Designer Andrew Howard reimagines the look of this Jacksonville, Florida, home with a rainbow of shades
When a young family approached designer Andrew Howard about taking on their recently purchased home in Jacksonville, Florida, they had just one request: Use a different color palette for every room in the house. The 40-year-old riverfront home was in good shape, but it lacked panache. Even for Howard—who’s known for his vibrant, cheery spaces—this was quite the task. Fortunately, he knew exactly where to start. “The first thing I did was pull out the personalities of the homeowners,” the designer says. Next, it was all about the balancing act. “I think there’s a way to distribute color throughout your home while really reflecting who you are,” he adds. “You want to make it flow from room to room.” He achieved this with some strategic pairings, thinking critically about the in-between spaces, and (most importantly) keeping the big picture in mind. “People are so concerned with color. There’s still a fear of seeing too much of it in one space,” he says. “But I always think the rooms that we’re most scared of as designers and homeowners turn out the best.” Read on to see Howard’s eight bright decorating moves.
The Kitchen Before
The Kitchen After
In the kitchen, Howard set out to capitalize on every square inch of the small prep space. “We wanted to open it up, but that didn’t have to mean knocking down every wall in the whole place,” he says. Instead, the designer looked to the expansive riverfront landscape for his interior inspiration. The kitchen was filled with clean whites, crisp blues, and fresh greens. Howard strategically selected the Mosaic House backsplash to help continue the cool, soothing tones of the river into the airy kitchen. The Knicker Counter Stools are covered in a white faux leather, so wipe downs are a snap.
The Breakfast Nook
Flowering bushes surround the outside of the bay window where Howard tucked in a small dining banquette, which “not only looks good but also lets you maximize space by pushing the table into the corner,” he explains. To extend that garden vibe to the breakfast nook, he outfitted it with cushions in lush shades of green.
The Family Room
In the home’s gathering space, the designer let yellow have the spotlight without taking over. “This color works great if you combine it with greens, blues, and other hues to balance it out,” Howard says. “Yellow needs other shades to let it shine and be exciting, instead of allowing it to completely overwhelm an area.” In this room, green and blue tones pulled from Schumacher’s Citrus Garden print on the chairs balance the bold hue of the sofa. Mixed with a natural-fiber rug and warm wood accents, it feels calm and casual.
The Powder Bath
“A lot of times, clients ask me, ‘Doesn’t wallpaper get busy in a small space?’ But I actually think it seems much less busy in a small area,” Howard says, explaining the decision to go big in this powder bath. He started with an intricate wallpaper (Peter Fasano’s Persia in Tangerine) and then pulled together the palette from there, covering the vanity, ceiling, and trim in a rich plum hue. “I believe that when you have a colorful room with bold trim, a white ceiling is almost just mailing it in,” he says. “I always try to paint a ceiling with a little lighter value than the trim in these spaces.”
The Entry Before
The Entry After
Form and function rule in the entry hall, where Howard let the home’s architecture speak clearly with white. “Because the archway is so strong, I wanted to just let it be,” he says. “I didn’t mess with it too much.” He thought the room needed only a fresh coat of white paint and a few new pieces. After brightening up the walls, he made the space a convenient drop zone by adding a bench for putting on shoes and setting down bags.
The Dining Room
Here, Howard wanted to use a romantic palette that would glow in the dim light of dinner parties. “Because we already had a piece of art with the aqua, seafoam, and gilt colors, we wanted to complement it in an unexpected way,” he explains. “We tested a couple of colors, and once we landed on mauve, we knew we had found the one.” To prevent the dusty hue from feeling dated, Howard paired it with a modern chandelier from Arteriors and toned down the palette by using a teal fabric (just a few shades darker than the one in the painting) on the seat cushions.
The Master Bedroom Before
The Master Bedroom After
In the master bedroom, Howard started with the fabric on the chair and pulled out several tones of blue from it. “There’s not really a wrong answer when it comes to coordinating various blues,” the designer says. “It’s such a pretty hue that all different shades of it work well together.” Inspired by the scene outside the window, he chose a cool blue-green paint for the walls and then mixed and matched the textiles. “I think the view and the light are really what this room is all about,” Howard says. Finally, he added millwork to the high ceiling to break up the expanse of white drywall.
The Girl's Bedroom
When Howard heard that the two girls who were sharing this bedroom loved pink, the youthful scheme of blush and mint was a no-brainer for him. “Green and red are complementary hues on the color wheel, so light red and light green (technically pink and mint) work well together,” he says. He covered the walls with a subtle paper (Quadrille’s Mojave) and painted the ceiling using Flush Pink by Benjamin Moore. The matching bed frames and headboards are dressed in a zigzag print (Ferran’s Bargello) that ties into the rest of the home’s blue and green accents.