Designer Andrew Howard fashions a fresh start for a young florida family. Their Jacksonville home is filled with comfortable, livable rooms.
The laid-back coastal community in Jacksonville, Florida, that Susan Grattan calls home is about as far from the red carpet as you can get. That didn’t stop her from feeling a little starstruck the first time she met her designer, Andrew Howard, on the site of her soon-to-be-built abode. A former Atlanta resident, Susan had spent many afternoons in her youth walking dreamily through Howard’s parents’ prominent home store there. “I used to love Phoebe and Jim Howard’s place,” Susan says. “So by the time I finally met Andrew, it felt like I was meeting a movie star. I had never imagined I’d be able to work with him one day.”
And Howard didn’t disappoint. The two formed an immediate bond, laughing when they traded identical inspirational tear sheets and finding that they shared a common design goal: to create a casual, comfortable home for Susan’s young family that was at once elegant and completely approachable. “I’m really big on spaces that aren’t too stuffy,” Howard says. “We wanted for everyone to live in every room of the house—to be able to put down a drink or prop their feet up.”
Designer Andrew Howard outfitted the entry simply, with a round table and a plush rug from Capel Rugs, in order to allow the paneled walls to take center stage.
It was the home’s architectural strength that allowed Howard to turn up the drama inside, with soaring ceilings in a variety of creative approaches—a wallpapered ceiling in the dining room, painted overhead beams in the living room, gravity-defying vaults in the master bedroom and family room—and lots of unexpected hits of color.
Chairs upholstered in orange velvet from Designers Guild surround a dining table from Sherrill Furniture. Anya Larkin wallpaper on the ceiling and the “Vivian” chandelier from Circa Lighting add drama.
The living room got a much softer treatment, with pale blue walls that are subtly enhanced by a custom-made lavender rug. “I don’t like for every room to feel the same,” Howard explains. “I want each one to be unique and memorable.”
Living Room Details
Patterend pillows add flair to the blue-gray sofa from Mack Southern. On the dresser, coral in a bell jar is a nod to the nearby beach.
The Grattans are often busy entertaining friends and family, a task made infinitely simpler by the state-of-the-art kitchen with its oversized working island. “People pass by all the time on their way back from the beach,” says Susan, “and I love it. There’s nothing like standing in the kitchen making dinner for people I care about, especially when I’ve got such a great view out to the pool.”
“Tad and I agree upon most things when it comes to decorating,” Susan says of her husband, “so he was content to let me make most of the decisions from room to room. When it came to his office, though, he knew exactly what he wanted.”
While most of the house is light and bright, Howard worked with Tad to fashion a space with the feel of a real gentleman’s study, one that features dark-stained, wood-paneled walls with built-in shelving and overstuffed seating—the ideal setting for after-dinner cigars.