Spanish and Mediterranean styles run wild in California, but Santa Barbara-based interior designer Taylor Bliss of Taylor Anne Interiors wanted to go the complete opposite in the recent redesign of a very special home. Situated on a 125-year-old avocado orchard (yes, you read that right), her clients’ 7,000-square-foot home pays homage to the couple’s penchant for Cape Cod-inspired design, mixing nostalgic architecture with tons of striking color.“This project was so much fun because each room tells its own color story,” says Bliss.
Since the house was designed as the forever home for a retired couple, Bliss relied on custom furniture, exciting prints and patterns, and textured accents to keep things fresh and inviting. “I had artisans working all over the country!” she exclaims.
Some standout examples? A custom wallpaper that reflects the entire family’s zodiac signs in the tower (lounge) area, the parchment, sloped coffee table in the living room that complements the woven furniture, and the intricate, hand painted floral wall in the dining area. For Bliss, it was imperative to make sure that the home had unique moments peppered throughout that had special significance for her clients, so that they’d know it was built especially for them.
As huge as it is, the entire home only has two bedrooms, so Bliss was adamant about lending each space its own distinct personality. And while the individual rooms are designed to stand out, she connected them by threading similar colors and undertones throughout. “I understand using pattern and color can be overwhelming,” says Bliss. “This is why I think it’s important to pick one thing and sort of carry it around the house, so that the whole house has the same narrative. But I also wanted to have fun with the colors, too!”
For instance, the bright pink chairs in the dining room are replicated with lighter undertones around the kitchen island and in the study, while the grasscloth walls in the main bedroom echo the carpeting in the living room. And while some rooms allow their brightness to shine, they’re broken up with more neutral spaces that allow the eyes to for a minute. “These are the areas that feel timeless and neutral,” Bliss says, pointing out how the living room gets its spark from the natural light enveloping the space, while the kitchen looks to wood and pastels for a homey feel.
The size and scale of the house didn’t come without its challenges, though. “The ceilings in this home are so high!” says the designer. “But I really wanted the spaces to be warm and inviting despite the scale being so vast.” To compensate, Bliss turned to texture, with custom rugs, cloth walls, woven blinds, and upholstered chairs illuminating certain nooks in the home. “As much texture as you can put in a space, the better,” says Bliss. “Then, the room just feels like it’s giving you a big hug when you walk in.” This, plus the rainbow of colors, give the space an inviting, unfussy feel.
“I think really it’s about what feels right,” she concludes. “That’s kind of how I design: If it feels right to you and doesn’t feel invasive, then it most probably isn’t. You really have to trust your gut feeling on that.” After all, isn’t the feeling you get when you walk into a room what design is supposed to be all about?
“My client wanted the dining room to feel fresh, inviting, and playful—not too stuffy,” says Bliss, who had the walls airbrushed, then upholstered chairs in a custom, hot pink leather.
“We didn’t want the kitchen to feel too glamorous or over-the-top, since the home is on a ranch,” says the designer. Instead, she used preppy Ralph Lauren chairs with subtle prints to provide a small pop.
“Two words: jewel box,” says Bliss, who used Tiffany’s signature blue as inspiration for the glam Benjamin Moore-painted cabinets, with high gloss metal enveloping the space. Since it was such a small area, she could go big without it looking like too much.
Bliss went more neutral in the living room to keep the focus on the views outside. “I really wanted the items to go straight out to the pool and the avocado trees, as that’s the center of the home,” she says.
Sunny yellow makes this room fun, but combined marble, wood, and pattern still give it a sense of sophistication that makes it ideal for more formal get-togethers.
“Grasscloth walls and neutral textures evoke that sense of comfort and relaxation,” says Bliss, who used a combination of materials all over in order to make the area as serene as possible.
Bliss calls this serene, blue-and-neutral space a “retreat,” and it’s easy to see why.
Facing those famed avocado trees, the guest bedroom goes all in with the New England theme, thanks to ocean-inspired pastels and a navy seat.
“The study was really fun to create with the raspberry Katie Ridder wallpaper,” says Bliss, who added pops of her client’s favorite color all through the tiny space, from desk accessories to a printed desk chair.
“This space was designed to feel like a departure from the rest of the main floor,” says Bliss of the dark hues in the powder room.
The custom zodiac wallpaper lends a dreamy vibe to this little nook that serves as a space to get away from it all.
Pure white sun chairs match the home’s exterior, allowing the orchard to get all the attention.
See more of the house below:
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