Weaving Northern Design Esthetics into South Florida Seamlessly ... with Mary Jones
Updated: Feb 24
Mary Jones and I go way back. I almost hate to admit it but almost 20 years! In the early part of
the 2000s we often talked design for her listeners in Connecticut. The interviews were always
light, fun, and informative. Some conversations even spun off into talks about life, because that
is just who Mary is; she lets conversations grow organically!
As many of us know, life happens. A few years ago Mary decided it was time to hang up her hat
in Connecticut and explore life in another market. She landed in Southwest Florida. Remaining
in contact through the world of Facebook we watched each other’s careers take a few new turns, hers landing her as host of a talk show host on WENG Radio 1530 Southwest Florida, and for me an expansion into the Naples market.
This week Mary and I reconnected again behind the microphone, and it was like we never
stepped away. She is an amazing host. When we were discussing our topics, she suggested we
address a design dilemma that she herself and many of her friends in Florida are up against:
“I’ve moved to Florida, how do I create a design esthetic that is relevant but still embraces my
As Mary’s listeners found this week, it is very possible and not that difficult! Here’s a recap of
what we disused. You’ll quickly find that spinning your own style into a tropical environment is
fun and easy!
First, know that design is individual, just like our fashion choices. Each of us has our own
personality, and that should be reflected in our homes. It is exactly how we tell our story!
So, what runs deep in those Northern roots? Tartan Plaids, darker more saturated colors, rich
heavy woods, and more opulent uses of metals just to mentions a few. It can be a little
challenging to mix your tartan plaids and heavy dark chenille’s from the north, although fear
not; it can be done successfully!
Designer Robin Gannon of Boston recently proved it is not only possible but also stunning
through her design at the Palm Beach Kips Bay Showhouse. Robin mixed a rich green, navy, and
black wool plaid with crisp sheer fabrics and bright tropical draperies. She added reflective
qualities, such as crystals and mirrored finishes, then topped it off with splashes of intense
saturated colors like chartreuse, azure, and crimson.
Finally, we are seeing more color returning to design. Yes, even here in SWFL. Can I get an
AMEN?! Our coastal designs are starting to weave in bright yellows, saturated apricots,
apple greens, and even hot fuchsia!
Mixing those typical coastal colors with non-traditional colors is an unexpected spin. We recently used these over-scaled sconces by Dunes & Duchess in a beach turquoise blue for a dinette area. The spin we added was a black shade with gold interior. The sconces went from typical coastal to sophisticated with a touch of sass. Who doesn’t love a little sass in their design?!!
Following that desire for color, Osborne and Little just released a great new collection called
Summer House; indoor outdoor fabrics that are exactly that. These offer a tropical flair with more updated colors, making the desire to add more traditional elements a breeze!
Mixing antiques with more contemporary furnishings is also a wonderful way to soften
the coastal styling. It is elements like this that create that signature style, as is very much
Cashmere & Blue Jeans®!
So whether you’re ready to start a new chapter in your life by relocating to a new area,
or just looking to freshen up your current environment, know this: breaking away from
the traditional envelope of design will bring you a wildly successful design that is just
dripping with your personality and, well, your story!
I’d love to hear how you’ve started to tell your design story. Let’s hear it!