This Refurbished Florida Condo Has Pure Palm Beach Style
Grand Florida Refresh
Marcie Bond has one simple rule when it comes to decorating: "Wing it." "I'm not one to take myself—or design—too seriously," she explains. So when Marcie and her husband, John, bought a Palm Beach apartment as a pied-à-terre for the four or five days a month when they visit the mainland from their home in the Bahamas, she resolved to furnish it with a delightful joie de vivre. "We come over for doctors' visits and errands, and I wanted it to feel like an extension of our home, not just a "bed in a box,"" says Marcie, who owns a resort clothing boutique in Nassau.
The apartment is housed in a 1961 building designed by notable Modernist architect Howard Chilton. The space had the same midcentury bones as the Bonds' house in the Bahamas, and it doesn't allow rentals (it's technically a co-op), so Marcie knew she could get to know her neighbors the way she does at home.
The one thing it lacked was her brave signature style: vivid color, sophisticated patterns, and gutsy surprises. "I wanted it to feel authentic, in that Old Florida way," she says. "And if that meant putting a pair of canvas palm trees in the dining room, well, I went with it. The more stories a house can tell, the better."
Despite her fanciful approach, she isn't impulsive. "I'm not a designer, and I'm actually very slow to make decisions—or spend money—so this little place took me two years to furnish," says Marcie. She drew valuable insight from her brother, designer John Fondas, and scoured eBay and Etsy and scavenged through junk shops and consignment stores to find what her gut told her was right for the space. Now, grasscloth and trellis wallpaper warms the walls, and whimsical accessories hint at her sunny disposition. Here's more on how she maxed out the style potential of her family's part-time pad.
Give Vintage Furniture the Floor
"When I walk into a house and everything is new, I feel like it lacks soul," says Marcie. "But when I see plenty of old things, I feel like I can sit down and stay awhile, because it has stories to tell." For instance, she headlined her breakfast room with an Amos Ferguson painting—done with house paint on cardboard—that she bought from the famous self-taught Bahamian artist 20 years ago. "It's truly a prized possession," she says. "If the air-conditioning vent over it ever leaks, I'll weep." The white, bamboo-style dining set was an eBay find, and the tablecloth is from Zara Home.
Be Shameless with Color
"Color is everything. I couldn't live without it," says Marcie, who paid homage to Old Florida in her palette. The sofa (an eBay find) is re-covered in a comfortable, inexpensive fabric similar to a basketweave texture. It syncs with a tonal geometric rug and a pair of slipper chairs, which tout Palm Beach's second eminent hue: lime green. A collection of 1970s hand-painted maps of the Bahamas hangs in bamboo frames. The rug is by Madeline Weinrib.
Have Fun With a Coastal Icon
Marcie flanked the vintage rattan dining table and chairs with a pair of decorative palms. "They are made out of canvas fabric, so they soften the room," she says. "They instantly made it feel cozy." She also hung a print of Palm Beach from the 1960s above the vintage console (newly lacquered in white). "It's not serious art—it's from photos.com—but it makes me so happy because it says everything about the era I was trying to recapture in this apartment."
Restore Order With Symmetry
Though Marcie uses color and pattern liberally, she balances it by creating order. "I'm obsessed with symmetry," she says. "I may be really bold when it comes to a color—like reupholstering this 1960s sofa in a bold orange fabric—but I'm adamant about ensuring there's balance around it." So she added matching side tables, ceramic lamps with identical drum shades, and a pair of vintage rattan yacht chairs to ground the vivid color.
Throw In a Few Wild Cards
"It's nice to have a surprise in a room, something that becomes a conversation piece," notes Marcie, who added dimension and whimsy with a pair of Balinese cotton umbrellas. "These are the kinds of layers that make a house unforgettable." Red piping on the rattan sofa's neutral batik-print cushion is another bright addition. The Billy Baldwin slipper chairs are scores from local haunt Circa Who, reupholstered in a jewel-toned China Seas pattern.
Expand Your Pattern Playbook
Sticking to one primary color in the master bedroom gave Marcie the freedom to play with various prints. "Sometimes in Palm Beach things can go too preppy, and I wanted to steer clear of that," she says. "I have found that I'm really drawn to Indian textiles because the block-print patterns often blend effortlessly with a tropical look—they are more subtle." A blue-and-white striped Dash & Albert rug anchors the white bamboo bed she found on One Kings Lane. "I tend to view stripes as a neutral—they don't feel like an additional pattern to me," Marcie says. The quilt and shams are from Serendipity Delhi, and the lamps are from Circa Lighting. The benches at the end of the bed are vintage Ficks Reed.
Find Beauty in Squat Ceilings
"Say what you want about low ceilings, but I personally love them, because they make a room feel cozier," says Marcie of the 8-foot ceilings throughout. "It reminds me of being on a boat." Her brother, John, suggested accentuating them in the kids' bedroom by creating a pair of tall pelmets, or box valances, for the twin beds. "They were the most expensive thing in the entire apartment, but my brother was right. They simply made the room." Fashioned from two China Seas fabrics—a solid orange coupled with Barbados Batik—the pelmets make a dramatic backdrop for the cane beds from Red Egg. The bedding is from Roller Rabbit.