Clear Vistas

Inspired by the lush seaside surroundings, an uplifting palette of blues and greens enlivens a three-level stucco abode in Seagrove, Florida

For Denver-based empty nesters, Pete and Kathy Gillespie, the Gulf shore community of Seagrove, Florida, has long signaled rest and relaxation—a place to paddleboard, bike and take long walks on the beach. After many visits to the area, they purchased a property near the water and commissioned GLM Designs, Inc. to design a three-level stucco abode and interior designer and longtime friend Liz Williams to help them make it their own.

Hoping future grandchildren will spend time there, they emphasized that comfort and durability were just as important as aesthetics. “We didn’t want it to feel like a show home,” says Kathy. “We envisioned a place where you can throw a towel over the chair, plop down and watch TV.”

Noting their appreciation for green and blue hues, the designer leaned into the palette. The painted pecky cypress perimeter cabinetry in the kitchen, for example, is punctuated by a steely blue island paired with apple green counter stools. And lime green draperies pop against a sky blue sectional sofa accented with a navy throw in the third-floor tower bar.

In fact, varying shades, patterns and combinations, the designer wove the palette throughout the bedrooms and out onto the many outdoor living areas. “Mixing shades helps with the flow, and the design doesn’t feel repetitive,” she says. “Even with mostly white walls, it’s a vibrant project.”

Texture also plays a key role. Wood wall paneling laid in a herringbone pattern enlivens a cozy sitting area near the entrance, its plush neutral lounge chairs accented with blue and white patterned throw pillows, pottery and lighting.

And rattan chairs with woven seats in a green and white colorway surround the breakfast table at the built-in banquette, which has a blue seat cushion detailed with green piping. “Texture gives the space a more interesting, layered look,” she says, pointing to the reclaimed-wood elements in the kitchen. “This house is comfortable but very put together.”

Williams employed the same formula for the many outdoor living spaces. A large poolside patio includes areas for dining and conversation alongside a stand-alone stucco fireplace. In addition, each of the primary bedrooms has its own furnished patio and there’s a third-floor deck with ocean views.

During their first visit there for the Fourth of July, the owners, their three grown children and their significant others watched the sunset from the tower deck, cocktails in hand, before walking down to the beach to watch the fireworks. It was the first time several of them had seen the space. “We were blown away by how amazing it looked,” says Kathy. “It feels like a happy beach house.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Liz Williams, Liz Williams Interiors; ARCHITECT GLM Designs, Inc. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Shelia Huffman, Premier Landscape Services BUILDER Alex Rice, Old Seagrove Homes, (205) 335-1664;