Step Inside an Elegant Florida Beach House That Redefines Coastal Chic


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Jun 20, 2023

Step Inside an Elegant Florida Beach House That Redefines Coastal Chic

By Alia Akkam Photography by Nicole Franzen Shortly after Jennifer Bunsa posted the image of an elegant midcentury Peter Løvig Nielsen flip-top desk on Instagram, she received a message from an

By Alia Akkam

Photography by Nicole Franzen

Shortly after Jennifer Bunsa posted the image of an elegant midcentury Peter Løvig Nielsen flip-top desk on Instagram, she received a message from an intrigued stranger. Conversation flowed between the two design aficionados and, soon, Bunsa’s namesake AD PRO Directory firm, which is based in Miami, had been hired to furnish one of this stranger’s homes. “We have similar taste,” Bunsa reflects. “He’s always been interested in collectible design and vintage furniture. One of my favorite things is finding pieces that are unique and have a story to tell.”

Two more collaborations later, Bunsa, with the assistance of local architect Maiju Stansel and C.F. Knight Builders & Remodelers, has completed her biggest project yet for this like-minded individual and his family: the gut renovation of an abode in a Jacksonville-area beach community, in Florida. Although the structure was built in the early 2000s, its architecture echoes the simple 1930s cottages that were once abundant in the location—including one that formerly stood on this very site. Referencing that history, Bunsa worked closely with the homeowners to create interiors that exude serene New England, Japanese, and Scandinavian sensibilities. “The process went quickly in terms of making decisions,” Bunsa recalls. “We knew what looks we wanted to achieve and were always on the same page. We started ordering materials before there was even a general contractor involved. We got all of those big building blocks sorted out and then went back in.”

Cooking is important to the clients, so they had big ambitions for the kitchen, which is now awash in sleek slabs of Calacatta Viola marble juxtaposed with Henrybuilt walnut cabinetry. The area underwent the most dramatic changes compared to anywhere else in the house. “It was tiny and took up about one third of the space,” Bunsa explains. “Just by changing the location of the door to the mudroom, we were able to make it seem a lot bigger.” Along with the central island, intimate family gatherings unfold on the built-in banquette festooned with cushions that are spruced up by Josef Frank’s Mirakel fabric.

Since the clients have children, durability and functionality were top of mind. At the same time, they craved a specific aesthetic. Recessed lighting, for example, was largely shunned, and vintage fixtures like Louis Poulsen sconces in the primary bedroom were celebrated. The couple also expressed their dislike of plain painted walls, leading to the use of wallpaper, plaster, and copious amounts of wood throughout the entirety of the home. The layered impact of those wall treatments ultimately paid off. Vertical painted boards “make the house feel a little more coastal,” according to Bunsa, while the Pecky cypress, which wraps the study and the dining room ceiling, “has a lot of texture, like it’s been eaten away.” In the primary bedroom, cedar plank-clad walls provide “an extra layer of warmth,” Bunsa adds. The designer further punched up this relatively neutral room by incorporating elements such as a pair of BDDW leather nightstands and Lindsey Adelman’s ethereal Cherry Bomb chandelier. Above the bed, which is dressed in Nickey Kehoe linens, a painting by Alfred Hair lends a meditative touch.

The cozy study, brimming with vintage treasures and backdropped by a delicate Adam Pogue curtain panel reminiscent of bojagi, a traditional form of Korean textile art, is a vignette that Bunsa adores. The same is true of the dining room, when it “gets filled with light” as the sun streams through expansive windows on three sides. Bunsa was just as thoughtful in her approach to the children’s rooms. Consider one of the bathrooms, dominated by playful encaustic cement tiles from Popham Design, or the nursery, adorned in Josef Frank’s Sagoträdet print. “What I love is Frank’s use of scale. The patterns are so big that they don’t have as much of a small repeat. They are dynamic,” Bunsa muses.

Typically, at the end of a project, Bunsa Studio lets her clients fill up the home with their own personal details, but this residence has Bunsa’s touches everywhere. “I was heavily involved in every single little detail, so I have a lot of affection for this house,” she says. “It has all my favorite things in it.”

Mudrooms are more often utilitarian than decorative, but Bunsa enlivened this one with Henrybuilt cabinets, RW Guild ceiling pendants, custom cushions swathed in Pierre Frey striped fabric, and hand-blocked botanical-print Marthe Armitage wallpaper in a custom soothing blue hue.

