Tree Huggers in Residence

There’s no place like a green home for eco-students living on Rollins campus.

Photo by Tina Russell

When a group of modern-languages students at Rollins College moved out of the school’s Mowbray House after its last year of classes, school organizations were invited to submit proposals for taking up residence in the vintage home.

Eco-Rollins jumped at the chance, but wasn’t optimistic. “We thought it was a long shot,” says Theresa Chu, president of the environmental group. The group’s proposal was to make the place a “green” house that would serve as a testing ground and inspiration for sustainable living on campus.

After Eco-Rollins got the nod to move in, club members spent the summer working on the home. They removed a cement parking lot, which had been a barrier to soil penetration by rainwater, and recycled it as crushed rock to line pathways and define gardens. In its place, the students built elevated garden beds where they grow vegetables. The club also uses a worm farm for onsite recycling, feeding its inhabitants organic garbage, including junk mail and dryer lint.

The students made other environmentally friendly improvements to Mowbray House, among them replacing all of the home’s incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, painting the interior with paint free of volatile organic compounds and installing rain barrels to collect water that’s used for irrigation.

Seven club members moved into the five-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath, 2,800-square-foot house.

“I feel like by having a house, we have a bigger presence on campus and people are being made more aware of being more sustainable,” says Chu, the house manager. “I think we can be a great example on campus for reducing waste.” 

Birds of a Feather

Timothy’s Gallery on Park Avenue in Winter Park is filled with handcrafted pieces of decorative, functional and even wearable art. Among the lively jumble of colorful and whimsical pieces are charming mixed-media birds (above) created by Florida artists Jim and Tori Mullan. At their studio, Mullanium Jewelry & Home Accessories in Pompano Beach, the couple use pieces from old games, scientific instruments, hardware and other found objects to adorn the handmade birds. Perch one on a windowsill or land a flock of them on a mantel to create a decorative flight of fancy. They’re priced from $195 to $500. 236 Park Ave. N., Winter Park, 407-629-0707;



Springs Inspire

I paid a recent visit to Gaylord Palms Resort’s newly redesigned Relâche Spa (formerly Canyon Ranch Spa) and was instantly entranced by the décor. Florida’s coastal scenery often is used as a backdrop for tranquil settings in our state’s spas, but Tampa-based Urban Studio Architects went in a unique direction with the Relâche spa renovation, tapping our region’s springs—Wekiwa, Blue and De Leon—as the source of inspiration for creating a calming interior.

Designed with a soothing color palette of pale and deep blues, grassy greens, and earthy browns (above left), Relâche Spa’s interiors set a calming mood, like that of a natural spring itself. The reflective quality of water is captured in the iridescent glass tile (above right) used throughout, and the reception area’s glass bubble lights (top inset) further the aquatic theme. My favorite Florida touch is the alligator-scale wall tile in the lounge areas. Local retailers were the source of many of the spa’s decorative finishing touches. The Mall at Millenia, including Z Gallerie and Crate & Barrel, as well as West Elm near the mall, proved to be fertile hunting grounds for those accessories.

The overall effect is one of refreshing tranquility—much like the springs that provided the initial inspiration.


Pulitzer’s Lounge Act

Nothing says “Florida” quite like the bold and cheeky fabrics that are the Lilly Pulitzer brand’s stock in trade. Now the iconic clothing brand is being re-imagined to include home furnishings, specifically the so-cute Everglades lounge chair (right) that was introduced at the High Point annual fall furniture market in North Carolina. The chair’s curvy green frame and plump cushions have a retro appeal that would have looked right at home at the Kennedy’s Palm Beach compound of the 1960s. It’s a nostalgic silhouette that fits in nicely with today’s eclectic approach to décor. The price for the chair is $1,999. The Lilly Pulitzer home collection will be available in stores this spring.

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