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Collaborating With Like Minds is Always a Pleasure

Posted on April 17 2020

By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News

I love decorating projects that involve a true collaboration between the decorator and the clients, and I’m lucky to be involved right now in such an endeavor.

I’m extra lucky because the clients are architect Gary Eliopoulos and his wife, Toni, who are building a new home for themselves in Delray Beach.

It’s a fun project, and filled with decorating elements that are perfect for our subtropical location.

Gary has been working in South Florida for over a decade and has been busy designing an addition to the Marriott Hotel on Delray’s Atlantic Avenue as well as residences on Sugar Island and in Boynton Beach. I have known Toni for years after becoming friends with her on the island of St. Croix. There I was the decorator for her dad’s popular restaurant, Frank’s, a gathering place for tourists and local islanders on the Christiansted waterfront.

Back here in Florida, Gary and I designed a restaurant together in Palm Beach Gardens.

So I was only too happy to assist my friends in the planning of the interiors of their new home. Into the plan, my team and I have incorporated treasures from the family’s collection of Caribbean beds and antiques, as well as sofas, chairs, and accessories that once resided in their previous homes.

The Eliopoulos’ household has been pared down, as their three children, who were raised and schooled in South Florida, no longer live in their childhood home. But as loving parents, Toni and Gary have made sure to provide fine accommodations for their trio on their visits to the new house. This is to be a house where it’s always home sweet home with the family.

How do the three of us work on the home design? Easily, as we all honestly speak our hearts and minds when it comes to color and layout. We appreciate each other’s expertise and abilities. Many times architects and decorators disagree from a style point of view, but not here.

Here are a few design pointers that we agree will be included as finishing touches. Maybe you can borrow some for your own Florida retreat?

* The ceilings, including those in the bedrooms, are to be painted a soft Floridian sky blue. What a nice way to awaken, by looking up and enjoying a sense of serenity and a touch of magic color.

* All rooms excluding the entry foyer and all bathrooms, are to be painted white, white, white. Any spaces not painted white will have wallcoverings from the Dorothy Draper Fabrics & Wallcoverings collection. The entry, for instance, will feature Bali Ha’i, a fretwork pattern in blue on white.

* Flooring throughout the house is to be wood of a light honey-pine color. Tile work will be used on bathroom floors and shower walls.

* Most of the lighting in the home is recessed, except for a wall sconce and ceiling fixture in the entry and a series of pendants to be hung over the kitchen island counter.

In essence, the new look is what you would call simple — and perfectly executed simplicity when decorating is always best, I say.

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