Coastal Alchemy

Melanie Turner Interiors crafts a bohemian beach retreat on the Gulf Coast with an unmistakable California cool allure 

WHEN ASKED TO DESCRIBE her ideal clients, the homeowners of this Alys Beach getaway are quick to come to mind for interior designer Melanie Turner. “The relationship we have with this couple is what designers wish for,” she says. This project marks their fifth time working together, but most importantly, Turner notes, “Each time, they give us the space to experiment and try new things.”

For her part, Turner—who’s mastered juxtaposing styles from a range of eras as well as risk-taking aesthetics—has given each of their homes a distinct personality, while always staying true to the couple’s fresh and youthful style. So after purchasing their latest property in Alys Beach, a three-story home located adjacent to the community’s prized Gulf Green, the couple looked to Turner once again.

Inspired by their response to vintage art (many of the pieces making it into the home’s final design), Turner and her team proposed a “California boho beach house” vibe. Defined by a profusion of soft layers, fun colors and midcentury flair, the aesthetic also allowed them to highlight Moroccan flourishes from the home’s previous iteration (which was featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles in 2017). More than 1,000 sandblasted white oak pieces forming a motif on the ceiling were left intact over the living room, which Turner anchored with a striking coral-and-turquoise painting. A low-profile sectional sits equally pretty just below, while vintage accents—from a rattan chair to a turtle shell sconce—further play up the home’s eclectic charm.

Leaning into the couple’s desire for “easy living” at the beach, a new dining area was created in the living room by absorbing square footage from a portion of the balcony. Now the kitchen, living and dining spaces flow freely, allowing the family of five to always be within sight. The former formal dining room was converted into a TV lounge. Decorated in plush layers of marigold tones, it offers the couple and their young children a cozy spot to gather together after a day of enjoying the crystal clear ocean water just steps from their home.

Warm splashes of color throughout the beach house were an intentional choice by Turner, effectively giving each room its own identity. For example, the primary bedroom’s rattan motorcycle that suspends from the ceiling adds eclectic flair, while apricot-colored walls in the guest bedroom are a whimsical touch.

“Everyone wants a beach house to be calm, which we agree is important, but oftentimes the houses become vanilla,” says Turner. “Luckily, these clients always give us the green light to push design boundaries.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Melanie Turner, Melanie Turner Interiors, (404) 250-0134; ARCHITECTS Erik Vogt and Marieanne Khoury-Vogt, Khoury Vogt Architects, (850) 502-4370;