A Faux-riginal

This home’s Craftsman architecture and Mission interior design fit seamlessly into a downtown historic neighborhood.

This new Orlando home combines a Craftsman-style exterior with a Mission-style interior.

Before the real estate bust, I was inundated with invitations to visit new homes—sometimes whole streets of them—that had been decorated to the nines, even tens, in those heady days of extravagance. But now such invitations are rare, indeed. It’s a shame—those show homes gave me plenty to write about, as well as great decorating ideas and resources to share with readers.

So I was more than a little curious when I was invited to check out the new Craftsman-style home of Tom and Vivian Ward in downtown’s Lake Lawsona Historic District. Designed by architect David Runnels and built by Carlos Posada, both of Winter Park, the 3,900-square-foot home looks perfectly at home on the quiet, tree-lined street, as if it’s been there for decades.

But it’s the inside that speaks to this design junkie’s soul. Interior designer Grant Gribble of College Park stayed true to the home’s Craftsman roots without going to thematic extremes. There’s a luscious mix of Mission, Art Deco and Art Nouveau furnishings, fabrics, fixtures and wall coverings throughout—too many nifty decorative elements to mention, but here are some highlights:

■ The dining room is open to the kitchen and great room, but is visually defined by Mission-style columned built-ins.
■ The vividly hued tilework surrounding the fireplace includes a trio of Art Nouveau tiles as a focal point.
■ The William Morris-inspired wall covering applied to the foyer ceiling draws the eye upwards to take in the antique Art Deco light fixture.
■ The only remnant salvaged from the circa-1940 house that originally stood on the lot is a concrete decorative element that Gribble repurposed as outdoor wall décor.

It’s interesting that this home combines Craftsman and Mission styles, both of which represented a backlash against the overly ornate, impractical designs of the Victorian era that were in fashion when they were introduced at the turn of the 20th century. These styles are simple and functional, and this new home is certainly the antithesis of the over-the-top designs that defined the peak of the most recent housing bubble. The change is refreshing.

In a Tourist Epicenter, Signs of Sophistication

The tourist hotspot that extends from Sand Lake Road to the west and International Drive to the south is getting pretty darn sophisticated, which should come as welcome news to locals who think of that area as wall-to-wall tacky. I recently visited two new spots with décor that would look equally at home in Miami’s South Beach or New York City, and it was exciting to see how far we’ve come.

The aptly named Le Rouge Wine Bar & Tapas (left) on Sand Lake Road is aglow with red rope lights that line the walls and trim the bar. Floor-to-ceiling racks of wine bottles and a stone accent wall give the small space the ambience of a wine cellar, albeit one with chic white sofas and leather-clad bar chairs.

In the back, a glass-enclosed private room is available for small parties; the room’s sparkling chandelier entices outsiders to take a look at the sophisticated setting.

Just down the road on International, there’s The Peabody Orlando’s new hotel tower, which includes Rocks (right), a way-cool bar that looks like it came out of a Sex and the City movie set. Climb the curving stairs past the cascading chandelier and head for the bar—the best place to see and be seen in this swanky resort.

The circular ceiling changes colors, slowly morphing from sunset orange to DayGlo pink to sultry blue, but be careful—after a few too many “Rocks Burning” cocktails, the sight becomes positively mesmerizing.

The décor here is an eye-catching combination of fire and ice, from the backlit glass of flaming orange that surrounds the bar’s shelves to the snowball-shaped light fixtures that resemble the iconic “spaghetti lights” of the 1960s.

Very cool. And hot.


Haute Dogs

Home decorating just isn’t any fun without, well, a little humor injected into the mix. And this too-cute Happy Hot Dog Lamp (left) is just the thing to lighten up dull or dreary décor. Available in black or white, it’s made of hand-finished fiberglass. $350 at welldressedhome.com.




It’s a Shore Thing

Decorating with a beachy theme is tricky—without a little restraint, a room can be one seashell away from kitsch. Coastal Living magazine is one of those theme-specific shelter publications that does a nice job of keeping a seaside look in check, and now there’s a Coastal Living line of casual furniture from Stanley Furniture.
The collection is a well-balanced mix of clean lines and rustic finishes and textures. It includes a bed with a crisp white headboard and footboard that resemble island shutters, and a plank-style sideboard with distressed metal legs (right). The suggested retail price range for the collection is $629 to $3,079, and it’ll start arriving in stores early this month. Locally, you’ll find it at Aaron’s Fine Furniture in Casselberry and Baer’s Furniture in Altamonte Springs.

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