Preppy Meets Posh in This Colorful California Beach Home
Childhood pals relied on their shared history—plus a love for all things colorful and a bit glam—to energize a sleepy California house.
With papers signed, keys in hand, and a bunch of plain rooms in need of an update, California transplant Whitney Hanley also had the perfect person on speed dial: her childhood friend, interior designer Amanda Reynal. "Whit and I have always shared a slightly whimsical sensibility: Neither of us shies away from color, and we like to keep the mood light and fresh,” says Amanda.
With lively but casual glamour, the home is part classic Palm Beach, part chic garden party. It’s an aesthetic the two shared even as they learned to ride horses, obsessed over Lilly Pulitzer dresses, and daydreamed about life after middle school in Long Island, circa 1985.
In the dining room, graphic zebra artwork makes a modern counterpoint to the dining room's traditional Chippendale-style chairs. "Art is the soul of a home," says Amanda. "I like contemporary pieces in traditional interiors because if you do everything in the same style, the look gets stagnant." Pops of preppy pink, blue and green repeat throughout the home.
To transform the entryway from a pass-through to a comfy niche, Amanda built in a window seat, framed a vintage Pucci scarf, and pulled up a couple of garden stools that bring the outside in. No longer a drop zone, Whitney says it might be her favorite spot in the house. Trellis motifs like this real wood lattice are repeated throughout the house.
The fresh colors and lively spirit of a large abstract painting by Des Moines artist Robert Spellman served as the jumping-off point for the whole house. Geometric fretwork designs like this pagoda-style shelf provide extra interest and outdoor-living vibes. A vintage menagerie adds personality and keeps things from getting too serious.
Woven pendants and a bamboo mirror are unexpected touches in the white-on-white kitchen. "There has to be some personality—a few plot twists. The space should give a feeling for what really matters to the people," says Amanda. Trellis wallpaper reinterprets the wood lattice in the entrway.
A mix of patterns in a narrower palette keeps the master bedroom lively but tranquil. "Think of the rooms as symbiotic: You could take any piece of furniture, pout it in another room, and it would still work beautifully," says Amanda. Framed artwork continues the blue and beige palette above an upholstered bed frame with a funky chevron pattern. A crisp white bedspread helps calm a roomful of texture.
This vintage desk was a lucky find during a Palm Beach shopping expedition. It didn’t appear particularly special in white, Amanda says, “But lacquered this rich blue, all of the little details suddenly came into their own.” Tame bright colors by repeating them throughout the house and framing them with neutrals.
The Chinese Chippendale-style motif of the outdoor furniture echoes the indoor style. A blue and white striped umbrella keeps the California sun off of guests dining al fresco.