The Art of Surprise

Light walls and an eclectic mix of furniture and artwork create the kind of relaxed, boho-chic vibe the owners of this Alys Beach abode envisioned

Big home design projects can take months, if not years, especially in an age of supply chain issues. But familiar with her client’s style after a recent collaboration, interior designer Melanie Turner readily signed on to decorate her clients’ new vacation home in Alys Beach despite the 90-day timeline they had in mind.

To meet the aggressive deadline, she improvised by using pieces from her clients’ existing collection, incorporating vintage furnishings and pulling in treasured items she had collected over the years. “They wanted a casual beach house that paid homage to the 1970s—an era of fond memories for them,” says Turner. “The design is boho but collected.”

Although the white stucco home is steps from the Gulf, it doesn’t face the water. To make up for the lack of outward-facing views, Turner made good use of her client’s extensive art collection, peppering pieces throughout the house and creating a gallery wall in the open living and dining area. “We turned inward and dazzled them in a creative way,” says Turner. “There’s a surprise around every corner.”

The spirited wall of art creates a lively backdrop for an eclectic mix of furnishings. A velvet-covered chair and sofa, for example, create a cozy conversation spot around a unique cocktail table with a trio of spherical legs. And a pair of woven pendants illuminate a wooden dining table surrounded by an upholstered banquette and a set of chairs with raffia seats and rounded backs. “It’s simple and layered at the same time,” the designer explains.

Such natural texture flows throughout the interior. A woven rug defines a cozy seating area in front of the fireplace in a former covered porch that Turner enclosed with glass. Steps away, a console table with a root base and a glass top reinforces the organic milieu in dramatic fashion. “It’s artistic, but also very casual,” says Turner.

That holds true for the well-appointed bedrooms. In the primary suite, a trompe l’oeil wallcovering that resembles plaster creates a seemingly three-dimensional backdrop for an upholstered headboard and contemporary wooden side tables. Paired with a metal chair with a faux bois pattern, a large abstract likewise commands attention on the adjacent wall.

Successfully completed in just three months, the casual boho beach home checks all the boxes for both Turner and most importantly, for her clients. “They love the space, and everyone who walks into it feels the same way,” she says. “We gave this house a lot of personality.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Melanie Turner, Melanie Turner Interiors, (770) 335-3434;