By BARBARA BOWERS Special to The Citizen
Leigh Ann Roach's household accessory choices are bold -- hot pink flowers on drapes, apple-green kitchen tiles, vivid artwork. Even the walls that wrap her carefully orchestrated interior design boast color, albeit pastels, which offer milder tastes to showcase the likes of brightly striped bedspreads in the "lemon meringue" bedroom, or the stacked box-and-drawer dresser in the "melon popsicle" guest room.
"I love bold colors and always find something that inspires me to decorate around them," said Roach, who owns 3 Bay Drive on Saddle Bunch Keys with her husband, Tom. "This all started with a flower fabric by Tricia Guild."
Made into drapes for the living-dining area, the floral pink, green and white linen is also used for the kitchen's scalloped shades. Nearly everything else in the great room blends with this fabric: a flowery metal chandelier painted to match these colors, a deco crystal lamp that picks up tones of burgundy, mauve walls at the entry hallway, Jack Baron pink cats and gold dots and a hot pink upholstered chaise lounge to offset the white-cloth sofa.
Roach admits she's a fan of the cottage look, and this big, bright and cheery central room is as country fresh as fruit compote.
"A friend actually dubbed it the fruit salad house," she said. But the open-market friendliness that hubs around the huge butcher-block island, demarcating kitchen from living area, didn't initially come this way.
"We really bought the house in 2004 for the water view," said Roach, a Realtor and property manager for Truman & Co. "The total renovation followed."
First, the couple had to resolve some structural issues in the four-bed/three-bath concrete block structure. In so doing, new plumbing and wiring were installed; walls were knocked out and a complete new floor was surfaced throughout the house in the form of Travertine-like ceramic tiles.
Big glass-plate windows replaced two jalousie picture windows in the living room that until the 2005 remake did a disservice to the fabulous ocean view and glory of nature just feet beyond its double doors.
"The boat basin and the seawall were here -- part of why we love the house -- but we had the pool built and did all the landscaping ourselves," Roach said. "Finding the right recipe for saltwater-tolerant plants was accomplished through the trial-and-error method."
She says that when the couple isn't in the pool or boat, scouting the bay for hogfish to spear, the "fantasy patio" is their next favorite hangout. It stretches across the rear width of the house, and serves the outdoor dining and entertainment flow from the centrally located kitchen, living and dining room. Two more sets of doors open to the patio on either side of the great room -- from the three-bedroom guest wing on the left, and the owners' bedroom wing on the right.
Their bedroom suite makes up roughly 900 of the 2,800-square-foot house. The bathroom, where size alone goes above and beyond the amenities of most standard bathrooms, is really Roach's spa.
Consider her half of the double sinks: It features a purple orchid spike in the porcelain that is mimicked in a print on one of the white walls.
Guaranteed to remain in perpetual flower mode, the orchid influence in this bath pales in comparison to the pink walls, green trim and purple-orchid shower curtain in one of the guest wing's bathrooms. However, in the master bath shower stall, an indoor window overlooks the air-bath tub next to it, nicely spicing up the spa.
A room-sized closet off the morning kitchen/mud-and-laundry room adds even more luxury to the suite's sleep-and-sitting room, which is also a two-room combination.
From the carpeted floor where the four-poster bed reigns supreme, a step down through two wide archways accesses the tiled-floor sitting room. Here, an apple-green leather sofa offers a hint of the fruit salad, but a wider sense of nature prevails: Turquoise walls, seashell lamps and ocean and sky are brought together indoors via a wall of windows, and generally, the 1960s architectural style is served up a la Old Florida.
"My husband Tom is so comfortable with his masculinity, I can do just about anything I want with the décor," Roach said.
Coming soon a Key lime cookie boat?
Mmmm ... maybe not.
Barbara Bowers is a Key West writer and host of a radio talk show about owning and maintaining property in the Florida Keys. To suggest a home to be featured in the Keys Homes section, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Homes listed for sale may not be considered.