Looking for the opposite of their traditionally designed residence in New Jersey, a family commissioned Frank Lavin to transport them to a beachy, colorcharged setting with the turn of a key. To study his clients’ lifestyle and how they might relax, Lavin even stayed with them awhile in their home before settling on a plan.
“The trick is to combine the comfort they’re used to with the contemporary and vibrant décor of a shore home,” he says.
A guest bath may seem like an odd place to start, but Lavin found a vintage-inspired wallpaper with old-fashioned French postcards in tropical hues that was too good to pass up. It also blended seamlessly with the condominium’s outdoor palette from the terra cotta rooftop tiles to the sea’s ever-changing blues and greens.
From that point, the rooms fell into place. Lavin had fun with the guest room’s retro revival theme comprised of blond wood furniture reminiscent of mid-century hotel rooms, quilted bedspreads in a green tropical print, pillows in David Hicks fabrics, and quirky lamps in bright blue coral with palm frond shade. One can easily imagine a tourist penning a postcard at the tidy desk.
“This direction is so appropriate for a guest room because you want visitors to feel like they’re totally on vacation,” he says.
Whether the Eden Roc or Four Seasons, grand hotels also provided inspiration for the rest of the project. Lavin chose a bamboo coffee table with a crackled finish for its Old Shore inherited quality, while a canary yellow rocker with stainless-steel legs has a modern twist. Color slowly intensifies from neutral walls to a rug, seating and draperies in pastels or darker neutrals, to dramatic pillows in boxed stripes and polka dots.
“Whatever the element, I like to build layers. They tendency comes from my architecture and engineering background,” he says.
Since the space offered no architectural details, Lavin demonstrated them through furniture like the dining room’s glass-topped table with a fretwork base of reddish brown fruitwood. Dining room chairs in caramel suede soften the cold Carrera marble floors that flow throughout. Pieces of real coral or coral-inspired accessories like metal candelabra further tie rooms together and show off the tropical theme. Floral arrangements also display the area’s simplicity with shots of color. “You don’t need some massive bouquet here, but just one or two flowers,” he says.