This Plantation home was created to reflect the needs of the Brazilian owners who wanted a mixture of rustic and modern design.
When a Brazilian couple with two young children, two cats, two dogs and a zest for life were seeking a fresh start in Plantation, they hired Carmen Alcaraz Gomes of Cg1 Design in Miami to execute their ideas.
Their two-story, 4,500-square-foot home was brand new, modern and square. But the wife wanted shabby chic, and pet- and kid-friendly interiors. And this presented a problem for the designer. “She didn’t want a modern look, because the home had to be welcoming,” says Gomes, an award-winning designer who honed her skills at Ethan Allen. “Since the home was modern, her desires presented a challenge.”
The five-bedroom, six-bath home with living room, dining room, family room and kitchen is located in the Hawks Landing development in Plantation. After hours of consulting, it took Gomes about seven months to complete her design project for the owners, who are in the logistics business. The wife asked Gomes to create an interior of shabby chic using muted colors. She wanted nothing flashy. Pet- and kid-friendly materials had to be used in all of the rooms to help keep maintenance short and simple. “She likes the cozy look, but I had to incorporate that into a thoroughly modern interior,” says Gomes. “I used chenille for the sofa, fibers for the chairs and carpets because they are easily washable, and slipcovers for much of the other furniture.”
Gomes says the client was pleasant, but particular. To put together a look that she requested was challenging given the space, its limitations and the children and pets. So Gomes went to visit her client nearly every day during the design process to be sure they were on the same wavelength. “I really got involved with the client,” says Gomes, who was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and speaks both Spanish and Portuguese. “I asked her to give me input all the way through.”
One of the changes Gomes made to the bare-spaced interior was the addition of wood panels in several rooms. Enhancing the blank canvas helped create the warmth the wife desired. “I added wood art and rustic fibers but needed to be practical while doing so,” she explains. Gomes respected the architectural characteristics of the home and balanced that with the rustic look. But she had to avoid the easy option of turning the interior into a country spectacle. “I really had to achieve balance, and it was hard to do.”
The living room is spacious and open so Gomes made it warm with her use of wood tables and upholstered chairs. She added comfort and preppy looks but didn’t go overboard. “It had to look sophisticated and be practical for everyday living with her family and pets,” says the designer.
The dining room was more of a project. By adding the wood panels and a large mirror, she made the space look and feel warm and inviting. She used a rustic table and modern chairs and buffet together with raw silk drapery. “The wife likes to cook, and they entertain frequently, so this room is popular and used often,” says Gomes. “The walls are darker beige tones.”
The family room is the most used space in the house and reflects the cottage aesthetic with a zip of color. Gomes added a red wall which makes a statement and allows the designer to put some color in the room and utilize her sense of style. Again, Gomes designed the space with a large sectional in beige with slipcovers so the family can lounge effortlessly while watching their favorite sport of soccer on television. The practical and functional materials used allow family members to sit, lounge or crash without worrying about ruining them. “It’s a beautiful room and all the family members love it,” she says. “They spend hours here enjoying international soccer games.”
Repeating the burst of color, she created a green wall in the guest bedroom. The furniture and furnishings are from West Elm, Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn, so the guests feel welcome and at home when they stay with the family. “The parents of the couple often stay in this room,” says Gomes. “With the bold color combined with easy living pieces they feel like they are part of the family scene,” says Gomes. “The green wall is a nice touch.”
The son’s bedroom was created with his sports passion in mind. It reflects every detail of his athletic life. A soccer player, he likes to surround himself with the sport. So Gomes found a large colorful photo of a soccer player and also created a wallboard with metal displays that feature soccer balls. “Then I attached the balls to give it an arty look,” she says. “It serves a specific purpose to highlight the son’s talents as a soccer player. Each ball is signed.”
The daughter’s room is also a metaphor of her personality and interests. A lifelong movie lover, especially old, glam tales like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it needed to reflect the vintage sophistication of that New York era when women dressed in white gloves and pretty outfits. While Gomes designed the room in pink and white, she also found a striking black and white picture of Breakfast at Tiffany’s star Audrey Hepburn, which she placed over the bed. “I made the room look romantic with custom linen drapery trimmed in pink, a full feminine linen bed, and mirror.” The designer even added a shiny throw pillow with a kitten motif which adds texture, animation and sophistication to the charming decor.
Even the first-floor powder room looks straight out of a film. Gomes added beige print wallpaper to add texture but kept it casual without going overboard on the shabby chic look. “The wallpaper is country without being country,” the designer notes. “It is another version of beige and certainly is not shabby chic.”
Despite the differences in the wife and the designer’s ideas, they meshed perfectly in the execution of the design, thanks to the open communication throughout the process. “I was delighted with the outcome,” says Gomes. “When I saw how happy the owners were as they saw the entire house come alive, I was thrilled. As a designer, I went inside of their heads and heard their live stories. It helped me achieve our goal, which was the ideal environment that they had envisioned.”
Their happiness is what gave Gomes the most satisfaction
“She likes the cozy look, but I had to incorporate that into a thoroughly modern interior.”