U-shaped layout of the cottage connects the living room, kitchen
and master bedroom to the lanai. A retractable awning provides
shade or cover from rain.
The first time
interior designer Emily Winters set foot in the cottage she designed
was to set it up prior to the client’s arrival. The project, on the
island of Kauai, was done entirely from Winters’ base at Peabody’s
Interiors in Brown Deer. "It was an exercise in trust, not only
from my client but also in myself, what I knew she’d love and what
would work," Winters says.
JR: So, how does
one go about designing a project long-distance?
foliage-surrounded outdoor shower is tucked under a staircase
that leads out to the lanai.
EW: The client
(a suburban Milwaukee resident) and I had done lots and lots of other
projects together and had established a trust. Otherwise, it could
have been a recipe for disaster. She started with a designer in
Hawaii, but it was not a good fit. Then it became her texting me
pictures, and me saying, "Give me this dimension from here to
here." I did a PowerPoint presentation, and we emailed and
chatted on the phone, working through all the different options of
what we could do.
JR: How did you
work the tropical environment into the design?
EW: One of the
things going for me is that I had worked in Tucson prior to coming to
Milwaukee, so I had designed in an environment with a lot more
sunshine. I was able to draw on my experience and remember what color
did in the intensity of the Tucson sunlight and intensify it even
more. We were able to use really bold colors not typical of our
environment here. All the fabrics and rugs used are indoor/outdoor
quality so that she can easily wash things as necessary.
The homeowner selected the wallpaper for the master bedroom,
which inspired the design of the room. The bedding, lamps and
mirror are all from Peabody’s Interiors; the rug is antique.
JR: How was the
retro vibe established?
EW: It was just
something the client decided she wanted, more of a plantation style
with a vintage feel to it. I spent a lot of time looking at images of
cottages from ’50s and ’60s and the balance of color and pattern.
I spent time in island vintage thrift stores, picking up accessories
and vintage art to draw on things from the environment.
JR: How fun was
that to scour local island shops for vintage pieces?
EW: I had done a
lot of research before we left to figure out the best island shops.
Once we arrived (Winters and Peabody’s Kelly Gallion), we worked
sunup to sundown getting the cottage ready. We spent an entire day
driving up one side of the island (shopping for accessories).
rock encloses the outdoor shower in the master bathroom. Foliage
creeps over the wall.
the large swing chair in the room above the garage, guests can
enjoy views of the property, which abuts an ancient burial
kitchen’s retro vibe is enhanced by decorative coverings on
the modern appliances. The countertops are wood.
chandelier in the dining area is antique; the tablecloth is
vintage and the surfboard was painted by one of the homeowner’s