With a juxtaposition of dark and light, cultures and periods, and monochromatic grays and whites with spots of azure, designer Melanie Martin crafted a home in Orange Beach that she calls her most challenging and most rewarding project to date. “We took an already beautiful condo at Turquoise Place and totally gutted it. For a designer, what could be more exciting that that?” Melanie says she had no idea what was in store for her when the homeowners walked into her shop at The Wharf. “She is a busy mother of four who truly loves beautiful things, and he is the ultimate perfectionist who brought out the best in me.”
Melanie and the owners, whose primary home is in Lafayette, Louisiana, quickly became close friends. “When you work for friends, you want everything to be perfect. I wanted them to have the best and be able to enjoy their family and relax in what I created for them. They both have a great sense of style, and I stayed awake nights making sure that this project was a reflection of them.”
Since they started with a gutted space, the design grew from the floors up. “Replacing the original tiles with beautiful African ebony bamboo was a huge challenge, but it really took us to another level,” Melanie says. “ Whenever I could, I created beauty by contrast––like pairing clean, white walls with dark bamboo floors.” The living room TV and fireplace wall was redesigned to be clean and contemporary. The eight-foot dining room table of Melanie’s own design is paired with an open bookcase by Noir, made of recycled wood. A collection of rare pieces of sea life decorate shelves that follow the same curve as the wall. Cabinets in the open-space kitchen also flow in a gentle curve and are topped with a rare quartz from Brazil that the owners found at a store in Lafayette. “It’s just the color of the waters of the Gulf, and it set the tone for the entire project,” Melanie says.
In every space, the look is clean and monochromatic, with subtle pieces of azure mixed among the dominate pale grays and whites. The master bedroom provides the most intriguing mix of culture and periods, she believes. “I paired an antique African hut door over the clean, contemporary bed and added chairs that are my own design. It’s a comfortable room with a design that really works well.”
The master bath was also fun, Melanie notes. “We redesigned everything. We changed the tub and shower to create a feeling of calm beauty and removed all the mirrors and sconces and replaced them with a solid mirror and pin lights above for maximum light.”
After months of blood, sweat, and tears, the outcome couldn’t have been better. “A great client is one that trusts me and says just go for it, and that’s exactly what they did. They truly love everything about the place, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”
Morley, Fran D. (2013, June/July).
A Touch of Turquoise. Coastal Lifestyle, 18-25.
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