Re-imagining coastal living for a large family, designer Tiffany Cassidy adds life to a white-box condo in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Nearly 20 years ago, Tiffany Cassidy began to crave more creativity in her life. The 9 to 5 office grind was taking its toll on the California native, and she “just wasn’t doing very well under all the fluorescent lights.” She laughs now, looking back. Her solution: start fresh, with a new life in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Cassidy found her calling here as an interior designer, creating Caribbean summer home decor designs that celebrate the place she loves. Thus was born Lagnappe Custom Interiors, her design firm blending luxurious style with laid-back island living.
Cassidy brought her keen eye to this two-story condo renovation project in East End, St. Thomas. The property was a total rebuild after suffering major damage from both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria ― two Category 5 hurricanes that swept across the U.S. Virgin Islands within two weeks of each other in 2017. Yet starting from scratch gave Cassidy the opportunity to deliver exactly what the client needed, as the condo had to function as a home for their multi-generational family and as a vacation retreat for friends and associates.
With a fresh canvas, Cassidy and her design team intertwined neutral hues with bolder pops of color throughout the home. “To convey energy, you need colors on opposite sides of the color wheel,” she explains. “So we have the base layer of white to neutrals, and then we layer in turquoise and watercolors.”
Creating a bright, open-concept flow in the main gathering space of this condo was no easy task. With only one source of natural light and limited space to work with, Cassidy had to be exceptionally creative to accommodate the client’s large family. This meant lots of adaptable, custom-made pieces like the living room sectional, which conveniently pulls out into a full-sized bed.
Materials were also carefully considered for both style and practicality. “In a place where it’s summer all year round, we like functional pieces that are easy to care for,” says Cassidy. For example, the porcelain tile floors used throughout had the look of weathered wood but could better withstand wet, sandy feet from the beach. More organic textures like bamboo and seagrass also proved durable while still conveying coastal style. The result was a stylish home that’s never too precious. “It’s the mix that makes the space feel more comfortable,” says the designer. “We have three generations of family, and we’ve got to have something that suits them.”
Here, the designer went bold with coral and turquoise Thibaut Jelly Fish Bloom wallpaper, which pops against the seagrass and bamboo console. Mimicking the look of underwater coral, the Agave Americana Silver Chandelier from Currey & Company reinforces the coastal theme. “That really sets the theme as soon as you open the door that this is going to be colorful and whimsical,” says Cassidy.
Creating an upbeat sense of energy in the living room, the designer added vibrant accent pieces in shades of turquoise, magenta and green with Laura Park throw pillows and ocean art photography.
To accommodate big family dinners, Cassidy chose a generous dining room table designed to include up to 10 chairs. Featuring seagrass backing, the dining chairs also bring more organic texture into the space.
In this calming master bedroom, Cassidy once again included neutral hues of whitewashed wood on the tongue-and-groove ceiling and dresser to complement the vibrant throw pillows and accent rug. Working within the limited space of a condo, a streamlined sliding barn door also helped save space.
In the master bedroom, the designer also carved out a cozy reading nook with an oversized chair and ottoman, which complement the room’s decor while creating a separate space for relaxation.
For the guest bedroom, Cassidy chose twin beds that could be used separately or pushed together to become king-sized. “This is one of our favorite things to do for vacation homes that need some flexibility,” she explains. A custom-upholstered, mounted headboard helps visually connect both beds. The daybed in the bay window area also pulls out into a trundle bed.
In the glossy white, en suite bath, the coastal aesthetic continues with meticulously thought-out details. The turquoise fish scale tile in the shower — which is available through Lagnappe Custom Interiors — “really connects with the [home’s] ocean reference,” says the designer. In the shower, a fun accent table also features a coral pattern in a similar turquoise hue.