind of things we liked, and we felt she understood exactly what we were looking for. “For example, she knew we wanted to have the soft shades of the ocean blend throughout the house with accessories adding pops of color. We only had two meetings with her and she really understood the look REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION ©VERO BEACH MAGAZINE


Selected pieces from the family’s treasured hand-painted antique seashell plate collection, some dating back to the early 20th century, are showcased in custom-designed floor-to-ceiling cabinets that were finished to compliment the plates’ patina. Drawers below provide storage for the remainder of the collection.



With up to 16 family members converging at the same time, Page and her design team created a number of places where they could come together. At the west end of the living room an intimate conversation and reading space offers quiet time for those who seek it.

Nothing says welcome better than a custom wingback settee in a cheerful marigold linen fabric. The seat and inside back are box-stitched to create a light tufting effect, and a brass nail-head trim adds the finishing touch. Nearby, a gold side table with antique mirror top partners with a lamp base made of mother-of-pearl. “It’s amazing what you can find when you spend time,” says Page. “Resourcing is an important part of what we do.”

and feeling we were after. She picked up on so many little things, like our collection of antique trucks – she found a miniature Woodie which is a fun vehicle and put it on a shelf in the office. She also asked us to send her some of our favorite family photographs, then had them framed and placed on tables and shelves throughout the house when we got here.” Page is quick to point out it was a team effort that transformed the oceanfront residence. Previous heavy interior elements including dark wood trim, oversize furniture and ornate accessories were replaced with white moldings and sea-inspired custom fabrics, furnishings, window treatments and accessories. “We spend time listening to our clients, then all of us – Cassidy, Alison and Shannon – sit down and discuss what we’ve heard and take it from there.”

The couple signed a contract with Page on Oct. 31, 2011. However, there was a catch: “We told her right at the beginning that we had a deadline. We wanted to have everything ready in time for a birthday party for my mom who was turning 80 on January 7,” the wife explains. “We knew it was a lot to ask but when we asked her if it was possible she said ‘We’ll make it possible.’ And she did. We had 16 people here for the celebration and everything was perfect. My mom loved it.” The opportunity to complete a turnkey renovation for the new owners to share with their family in such a short period of time – especially over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays when many vendors close up shop – was a challenge that energized Page and her design team members.



“Our goal was to meet the deadline. All of our suppliers, fabricators and movers did a magnificent job in making everything come together. We were also able to find electricians, painters, carpenters, plumbers, a security company, audio-visual firm and landscapers who were able to help us pull the house together in record time,” Page says.




t wasn’t easy, of course. All of the marble floors needed to be refinished and the front doors, which had been painted yellow, were stripped and stained to restore the original mahogany. The team oversaw the audio-visual installation of the Crestron automation system, making sure that all of the keypads were properly located and flat-screen TVs were precisely placed throughout the house. They custom-designed the 120- inch TV unit in the media room to hide the speakers, woofer and equipment while still providing storage in the base unit for children’s toys. They even went so far as to enhance the brick driveway leading up to the porte-cochère with chunky clay pots bursting with deep pink geraniums encircled by petite white flowers. Tall twin ceramic containers brimming with colorful blossoms flank the double door entrance, serving as a cheerful welcome committee. “When the family arrived everything was completely ready,” Page says. “The beds were all made with custom-designed linens, towels were hung in the proper places and every shelf was set with an array of the books, orchids, shells and personal items they had sent us. We also supplied all of the dishes, glasses, cookware, utensils and small appliances as well as the outdoor furniture.” To say the Wisconsin couple were delighted with the results and attention to detail is an understatement. “Everything was perfect, just what we had hoped it would be,” enthuses the wife whose collection of hand-painted antique seashell plates is showcased in twin units in the dining room. Knowing how much the collection meant to her, Page designed the units, antiqued to coordinate with the vintage of the plates, with display shelves above and drawers below for storage. “Most of the plates were painted in the early 1900s and they bear the name of the person who painted them,” explains the wife. “I’ve been collecting them for years, finding one here and another there in antique malls and estate sales. eBay has also been a great source.”

