Island Bliss

Designer Walter Mazzanti creates a contemporary Key West getaway that doubles as an Atlanta couple's romantic retreat and entertaining paradise.

Like the refreshing summer winds blowing east over the Gulf of Mexico, interior designer Walter Mazzanti ushered a fun breeze of change into an Atlanta couple’s Key West residence. In a radical departure from the homeowners’ customary traditional style, Mazzanti envisioned no dark jewel tones or fussy furniture for this new 6,400-square-foot space. The couple was so impressed with his ­initial concept boards that they put their faith in him—wholeheartedly. So much so, in fact, that they didn’t set foot into their contemporary abode until every mirror was hung and accessory in place.

“What was so untraditional, but great, was that they didn’t see any of it,” recalls Mazzanti. “Of course, I was ordering everything on their approval but it was all sent straight to storage in Miami. Then, along with the movers, I moved in every square inch of the home, right down to their clothes.”

The design inspiration stemmed from the couple’s spirited nature. “They love to entertain and they love to travel,” says the designer, “so my thought was to not make anything too serious. I wanted to make it their ‘fun’ house.” And the entire home is just that. Cool, subtle colors are punctuated with electric pops of bright orange and acid green. A custom staircase gives the illusion of a floating sculpture while, in the living room, textured wall paneling is effectively lit to create the feeling of waves in motion. Even a treasured seashell collection is imbedded into the home’s custom-mixed terrazzo flooring.

Meanwhile, a streamlined approach—in floor plan, product and placement—further enhances the breezy feeling. A single, spacious room seamlessly blends the living and dining areas as well as the kitchen. The latter is a sleek Poliform space that features rosewood cabinetry—the first of its kind in the United States—with only a sink, stovetop and oven visible. Other appliances, like the dishwasher, are intentionally housed in an adjacent space so as not to disturb dinner parties with the clutter of cleanup.

Further creating a sense of flow are 10-foot Tre Piu glass doors throughout the home that slide wide open, blurring the boundaries between indoors and out. The lush back yard is equally appealing for entertaining, given its magnificent infinity pool tiled in blue Bisazza glass and an airy lanai equipped with a full kitchen. And the front also has its own special charm; the approach to the main door takes guests, literally, through the middle of a stunning koi pond.

As much as the couple enjoys hosting social soirees, they also appreciate private moments. For that reason, the house was built 40 inches above street level while the lanai—strategically fitted with a wall of shutters—shields a distant street view. “The beauty of this house,” explains Mazzanti, “is that it can function as either an entertaining spot or secluded getaway.”  See Resources, back of book.



INTERIOR DESIGN Walter Mazzanti, Abitato Inc., Atlanta 30316. (404) 786-0676
ARCHITECTURE Thomas E. Pope, Key West, FL 33040. (305) 296-3611;
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE Craig Reynolds, Craig Reynolds Landscape Design, Key West, 33040. (305) 292-7243;