This fall, longtime Pensacola business Aqua Décor and Design on 9th Avenue was acquired by Haus of Hue. Haus of Hue will continue to offer coastal furniture and design, adding some fresh ideas and new styles. One of their local Pensacola projects was a historic home in downtown Pensacola, newly purchased by Kim Simpson.
Haus of Hue, initially started as a Miami design business by Bakarian-Simpson, turned into a multi-partnered furniture company owned by Rafael, Marc Verbena, and Richard Buckley. “We started designing together before we acquired Aqua. We are just investing heavily in the community and really want to bring something interesting regarding furniture to Pensacola,” says Rafael Simpson.
The historic downtown Pensacola home features three bedrooms, three baths, an open living space, a chef’s kitchen, a single-car garage, and a fabulous pool. Rafael says this was the first house in Pensacola that Haus of Hue outfitted and sourced together, even down to the custom furniture. “We designed and sourced all of the furnishings in the home. We designed the custom beds and chairs and sourced Parisian club chairs… we even sourced the marble accents, the small homewares, and coffee table books. It was just a highly curated space and a lot of fun.” says Rafael. The European flair that you’ll see in some of the furniture chosen, is an example of what the design team loves to incorporate alongside the coastal design we know and love, according to Haus of Hue CEO Marc Verbena.
The developers began restoring the house and hired Studio Pica Design, a full-service multidisciplinary design firm based in downtown Pensacola owned by Nicholas Pica. (See photos of the home throughout the restoration process on Studio Pica Design’s Instagram story.) Architect Nicholas Pica saw the house from dilapidation and “brought it back, and then some, to its original glory,” says Rafael. “Nick and his firm chose all the finishings; it was definitely his baby in restoring the home. Anything that Nick touches is fabulous. He designed every element of the house except for the furnishings,” says Rafael. “The house is special,” says Rafael, “when it comes to restoration and preservation, it has to be done specifically.” When you purchase a historic home, you also agree to a strict code of upkeep, obliging you to preserve the original architecture and beauty of the house. All of Pica’s restoration ideas had to be approved by the City of Pensacola’s design board. Some of Pica’s proposals for the house included expanding the footprint with additions to the west and north sides of the structure. The expansions would accommodate a master suite, guest rooms, and an outdoor living area with direct access to a pool.
An older building on the property was taken down, and the fabulous pool was added. The proposed additions also featured clapboards to match the residence’s existing exterior. The roof was done in standing seam metal to coordinate with the existing roof. All details for the porches were maintained to match the existing features. We love the welcoming entry porch, which is quintessentially southern!
The entryway has gorgeous white oak flooring, which pairs perfectly with all of the natural lighting coming into the home. The entryway leads right into an elegant dining room with the same bright and airy feeling. A delicate chandelier contrasts beautifully with the preserved historic brick fireplace. White linen swivel chairs and a custom oval white marble dining table maintain the bright, airy theme throughout the home.
In the kitchen, we fell in love with the tapestry blue La Cornue cooking range, which has polished brass knobs. The stylish and elegant range anchors the kitchen as the heart of the home. The adjacent dish pantry has the same subtle blue interior and is embellished with brass as well, and has metal mesh door inserts, the perfect complement to the cooking range. The Moroccan white zellige tiles on the wall lend elegance to the kitchen’s backdrop. Zellige tiles are unique and one of Morocco’s most valued and recognizable art forms; from forming the clay to chiseling the tiles, the entire process is done by hand. The transitional u-shaped chairs arranged around the kitchen island allows friends and family to be social in the kitchen, keeping with the modern trend of kitchens being social spaces and less, rooms to prepare food.
Pica also incorporated a scullery into the renovation. A scullery is a smaller kitchen used for cleaning and extra workspace and is a favorite of Pica’s to include in luxury home design.
The bedrooms have custom beds with side tables, rugs, and linens, all sourced by Haus of Hue.
The bar has light oak cabinets and a rolling library ladder, outfitted with an assortment of books and homewares chosen by Haus of Hue.
Heading outside, Haus of Hue partnered with a company called Le Scape, owned by Rafael’s brother-in-law, Garrett Goodwin, to do all the outdoor hardscaping, landscaping, and unique pool design. Interestingly, Garrett is a well-known musician from Nashville who toured with Carrie Underwood and launched his upscale landscaping company in Pensacola. He chose Italian ferns to line the pool.
Rafael says the goal of Haus of Hue is investing in the community and bringing styles from outside the region while remaining complementary to the coast’s overall aesthetic, which is evident in this magnificent historic remodel.
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