Tropical Style in the Suburbs

They may not live in Florida, but that didn’t stop this family from embracing the Sunshine State’s punchy look. They invited HGTV Magazine to take a look.
By: Erin Zammett Ruddy and

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Ranch-Style Outside

Avery Roberts has been to Palm Beach only once in her life, but she’s always had a thing for coastal living and all things pink and green. “I’ve been drawn to sunny, happy colors and that old Florida charm for as long as I can remember,” says the stationery designer. She began collecting and refinishing secondhand “Palm Beach–chic” furniture—like faux bamboo chairs and lacquer tables—as a hobby 10 years ago.

Island Time Inside

So when Avery and her husband, Tommy, moved into their home in Raleigh, NC with their daughters Alden, 9, left; and Sallie Clarke, 7; and their Brittany spaniel, Buxton, she didn’t let the location affect her design mission. Room by room it became a tropical paradise, filled with big floral prints, wicker furniture, and her favorite preppy color palette. “My home may be surrounded by pine trees, not palms,” she says, “but the inside still feels like a vacation.”

Living Room

The roll-arm sofa once belonged to Tommy’s mom. Avery had it reupholstered in a kelly green cotton blend and added pink and green pillows. The big, cushy club chairs from a consignment shop got re-covered in floral cotton fabric from P. Kaufmann. Both the faux bamboo coffee and side tables were yard sale finds that Avery had painted White by Benjamin Moore in a high-gloss finish—her go-to white for furniture.


Avery kept the original cabinets but painted them White by Benjamin Moore in a high-gloss finish. She also put in a white subway tile backsplash and changed the countertops from laminate to white quartz. Geometric-print wallpaper from Alan Campbell and a pink and green runner from the Stark outlet in Charlotte prep up the room.

Dining Room

White walls and curtain rods help make the colorful window panels the star of the room. The wood dining table, covered in a custom poplin cloth with hot pink trim, is paired with chairs from Williams-Sonoma Home. But nothing looks more Palm Beach than the 1950s Porter-style chair in the corner, which Avery found on eBay for $500 and upholstered in a turquoise and white fabric.


The foyer is one of the only areas with bright walls. “It’s a small space so I knew it could handle a loud orange,” says Avery. A faux bamboo mirror, spray-painted gold, hangs above a $50 buffet from Craigslist. Avery wanted to lacquer it white but instead had it stripped and stained to preserve the beautiful mahogany. A pair of robin’s-egg blue lamps from Robert Abbey sit on top.

Guest Bathroom

“Friends walk into this bathroom and say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so you!’” says Avery of the 1975 Carleton V wallpaper (, a quintessential Palm Beach design. The 1950s sconces come from The mirror was $100 on eBay, and she scored the wicker elephant at Pier 1 Imports.

Guest Bedroom

Avery loves mixing orange and green—“it’s refreshing and tropical,” she says. The bed skirt and curtains were made from an old Clarence House fabric that Avery found in a store in Virginia. The bed is dressed with a white matelassé coverlet that was Avery’s mother-in-law’s. The 1960s-style bamboo headboard, from eBay, is hung on the wall to make it the right height for the bed. In the corner is a rattan fan chair—a $15 Craigslist find.

Girls' Bedroom

The beds in Alden’s room don’t have headboards, so Avery used shams to make them feel finished. Floral bedding from Pottery Barn Outlet looks kid-friendly combined with chevron-print bed skirts (made with Premier Prints Zig Zag fabric).

Accent Wall

The striped pillow from IKEA plays off the room’s rainbow accent wall, which is opposite the beds. It features 12-inch bands of color separated by 3-inch white stripes. A cream dresser from eBay and white lamps from HomeGoods help tone down all the color.

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