An ideal collaboration between homeowner and interior designer transforms a Nashville couple’s second home in Sandestin.
When Terri and Gary Cooper purchased their home in Sandestin’s Burnt Pine development in 2020, they embarked on an adventure focused on a complete remodel of a three-year-old Alex Rice home. The couple, who have a home in Nashville where Gary and his sons run Cooper Steel, had been renting nearby during the pandemic before deciding to purchase a second home in the area. “The house we found had great features, wonderful indoor and outdoor space, and all the room we wanted for entertaining when our family was visiting,” says Terri. “We wanted a different feel—a contemporary vibe. Several friends recommended Duce May, a local interior designer who turned out to be a perfect fit for us. He has relationships with local and regional artists, and his company has a retail component that provided many of our furnishings and accessories. We were able to incorporate some lovely chandeliers and pieces of furniture from Restoration Hardware into the overall design scheme. Most importantly, with Duce’s guidance, we were able to acquire and display some amazing art in a great setting.”
The Coopers communicated their desires to Duce, who in turn translated their vision into a complete makeover for the home, with new lighting, new paint and built-ins, and revamped transitional and outdoor living spaces. “Because of the challenges of the pandemic, we had some delays in receiving materials and furnishings,” says Duce. “In some instances, the slowdown was a good thing because we used the time wisely and incorporated modifications, and things ended up better than we originally planned.”
The carefully chosen artwork is the focal point in virtually every room. “The Marilyn Monroe portrait by Alexi Torres, which is oil on canvas, is definitely an eye-catcher,” says Duce of the oversized painting that dominates the spacious entry. Local artist Brendan Parker is responsible for the custom backlit paintings that flank the bed in the master bedroom, and the painting in the dining room. Richard McDonald’s stunning bronze sculpture in the foyer invokes his work with Cirque du Soleil. Internationally recognized New Orleans artist Harouni created the oil paintings for the kitchen and hall, and Florida-based avant-garde artist Jamali is responsible for the pigment on cork pieces using his unique mystical expressionist style.
Two truly special features of the home are the bourbon wall and the one-of-a-kind handcrafted Cooper Steel table. “My husband collects bourbons and rare spirits, and we had a storage area that we envisioned becoming a work of art with a specific purpose,” says Terri. “The result of our idea and Duce’s creative ability was a display wall that shows off the bottles on glass shelves in a backlit unit. Duce also commissioned The Armored Frog to craft the Cooper Steel logo serving table using our collection of wine crates and corks.”
The Cooper home has five bedrooms, five full baths, and two half baths. “The master bedroom is on the main floor, and we have a guest bedroom on that floor as well,” says Terri. “The house offers plenty of space for guests and for our three sons, one daughter, and two grandchildren, who love to visit.”
The wonderful open kitchen is the heart of the home, and everything leads to the outdoor living area, which includes a fully equipped kitchen with plenty of dining space, four outdoor seating areas, a fireplace feature, and a luxurious and spacious pool. Beyond the pool and the expansive green lawn is a narrow lake that winds through the neighborhood and abuts the Burnt Pine Golf Course.
Duce is quick to reply when asked what his favorite part of the Cooper project was. “No contest! The best part was becoming friends with these great clients,” he says. “They love to entertain, they have a great family and interesting friends, and they are warm and generous about sharing their home. I consider myself lucky to have worked with them and developed a relationship with them beyond the job.” Terri Cooper concurs. “Duce has become much more than our designer,” she says. “We are grateful to have met him and to call him a friend.”
Duce & Company Interiors
36132 Emerald Coast Pkwy.
Destin, FL 32541