Southern Classic

Color and pattern transform the interior of this refined Winter Park home from dull to dynamic.

The formal parlour, in shades of blue with metallic accents, is a tranquil space where the Platts family can read a book or listen to music.

Stephen Allen Photography

When local architect William Platts and his wife Heather bought their Old Florida home in Winter Park, they knew within months that they wanted an updated look. While the home’s exterior style is traditional, with white siding and shutters, the rooms were dark and drab, and the family room walls were painted ketchup red.

They met with Bridget Ray, NCIDQ, whose firm Ray Interior Design is based north of Heathrow. William Platts’ business partner, Randall Slocum, had worked with Ray years ago at another design firm, and he facilitated the connection.

The Platts knew what they wanted: casual yet elegant living spaces and Old Florida style. They  have a collection of paintings with scenes of Florida landscapes and grand Southern homes, and these artworks helped inform the design direction. 

Ray re-designed the first floor of the house with custom accent pieces and new wall, floor and window coverings, which helped to creatively and fully integrate the Platts’ existing artworks and some of their furniture pieces. 


The room, which may be the most formal space in the house, is a serene getaway where William plays the couple’s baby grand piano. It also serves as a quiet place for the family, which includes two young sons and a dog, to read, escape from the television or visit with guests.   

Ray created draperies using layered shades of blue fabric for the four large windows in the room. “The draperies complement the light blue wall color that resembles silk,” says Ray. “A glass bead trim was added for detail on the tiebacks, and the hardware on the drapery rods brings out the silvery tones in the upholstery on the new furniture.”

The parlour room walls “were painted in layered shades of blue and the chairs were covered in a medium blue fabric with a formal silvery finish on the tables and lamps,” the designer notes.

The round, custom-made area rug adds a contemporary touch in creamy white with a shimmer in the weave. The ottoman is covered in a complementary blue fabric and finished with blue fringe. 

The more casual family room (STEPHEN ALLEN PHOTOGRAPHY)

Family Room

The family room has a wide opening that connects to the kitchen. When the Platts are cooking, they can watch their sons playing and watching TV in the family room. It was designed to be casual and kid-friendly, utilizing durable fabrics and finishes, while still exuding an Old Florida gentility. 

Built-in window seats with cushions and bolster pillows flank the fireplace and built-in bookshelves. Throw pillows for the window seats, chairs and sofa are covered in a variety of colorful fabrics, from a solid blue to an orange cheetah print to a dusty blue and cream tiger print. 

The ceiling is painted in a pale coral tint, which brings out the warmth of the grasscloth wall coverings and the room’s accent pieces. “I don’t like to leave ceilings naked,” says Ray. “The color adds a really nice element to the room.” A custom nylon area rug resembles natural jute but is more durable to accommodate the activity of the Platts’ sons. 

Inviting dining room (STEPHEN ALLEN PHOTOGRAPHY)

Dining Room

Ray removed the dated floral wallpaper and replaced it with a chic, chinoiserie-inspired light blue wall covering with copper-colored veining that has a marbled effect. 

“The wallpaper is the biggest statement in the room,” says Ray. “Their guests always comment on it, and it’s a nice pattern that sets the tone for the color scheme without being overbearing. 

“Some people think of wallpaper as what it was in the 1980s, and they aren’t exposed to the beautiful, amazing wallpaper that’s out there now. Once they see it, they’re interested.”

The the mix of graphic patterns in the dining room chairs and rug  (STEPHEN ALLEN PHOTOGRAPHY)

The Platts decided to keep their formal dining set, and Ray upholstered the chair seats in a vivid geometric pattern of blue and coral over a cream background that makes a visual connection with the custom-made area rug by Milliken and custom drapes. A beautiful chandelier shimmers above the dining table and a traditional buffet echoes the room’s colors with a large ceramic coral urn and a collection of blue and white Chinese-inspired ceramics. On the wall above the buffet hang two of the Platts’ Florida landscape paintings.

To see the home today, you would never know that Ray transformed it from a somber Mediterranean-style interior with heavy reds and browns. Now light, bright and inviting, it’s the setting the Platts dreamed of for their family. +

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