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Name: Lizzie Darden (TikTok: @lizzie_darden), my boyfriend Shawn, our two cats Peachy and Tiny Cat, and our 19 year old chihuahua Roxy
Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida
Size: 1600 square feet
Type of Home: One-story house, built in 1960
Years Lived In: 6 months owned
We immediately fell in love with this place, mainly because of the location. In December we moved from Jacksonville to Cocoa Beach and stayed at a bunch of different Airbnbs while we house hunted and figured out what part of town would be ideal for us since we were brand new to the city. We loved the area we ended up in now because it’s so walkable and bike-able, which was the complete opposite of the spread-out suburban area we were used to, and something we had been craving. Most afternoons we hop on our bikes and take a quick ride down to one of our favorite local beachside bars or restaurants; We’re just really trying to embrace the beachy vibes that are new to us.
When we toured this home in person one of our favorite parts was the bathrooms — two mid-century original pastel tiled bathrooms with matching monochromatic fixtures, like complete with sky blue toilet and towel bars and everything. In the 1970s condo we had just moved from there was a similar style set of bathrooms, one pink and one blue just the same, but they were in rougher shape and couldn’t really be restored, so we saw this as the perfect opportunity to do it right this time and really lean into the kitschiness of the style.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Colorful eclectic maximalism with some Art Deco and Post Modern Memphis influence. The overall vibe I’m going for, for the house is a bit of a hodgepodge: an artist’s 1970s beachside pad mixed with pared-down Parisian glamor and of course lots of lighthearted elements like cantaloupe bowls and giant giraffes, kind of like elevated whimsy I guess! I really just want every corner filled with as much color, texture, and patterns as possible. This is also the first time I’ve leaned into “beachy” decor and I’m having a blast incorporating stuff like quirky shell pieces and ceramic lobsters as little Easter eggs throughout the rooms.
Inspiration: Art Deco-style hotels, any type of bold geometric patterns.
Favorite Element: I love how much natural light every room gets. Before I really had to be strategic about indoor houseplant placement (and went through a lot of struggling plants that were desperate for more sunlight), but here I can pretty much have them anywhere and everywhere, which is a dream that I’m absolutely taking full advantage of. All I ever wanted was to be able to have a bathroom filled with plants ah.
Biggest Challenge: Aside from the vintage bathrooms the rest of the home was a pretty blank slate; There aren’t really any notable architectural features or anything. That can be a pro and a con because you can really do anything with it, but it was tough figuring out what direction we wanted to take it in since it could really take on any style. There are still a few rooms to complete but I’m really excited about how it’s turning out overall.
Proudest DIY: I was obsessing over finding a mid-century Brutalist-style credenza for the living room but every time I came across one secondhand they were out of my price range, so I used some craft store wooden shapes and wood stain to embellish the media stand I already had to create a similar style.
Biggest Indulgence: Before we moved any of our furniture in, we had the floors professionally refinished and sealed. The whole house has original 1960 white terrazzo throughout it, but it had been a bit neglected so we wanted to restore it and bring that back to life. The service was on the pricey side (or maybe it just felt that way because I hate spending money on “practical” house stuff versus fun decor haha) and it meant we had to sleep on an air mattress for a few weeks while we waited for our appointment date, but it really brightened up the whole place.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Two of the bedrooms are on the smaller side, which is pretty typical for this style of mid-century Florida home, so I use one of them as my closet/home office. It’s a little too small to fit a guest bed in but it’s just the right size for some clothing racks and my desk, the perfect spot for me to sit and edit photos in.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Definitely our coffee table! We stumbled onto it at an antique shop and it was pretty much the coolest thing either of us had ever seen hah. It’s called the Grand Server boomerang bar, and the design was showcased at the 1963 World’s Fair. The top swivels open to reveal this bar with slots for bottles and barware that you pull up and lock into place to mix cocktails on top of right in the living room. It’s the best party trick ever.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I love over-the-door hanging storage, especially for bathrooms and closets. I also find myself collecting a lot of quirky little handmade ceramic trinket boxes and jars from thrift stores and I adore how they look in clusters, plus they’re practical! I store hair clips, matches, anything tiny in those, but from the outside it just looks like cute decor.
What most people get wrong about using color in their home: I think more people should paint their baseboards and ceilings in fun colors instead of just white! It really elongates the room and I think it looks so chic to have a wall, baseboard, and ceiling all in one matching color.
What’s your favorite wall paint color of all time: I love any and every shade of green! From a bold chartreuse to a deep forest green.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t be afraid to add some silly elements and don’t take decorating too seriously! For example I love to collect novelty food shaped pieces and lots of vintage kitsch that I find at antique shops or thrift stores. It’s so fun when a room has a bit of whimsy or an unexpected element that makes you do a double-take and laugh; it instantly makes a room so much more inviting and warm.
This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.