Taking inspiration from the sea and sky, Florida’s coastal style remains timeless thanks to its bright, fresh palette and natural textures. But designer Tamara Archer, founder of T. Archer Design, went a bolder, more unexpected route when tasked to transform this Tampa Bay home into a beachy oasis. As avid globetrotters, the homeowners also “wanted their home to reflect their lifestyle and capture some of the places they had traveled,” explains the designer.
Looking through snapshots from her clients’ various trips, she became instantly drawn to images of black sand beaches in the Caribbean. Growing up with Trinidadian parents, Archer was inspired by the Caribbean’s unique, tropical environs. “The colors and the serenity of the region have definitely had an impact on my personal design aesthetic,” she says. “And in the Caribbean, there are so many different types of beaches, from black to pink sands. And each place has its unique vibe.”
To create a more contemporary twist on coastal living, the designer used tones of deep blues, grays, and blacks to mimic the dramatic contrast of black sands against stormy seas. She added a hazy blue (Faded Denim by Glidden Paint) on the walls, and brought in new furnishings to emphasize the palette, like the gray sectional in the den and the black Eames-style chairs in the dining room.
Additional pieces featuring exotic wood grain helped bring in more of the outdoors, like the Parsons-style dining table made from mango wood. “Because I focus on a lot of tropical, serene spaces, I like to use nature to really style the home,” Archer notes. She also incorporated more potted plants, such as the fiddle leaf fig in the dining room and Dracaena in the den, to “mimic the tropical setting of the beach.”
For homeowners dreaming of reinterpreting coastal living for their own abodes, Archer urges them to think outside the box. “Don’t be afraid to mix styles,” she advises. “Instead of going straight modern or traditional, try creating a hybrid that truly reflects you.”
One doesn’t need to start from scratch to truly transform a place, says Archer. In the living room, the owners had an existing white leather sectional, which she incorporated into the design. “I used the white sectional to create a more modern edge in the living room.” She softened the sofa’s sharp lines with cozy throw pillows in shades of gray.
The designer added a few modern updates to the kitchen, swapping out traditional lighting for more streamlined pendants. “We wanted to add a more industrial edge to the space,” notes Archer. Continuing this theme, she also replaced the existing backsplash with embossed tin tiles.
Inspired by dramatic beach vistas, Archer also wanted to integrate some natural coastal imagery into the dining room. She used original photos from her husband (an avid photographer), as seen here in the dining room. The images were printed onto canvas and broken into triptychs for a more substantial impact on the walls.
The home features two fireplaces, a rarity in Florida, including this traditional wood-burning stove in the den backed by elaborate stonework. The original stone features “were really dark, and very heavy,” says Archer. “So we did a whitewash to create a glaze, so you can still see through to the natural stone. But the whitewash tones it down a bit to better suit the space.”
Incorporating wooden elements like this sculptural end table proved crucial “in bringing nature into the home,” says Archer. She paired this vignette with another Eames Shell-style armchair in blue and a throw blanket for added coziness.
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