Transitional Living

Separating the inside from the out is no longer a way of life in home design.

Indoor and outdoor living areas are no longer distinctively separate spaces in the design of Florida homes. Today, the transition from indoors to out is practically seamless, thanks to weather-resistant fabrics and materials that look equally at home in the living room or out on the lanai, and home designs that erase the barrier between inside and outside spaces.

“People want a better connection to the outside environment,” says architect Phil Kean of Phil Kean Designs in Winter Park. A midcentury modern-style home he designed in DeLand elegantly illustrates this trend-cum-standard design element. The lakefront home’s two-story indoor-outdoor room (left) boasts walls of pocketing glass doors that erase the boundary between the home and lanai area.

The interior and exterior are visually linked via travertine flooring inside that segues to outside pavers in the same golden-beige shade. The ventless fireplace sheds warmth and light upon both areas. Retractable screens keep insects out during buggy evenings while containing 90 percent of the interior’s air conditioning. “Technology has caught up to our comfort level,” says Kean. “So now we can expand the livability of our homes by extending it to outside spaces year-round.”

Kean’s inside-out design strikes a harmonious balance between interior ambience and exterior living; no wonder this home won the 2010 Grand Aurora award design competition at the Southeast Building Conference in July.

A New Flame

A college internship took Orlando resident Karen Peters to the African country of Cameroon. Upon her return she began dabbling in exotic scents. While seeking ingredients and supplies for her perfumes, she came across some handmade containers from Ghana that inspired her to introduce scented candles for the holiday season. The candles’ containers have lids made to resemble the traditional earrings that are given as gifts by members of the Fulani, an African ethnic group. After the candle has burned down, you’re left with an attractive African-style container to display. $56 each at


Craving Glass

I just love the use of glass as a decorative element. Glass’s translucence allows its colors to take on an ethereal glow when illuminated—there’s no other material like it, and it’s one of the reasons I enjoy eating at CRAVE near The Mall at Millenia.

The restaurant’s sumptuous color palette of chocolate, saffron, cinnamon and nutmeg is further amplified by the generous use of glass in those hues. Walls clad with iridescent glass tiles can be found both inside and out, and stunning light fixtures composed of hand-blown glass orbs (above) by artist Andrew Brott lend an appetizing intensity. It’s a credit to the restaurant that all the flashy glass isn’t confined to the dining spaces; even the bathrooms boast gorgeous, glass-orb light fixtures.

The overall effect is beautifully tasteful. And the food’s pretty good, too.


Odd Sizes Add to Visual Appeal

Sometimes, an exotic treasure can translate into design serendipity. Such was the case in a recent home renovation in the Dr. Philips area of Orlando. The homeowners, Bruce and Susu Gordy, had purchased some hand-carved teakwood tiles from Costa Rica; they were gorgeous and richly grained, but the tiles weren’t uniform in size. Fortunately, the home’s renovators, Farina and Sons, were able to use the tiles to create a wall mosaic (left) in the foyer. The slight variations in size add to the visual interest.



Update Your Décor With Fancy Pillows

You’re not going to swap out your sofa each time a trend crops up, but you can stay au courant with pillows. Simply swap them out according to the season, your mood or the latest look.

For fall, stripes are in. Bold, often diagonal, stripes in luxe fabrics are the current twist on this timeless classic. I love Fred Red’s Modern Stripe leather pillows; they come in such scrumptious combinations as black and metallic gold, chocolate and teal, and white-on-white. The metallic silver and gold tone-on-tone versions can add holiday sparkle to your seating areas. Of course, such sophisticated style comes at a price—in this case, $495 each. Order by querying

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