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Going All Out in Gulf Breeze

Going All Out in Gulf Breeze

Designer Liz Bell
Designer Liz Bell
Designer Liz Bell
Designer Liz Bell
Designer Liz Bell +9
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Designer Liz Bell

Rather than packing up and moving, a couple decides to give their family home a head-to-toe makeover with the help of local designer Liz Bell. 

When designer Liz Bell of Aqua Decor & Design in Pensacola had the opportunity to work with longtime clients on a complete renovation of their Gulf Breeze home, she welcomed the opportunity. She knew them from other projects and believed she could translate their wish list into reality. “They considered selling and moving into Pensacola,” says Bell, “but they had raised their family there and loved the home and all the memories it held.” They were comfortable with Bell and her talent for detail, proportion, and use of color. “Liz has a way of really listening to a client about what is important about the spaces, objects, and details that make a home truly personal,” says the wife. “We love our renewed home. We especially love the light that is infused into every space. Each room is a refuge full of warmth; each choice was made with care. We are grateful to Liz for the vision, skill, and heart she brought to the project.”

The homeowners selected Carl Valletto of CVC Construction to supervise the project, which began in the spring of 2020. It was a major undertaking, with a reconfiguration of walls to create a whole new floor plan. “All of the surfaces in the home were touched in some way,” says Bell. All of the molding and trim was replaced, and the staircase was redesigned with a custom metal stair rail by Brownsville Welding. All lighting and sound systems were replaced, with Will Shaw at Integrated Surroundings providing design and installation services. Matt Hinson of CDC Woodworking crafted the closet system and cabinetry for the master bathroom and pantry and retrofitted some of the original cabinets in the kitchen and replaced others.

The living and dining spaces underwent a dramatic transformation. Bell replaced the Tuscan faux-finished gold walls in the living room and the dark navy in the dining room with a beautiful soft white, unifying the two spaces. Dark silk draperies were replaced with off-white linen, and transoms were added over the doors between the two rooms to further increase the light. The fireplace between the rooms received a new look, with the old sheetrock and wood replaced with floor-to-ceiling limestone facades on either side. 

The homeowners are world travelers and have collected objects from around the globe, and the staircase wall leading to the second level from the living room features a collection of their masks from different cultures. Touches like this, plus the display of bronze statuary and art they’ve collected over the years, make the spaces very personal. 

The master suite features a huge open master bath with his and hers vanity areas, waterfall vanity tops in honed Rhino White calcite, a soaking tub with Rhino White calcite surround, and an oversized walk-in steam shower. Bell notes that the master suite underwent the most dramatic changes and was the most challenging part of the project. 

The kitchen was completely updated, and the adjacent pantry was doubled in size, with additional storage, a built-in small appliance area, and a unique flower prep sink.

Any project of this scope presents challenges, but beginning a total renovation in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic added new hurdles. “Materials were incredibly difficult to get, subcontractors were swamped and behind schedule, furniture manufacturers experienced production delays, and shipping was slow or stalled altogether,” says Bell. “Everyone involved had to learn patience in a time when there was no way to make things happen any faster.”

The homeowners’ love for European and Far Eastern styles was a strong influence on the overall feel of the home. “It is an eclectic style, carefully curated, with precious works of art collected over many years sharing space with classic, relaxed, neutral pieces that we added,” says Bell. “I have worked with many repeat clients, but this couple and I have become good friends. I learned so much from working with them, and I consider myself fortunate to have been involved in this satisfying project.” 

Aqua Decor & Design
(850) 912-4744

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