Nothing quite prepares visitors for the seemingly effortless symmetry of classical lines and casual surroundings that inhabits this Seven Mile Beach home.
The sun-dappled corner condo is an island hideaway for an Oklahoma couple who wanted a relaxing haven close to the United States.
“We love nature, vivid colours and the outdoors,” the Rooneys explain.
This passion finds expression in their 3,300 sq ft beachfront condo: in the use of light, their experimentation with colour and their preference for simplicity.
“The colours that we used are very Caribbean, bright and happy,” the owners say, explaining the use of lavender as a motif throughout the home. “Window coverings were kept to a minimum to help achieve this look. The floors reflect the sand beaches.”
When the owners bought the condo in 2008, its careworn condition meant they made some significant changes to the split-level home.
Despite the scale of the renovations, the couple took a personal involvement in every aspect of the redesign.
“My husband likes to decorate and shop. So he was very happy seeing all of this come together,” Gail confides. And come together it did under the direction of Kelly Rooney of Kelly Rooney & Associates.
“I designed the three bathrooms and tiled a condo for [them] two years ago, which started a professional relationship that has transitioned into a friendship and a real understanding of the couples’ preferences,” Kelly says.
Undeniably opulent, the foyer’s dome gives the first real hint of the treasures that lie beyond. Lined with hand-painted silver leaf, it lends an almost Byzantine charm to the semi-room, which is tiled in sea grass limestone. Its faux ebony-finished chest of drawers with mirror inset, and gold-plated tiles heightens the sense of drama.
“There were four columns [originally] but we took them out to get an unobstructed view of the beach,” the owners explain. “To add interest we wanted to add a mosaic … Kelly knew an artist [Paula Ross from State of the Art], who we commissioned and who did a superb glass mosaic [medallion] following a design of Kelly’s.”
Two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms lead off from the foyer. The Coral Room is sumptuously furnished in classic French furniture and a harmonious blend of Art Deco cabinetry, including a stunning Belvedere chest. The Blue Room is a bright and harmonious blend of violets, blues and indigos. Its heavy taffeta curtains are just one of the many luxury features in this restful space.
The detail-oriented couple wanted their condo to be high on style, yet comfortable. With different floor and ceiling heights, the condo also has plenty of architectural interest. The Great Room’s vaulted ceilings and arched windows add to its allure.
And when it comes to natural beauty, the view from the Great Room is hard to beat with no less than nine picture windows. These manmade canvasses frame the landscape and capture the rising and setting of the sun.
Two large abstract paintings dominate the family area, sharing the space with handpicked furniture. Low-rise suede and faux crocodile leather couches, a ridgeback salon chair and coffee table from Neiman Marcus’s Bill Sofield Collection vie for attention with a marvellous Venetian silver leaf-finish Mirabeau centre table with antique mirror panels from Texan designer Neal Stewart. No detail has been overlooked, and even the Great Room’s oversized area rugs are fashion forward.
“My husband’s favourite room is the living area,” says Gail. “He likes the different seating areas and his bar… My favourite is the master bedroom. It is a great getaway where I can read, work or nap. If the weather is hot I can lie on the chaise and still hear the waves and have the view.”
The half bath, with its gold tiling and bronze washing basin, is the condo’s smallest room but is big in impact. The master bathroom, with white marble flooring and generous countertops, is decorated with iridescent mosaic tile and amethyst glass brick along the wall of the deluxe bath. Small touches of the Caribbean are displayed: a sand dollar here, a giant sea urchin there.
The condo’s discreetly located IT room controls a host of smart technology, regulating the opening and closing of the Great Room’s huge Lutron shades, as well as the home’s sophisticated electronics.
Of all the rooms, the stainless steel kitchen was the most altered by the renovations.
It features include a Jenn-Air oven/ steamer and microwave, which speak to the owners’ love of entertaining.
Cabinets from Wellborn reflect the airy ambience of the space with its glass-fronted panelling, while the kitchen’s size allows for ample circulation around the deluxe-sized island. Separated from the Great Room by a buffet, the kitchen maintains a connection through a transitional wet bar in the corner of the living area.
“Neal, the designer, along with Pooley’s [Design Studio] did a brilliant job in the layout of the kitchen, making it incredibly easy to work in and get around. Because of this, the rest fell into place rather easily,” Kelly says.
“I added a few angles and adjusted the buffet height at least four times to ensure the concealment of the lower functional countertop. That allowed the kitchen to remain open to the great room.
“Sea grass limestone countertops tie the kitchen to other areas of the home where the sea grass reappears.”
The master bedroom, a cosy, calming space, has sisal flooring and its pale lavender walls are hung with predom-inantly American artwork amassed by the couple over many years.
Family photos are nestled among books and objects collected from the couple’s travels. The room’s cathedral ceiling fails to eclipse the bedroom’s well-upholstered chaise and teak-stained ebony furniture. French windows lead on to an expansive patio, which catches the evening sun.
“Seeing the wide range of colours, textures and styles come together to create this unusual and distinctive style was extremely exciting to be a part of,” Kelly says.
Despite its many accoutrements, the home is not museum like. Rather, it is a beautifully balanced condo; a relaxing retreat that incorporates the couple’s love of the great outdoors, fashion-forward furniture and eye-catching fixtures.
Dramatic, yet restful, sophisticated yet carefree: all in all, a stunning home.