Feeling Blue

By staff November 1, 2004

Charles and Jackie Okoskey of Saratoga Springs loved swapping New York's snow and ice for the turquoise waters and lush golf courses of Longboat Key. But something about their Grand Bay condominium left them feeling a bit blue.

"The former decorator chose a nautical theme and a monochromatic color scheme," explains designer Shari Roberts of Robb & Stucky. "The result was all blue. I mean this interior was done in every possible shade, from sky to navy. The entire place was a sea of blue."

Roberts designed a sophisticated new color scheme with fabrics and finishes to match for the Okoskeys. Samples and swatches were mailed back and forth, along with color photographs and a sketched-to-scale floor plan. From miles away, the couple gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up; and Roberts rolled up her sleeves.

The entry and living room were primary points of attack. Up came the old blue plush carpet and down came the outdated blue wallpaper, filling more than a dozen oversized garbage bags. Dresden blue crown moldings were sanded and repainted in gleaming alabaster. Blue walls were stripped and faux painted, Old World style, in a rich café au lait. A flat weave carpet in camel and cream was installed to coordinate with existing ivory tile floors, which were cleaned and polished to look like new. The blue chandelier was replaced with a handsome black metal and bronze light fixture. A worn blue couch was taken away, along with white wicker pieces sporting cushions in pale blue floral prints. The new couch by Century is bisque and taupe with a subtle miniature palm tree print; accent pillows are covered in warm tomato red.

Two matched blue chairs were recovered in the same red tones; and Roberts found a demilune hall table in red, hand-painted with birds and palms, along with a painted Asian entry screen that carries color through the room. Twin ottomans by Bernhardt in black stained rattan balance the couch and can be easily moved to create different seating groups or used as tables. The new dining table, also by Bernhardt, features a glass top on black wood base and smart tweed rattan chairs in deep shades of coffee and burnt black. A black hand-rubbed Habersham sideboard conceals stereo equipment; and Roberts designed a custom wooden pass-through bar between dining room and kitchen, finished in lustrous black and distressed with shades of cocoa and camel.

Faux-painted stripes and gorgeous green fronds adorn entry walls and add a lighthearted feel as family and guests alight from the private elevator. A Palechek table, offset iron mirror and upholstered Cox bench in smart black and beige add texture and dimension to entry and foyer. Gorgeous silk palms and dried natural arrangements replaced outdated artificial flowers in pale blue wicker baskets.

Accessories, lamps and art all imbue the condo with a touch of the tropics without infecting the interior with jungle fever. "The concept was for a hint of island decor," explains Roberts. "The couple did not want a place that looks like a Tommy Bahama ad." The result is visually very pleasing, with soothing caramel and beige tones sparked by an occasional splash of red. Excellent furniture placement and proper use of proportion allow the eye to travel beyond the living room and enjoy the spectacular water vistas. Striking a balance between playful and pretty, this vacation retreat suddenly lifts the spirits and feels like home.

Design team:

Design by Shari Roberts

Furniture, carpet and accessories by Robb & Stucky

Faux painting by Susan Nilon of Decorative Effects

Silk trees and floral arrangements by Lux-Art.

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