Fantasy Kitchen Comes to Life

A Florida family creates the sunny space of their dreams.

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Photo by: Jessie Preza

Jessie Preza

After 10 years in a cozy yet dark and chopped-up Mediterranean-style house, Emily Coleman was envisioning a family paradise: something bright and open, with enough room to host parties for 50-plus guests. In 2016, when a lot became available six doors down from their home in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, she and husband Gary snapped it up, then set out to design and build their ideal home. Emily was especially excited about a new kitchen. Working with local designer Kathleen Franza, Emily brought her ideas to life: lots of windows (all the better to take in the views of the Intracoastal Waterway in the backyard); an island big enough to accommodate food prep, eating, and homework; and modern styling that’s still hangout-friendly. “I saved so many photos of white kitchens,” says Emily. “Sometimes I still can’t believe this one is mine.”

Open Shelves

Photo by: Jessie Preza

Jessie Preza

“Views are everything—we live on the water,” says Emily. She traded upper cabinets for windows, and put in 2-inch-thick open shelves to hold dishware. Behind them, 4-inch-by-16-inch subway tiles by Anatolia Tile + Stone make a modern, stacked design for the backsplash. Dark gray quartz counters by Caesarstone add contrast.


Large basket weave pendants from Palecek, made from rope and rattan, add a tropical touch and warm up the white space. They look contemporary thanks to their simple domed shape.


At 10 feet long and almost 5 feet wide, this island is practically its own getaway. For a bright, sleek look, Emily chose honed gray-and-white Carrara marble for the top. There’s plenty of storage, with drawers for pots and pans on the side near the range, plus a row of shallow cabinets in front of the barstools, where Emily stashes candles and seasonal accessories.


Even the custom-made barstools are fantasy material! They’re armless, for max elbow room, and super cushy (the VillaNova fabric is stain-resistant, too—key for a kid and a dog), with a cool driftwood-like finish on the legs. “I wanted something more unexpected than typical coastal colors,” Emily says, “and I like the way the eggplant fabric looks with the gray floors.”


“You can literally walk out our kitchen to the boat docked in our backyard, so we wanted floors with that same casual vibe,” says Emily. She got engineered hardwood planks by Bella Citta Floors with a grayed-out finish—the look of a weathered boardwalk right in her kitchen.


Photo by: Jessie Preza

Jessie Preza

Around the corner from the breakfast nook is the nearly 5-foot-deep walk-in pantry, where Emily stores cookbooks and a mother lode of after-school snacks for Caleb. The sliding paneled door is fitted with gliding hardware from Real Sliding Hardware in a lemon yellow finish.

Breakfast Nook

Photo by: Jessie Preza

Jessie Preza

The breakfast nook fits an 8-foot-long oak table and a matching bench from Crate & Barrel. The custom yellow bench is upholstered in a VillaNova linen blend.

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