You've Gotta See This Florida-Fabulous, Maximalist Home
I’ve written about how to bring pops of color into the home before, but one very pink Bradenton house is proving I barely scratched the surface.
The exterior of this three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in west Bradenton has been updated with a little midcentury modern flavor, but otherwise stays true to its 1925 Mediterranean Revival style. Inside, however, the home is an ode to Florida the fabulous. It's a place where pink, palm fronds and flamingos burst from every corner, with an interior design aesthetic that’s almost too much—but also, maybe, just right.
Darline Martins, the home's owner and designer, describes her style as "adventurous, eclectic and fun"—all evident in the home's top-to-bottom transformation, which didn’t call for any structural changes. Martins sourced most of the furniture and art online from Amazon and Etsy.
Martins, an entrepreneur who lives in Massachusetts, owns a couple of different businesses and flips houses. She bought this one in June of last year for $435,000, when it was “just an average-looking home,” she says, and later listed it for $609,000 in November that same year.
Lacie Johnson of Fine Properties, who represented Martins while the listing was active, says people who toured the home had the same immediate reaction across the board: “Wow.”
“People asked who the interior designer was and couldn't believe when I said it was the homeowner,” Johnson says. “It could easily compete with one of those great HGTV project homes.”
The home got a similar reaction online, and Martins took it off the market after responses poured in. A post in a Facebook group called “For The Love Of Old Houses” brought more than 2,000 comments and plenty of love, hate and more than 1,000 shares.
Some comments included, "This must be Dorothy Draper’s summer home," "Does it come with Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sofia, or are they extra?," "This is what I picture Betsy Johnson’s house to look like," and "I love color and this just made my eyeballs hurt."
In case it wasn’t obvious, Martins says, “I love pink! Pink is such a happy color. I loved the Beverly Hills Hotel when I visited and I wanted to recreate it with a twist.”
She says the biggest transformation included landscaping the backyard and “lots and lots of wallpaper.”
While the wallpaper was ultimately worth it, Martins says, the company she hired initially hung it in the wrong rooms, leading to thousands of dollars in losses. And while it looks like someone might cry trying to hang wallpaper on the ceiling, “the only person who cried was me—from the challenges that come from trying to design from miles away,” Martins recalls.
With all that behind her, she's listed the home on Airbnb as the “Fun Dream Home.” It rents for roughly $250 to $360 a night, depending on the time of year. And in addition to the decor, the fun comes in the form of a gumball machine, a record player and an arcade game, “for all the nostalgic ‘90s vibes,” Martins says.
Out back, Martins' favorite part of the home, there’s an artificial turf lawn with a pergola hung with swings. There’s also a grilling space and a patio, anchored by a gas-powered firepit and hugged by a semicircle bench. The fun continues with a giant chessboard, Connect 4 game and Jenga, plus an above-ground pool and hot tub.
Funnily enough, Martins has never lived in the home—and, in fact, admits she’s never lived in a home that looked this way. She's glad guests are happy to be able to take advantage. Just this month, one review read, "This place was absolutely perfect! So many cute details to it. We will definitely be booking here again."
Martins also owns a couple more homes in the area she also designed, but with a little more restraint. Check them out here and here. Still, we like this one best.