In the master bedroom the white-washed, four-poster king-size bed has met its match in the twin nightstands. Page and her team also customdesigned the cabinet at the foot of the bed that houses a pop-up flat-screen TV. The eye-catching sunburst mirror above the bed is the pièce de résistance.




he idea of being able to afford such soughtafter treasures, let alone own a vacation home in Florida overlooking the Atlantic, never entered their minds when the couple married 38 years ago. He and two friends had formed a construction company and money was tight. “He asked me to come in and do a little temporary typing and accounting for them and I’m still there,” says the wife. “We started on a shoestring and now we’re a national firm working in 50 states and Canada with up to 260 employees.” It’s a good thing that in his line of work, the husband, the firm’s CEO, is familiar with unexpected bumps along the way. “After we bought the house we found out that the tile roof was ‘problematic,’” he says. “There had been a couple of no-name storms that had come through and there was water damage that wasn’t caught during the home inspection. We actually had to remove the ornamental chimneys because of the leaks.” In this case he knew Page and her team would take care of the necessary repair work, just as he and his wife felt confident they would make sure everything on their wish list would be in place for the birthday celebration. What neither anticipated were the personalized design details that delighted everyone.




ince the couple moved in in January they and their pack of family members have managed to steal away from work demands and winter weather several times. Visits are planned around work schedules, and the husband notes that with today’s technology they can easily keep on top of what’s happening at the home office, allowing time to enjoy kayaking, swimming or snorkeling, or simply relaxing with a book in the gazebo. Thanks to the design team the former dark woodframe structure was painted white, the ceiling a soothing sky blue; in addition the floor was refinished and lighting, speakers and a fan were installed. “The gazebo is a wonderful place where everyone seems to gather. In fact when our nephew was here in January he slept out there and loved it,” says the husband. While the gazebo may be a popular place for the family to hang out, when it comes to the house itself, the third-floor children’s room overlooking the ocean is a visual favorite. It’s no wonder, since there’s a sense of playful joy that no age can resist. This is where Alexandra and Addison, their grandchildren and grand-nephew Henry sleep, snuggled under custom-designed pastel coverlets.

Of all the rooms in the house, the children’s bedroom is a hands-down favorite. The three youngsters’ love affair with the Disney movie “Finding Nemo” was the inspiration for an underwater theme that features three trundle beds, custom easy-care bedding, headboards carved in the shape of a whale for Henry, and seahorses for Alexandra and Addison.



The three youngsters’ love affair with the Disney movie Finding Nemo was the inspiration for the underwater theme that features three trundle beds, custom easy-care bedding and headboards carved in the shape of a whale for Henry and seahorses for Alexandra and Addison. If needed, the beds can easily be converted from trundle to king size. By one of the windows, bookshelves are filled with fanciful tales of pirates and princesses, frogs and faraway lands. Nearby, a custom-designed round table with stools provides the perfect place for the children to play games, draw pictures or read. In the bathroom, towels are personalized with each child’s name spelled in colorful letters. The new owners are also partial to the master bedroom where a four-poster king-size bed in a whitewash finish takes center stage. Page had the two nightstands, as well as a custom pop-up television cabinet at the foot of the bed, painted to match. Above the bed a white hand-carved wood mirror that resembles the sun prompts a “wow!” On the other side of the room, Page designed a custom unit that features family photos, books and shells. Nearby is a chaise longue the children fondly call “the Cinderella chair.” It’s not unusual to see one of them there, curled up with a favorite book.




he husband’s favorite place is the family room, where in the early morning he opens the floor-to-ceiling glass doors and, with coffee cup in hand, savors the view along with the sounds of surf and smell of ocean breezes while contemplating the day ahead. “We’ve rented a boat; we do a lot of boating when we’re all at our summer home in northern Wisconsin,” he says. “We also do a lot of swimming and snorkeling and we’ll be spending time here in June so that the children can see the turtle nests.” “We love this house and there’s more we want to have Page do for us, especially where the kitchen is concerned,” the wife adds. “The dark wood cabinets need to be painted white, plus which we’re all cooks and the kitchen’s really not set up for people who enjoy cooking.” “Even though it took us a long time, it was worth it as we feel very fortunate to have found this place,” they both say. “Page and her team did a wonderful turnaround – their ability to get everything done in a two-month period of time, especially during the holidays, was truly amazing.” `

The family room is where the husband can be found early in the morning as he opens the doors to take in the view and savor the sound and smell of the ocean while sipping his first cup of coffee. The colors of sand and surf provided the palette for designer Page Franzel, who chose easy-care durable fabrics for upholstered pieces – beautiful yet practical and perfect for all ages, especially little ones with sticky fingers.



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