When unwinding in the living room, which is buoyed by a Dorothy Page painting, a vintage rattan Josef Frank sconce from PRB, and a RW Guild ceiling light, guests can sit on the George Smith sofa upholstered in Christopher Farr fabric. The welcoming space is brightened by custom Roman shades with Makoto Kagoshima fabric from Christopher Farr and wood paneling painted with Farrow & Ball’s softly toned Pink Ground. Here, objects delightfully intermingle. An Atelier Vime table lamp perches on the Fair side table and a Jane Yang D’Haene moon jar vessel from Spartan Shop sits atop the Lawson-Fenning oak coffee table.

In the family room, Federico Munari chairs from the 1950s, found at PRB, form a dialogue with the custom Bunsa Studio–designed sofa and ottoman cloaked in Christopher Farr fabric. A vintage Swedish flatweave rug, Amuneal brass shelving, Josef Frank sconces (also from PRB), and an Eny Lee Parker planter help foster a tranquil atmosphere.

Crowned with a pecky cypress ceiling, the dining room melds together a range of vintage and contemporary furniture and accessories, including a Guillerme et Chambron sideboard that the homeowners previously snagged at Lorentz in the Netherlands. It’s capped with a retro Swedish lamp from the West Palm Beach gallery PRB (formerly Ponce Berga). Surrounding the Claro walnut dining table, sourced from Fern in Hudson, New York, for instance, are Tobia and Afra Scarpa chairs brought back from Italy with which Bunsa is enamored. “The leather is worn in and has a beautiful patina, which adds a lot of character,” she says. Underfoot is a custom-size version of Christopher Farr’s Anemone rug. Lighting from Dimoremilano and Stephen White bolsters the airy space.

The commodious kitchen showcases Calacatta Viola marble, complemented by a Lacanche range, Lindsey Adelman sconces, Apparatus ceiling lights, and sleek Henrybuilt walnut cabinetry. The drawers, also courtesy of Henrybuilt, feature special inserts. “It’s a very efficient kitchen,” Bunsa points out.

One of the kitchen’s highlights is the breakfast nook, where a table from The Future Perfect is nestled between Nickey Kehoe chairs and a Henrybuilt banquette covered in Svenskt Tenn Josef Frank fabric with matching custom cushions. The small space is heightened by Lindsey Adelman’s Paradise pendant and custom Roman shades fashioned out of fabric from Christopher Farr’s Anni Albers collection.

Bunsa’s custom chunky sink and wainscoting fashioned out of pink marble sourced from ABC Stone in New York make a statement in the powder room. The decidedly breezy Florida vibe is amplified by Pierre Frey’s Patio Exotique wallpaper and such vintage finds as a Gio Ponti mirror and Swedish pine sconces from PRB.

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Against a backdrop of Pecky cypress panels, the moody study brings together the likes of a George Smith sofa, Christopher Farr carpet, and Adam Pogue curtain with a BDDW credenza, Brian Coleman artwork, and a vintage Roger Capron coffee table layered with textured Shogun tiles. The standout? A 1960s Viscontea pendant from Galerie Half that appears to magically float from the ceiling.

“It’s a big room,” says Bunsa of the primary bedroom, “so we wanted to create a little sitting area within the larger footprint.” This peaceful nook, complete with a Dan Pollock table from Blackman Cruz, a PRB lamp, and duo of Guillerme et Chambron chairs from Morentz, is accented with Jennifer Shorto fabric drapery and a vintage Carl Auböck tea set.

The primary bathroom features marble-clad walls and a stand-alone tub.

By Paola Singer

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By Ilana Kaplan

Warm wood tones make yet another appearance.

Blue and white tones, as well as overt maritime references, add local flair to this bedroom.

Colorful encaustic cement tiles from Popham Design dominate this walk-in shower.

By Paola Singer

By Elizabeth Stamp

By Ilana Kaplan

Another look at the bathroom, where graphic tiles pop.

In the nursery, a Josef Frank design makes another appearnce, in the form of the Sagoträdet print wallpaper.

A cheerful wallpaper makes this powder room shine. Wallpaper in Array by Makoto Kagoshima for Christopher Farr.

By Paola Singer

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Alfresco gatherings take place in the lush backyard on an Ethnicraft table and chairs.

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