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This Year's Real Simple Home Is the Modern Florida Beach House of Your Dreams

Dabito, Erin Wheeler, Kelly Finley, and other top designers eschewed seashell-and-sand clichés and instead embraced bold colors and patterns for a modern bungalow in the Rosemary Beach community in Northwest Florida.

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First Floor

Real Simple Home Floor Plan First Floor
Large porches bookend the main living spaces: kitchen, dining room and living room.

Christopher Testani

Living Room & Back Porch

Interior designer Dabito, power clasher and color savant, wanted his spaces to encourage relaxing and socializing.

In the living room, the story is about mixing color, pattern, scale, and texture. Dabito paired chunky pieces of furniture (the sofa, the fat-leg coffee table) with delicate sculptural lamps and simple sisal shades. All the different textures—the sofa’s weave, the jute rug, that nubby mushroom ottoman—look cozy and cool.

To make the back porch feel like an extension of the home, Dabito continued the bold patterns and colors outdoors. He designated an entertainment zone with an Ooni pizza oven and stationed a bar cart nearby so guests have easy access to food and drinks.


I’m all about mixing it up, especially with color. You don’t want too much of the same wood tone or too many of the same blues. You want a variety of materials and elements, but there has to be balance.

— Dabito

Christopher Testani


Designer Gina Gutierrez leaned into beachy blues and whites but brought in soft sage tile and surprising fixtures, keeping the room miles from nautical-cliché land.

There are plenty of lower cabinets, so Gina removed some of the upper ones to lighten up the space. On floating shelves, you can display the things you love.

Gina Gutierrez

I like to think of the big picture with design. Will you enjoy washing those dishes? Will everything have its place? There’s a sense of ease in the space. When it’s beautiful and you have the function down, it’ll make you smile as you gather with friends and family.

— Gina Gutierrez

Christopher Testani


The Home Edit team may be known for color-coding, but their real tricks are creating zones and keeping everything visible and accessible.

To overhaul the utility closet (pictured below), The Home Edit installed white Elfa shelves lined with labeled bins for stashing everything from dish soap to Glad trash bags. Wall hooks keep cleaning tools off the ground but within easy reach.

Storage Tip

According to the experts at Eggland's Best, eggs should always be kept in the main part of your fridge (not the doors!) so they stay colder and fresher for longer.

The Home Edit

You get the item or the space; you don’t get both. Live by the 80/20 rule: Keep your home no more than 80 percent full and leave at least 20 percent for breathing room.

— The Home Edit

Christopher Testani

Dining Room

Pulling from her kitchen design, Gina used the same blue Valspar paint, Pitch Cobalt, and light wood accents for a breezy flow. But she added sculpted black details for a slightly more formal feel.

Pick a Chair

A marble table can lean bougie, but mix-and-match seating makes the room less uptight. Here, black Windsor chairs look great with beechwood armchairs. Who knew?

Second Floor

Real Simple Home Floor Plan Second Floor
A second-landing lounge separates two bedrooms, each with its own en suite bathroom and porch.

Christopher Testani

Guest Suite

Hello, retro! Thanks to the 1960s color scheme, the plush textures, and a light that resembles a disco ball, visitors to designer Erin Wheeler’s guest bedroom will wake up feeling funky and fresh.

Sweet and Savory

Too much pink and peach can be cloying, so Erin threw in an avocado-green bed—a little acid to break up all the pastels.

Erin Wheeler

I wanted this to be a soothing retreat with softer shades. It’s coastal with a bohemian influence.

— Erin Wheeler

Christopher Testani

Second-Floor Landing

This awkwardly shaped spot connecting three floors and bridging two rooms gets some TLC from REAL SIMPLE senior home editor Leslie Corona, with leafy wallpaper, a splash of paint, and thoughtful details.

Good on Paper

The 1980s-style palm-leaf peel-and-stick wallpaper (inspired by The Golden Girls, obvi) jazzes up this nook under the stairs.

Color Connection

Vibrant green paint, Valspar's Green Trellis, ties into the leafy wallpaper across the landing while harmonizing with shades in the rest of the home.

marketing-real-simple-home-2022-florida-chair-2 copy-1_preview

Laurey Glenn, Stylist Zoë Gowen

Leslie Corona

Take advantage of color and pattern in the small pockets of your house to make them more delightful. And of course, add storage and function when possible. The guest room has no extra seating, so I created a reading nook in this little area.

— Leslie Corona

Christopher Testani

Primary Suite

A showstopping landscape mural inspires a palette of sky blue, earthy greens, and wood tones in Clara Jung’s design, a calming ode to the natural world.

A Mismatch Made in Heaven

Proof that design doesn’t have to be symmetrical: In the primary bedroom, pictured above, Clara used a desk in place of a nightstand to maximize space and add function.

Storage With Style

In the primary bathroom (pictured below), the double vanities have enough room for little trays to hold all the essentials like Curél and Bio-Oil. The closet behind looks custom, thanks to a combination of green paint (Flora by Valspar) and The Home Edit’s meticulous organization method.

Clara Jung

The aesthetic of the Rosemary Beach community is more European, so I designed a bedroom that nods to the formal (the mural) but made sure there was still warmth.

— Clara Jung

Third Floor

Real Simple Home Floor Plan Third Floor
A spacious loft area includes a lounge, bathroom and a bunkhouse for the kids.

Christopher Testani

Loft & Bunk Room

Designer Kelly Finley splashed happy-hued furniture and decor throughout, taking cues from bold statement art from Minted. The result: a fun and fabulous kids’ hangout area.

Bright and Blue

Kelly chose swivel chairs instead of a sofa for this tight spot. Because the chairs face each other, the area feels communal. A patterned ottoman is a surface for board games and offers storage for throws or pillows. By the stairs, you can fill up your water bottle without running down to the fridge, thanks to an Elkay filtered water dispenser.

Ground Shifting

Carpet tiles are ideal for areas that can’t fit standard-size rugs or runners. Plus, if there’s a stain, you can remove one square to clean or replace it.


Christopher Testani

No Wasted Space

Low-sloped ceilings mean bunk beds are out. To create ample sleepover spots, Kelly laid beds end to end. The custom structure includes storage and a desk, making use of every available inch. A central air system from American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning keeps the top floor cool, even in the Florida heat.

Kelly Finley

Because this area was essentially a storage closet, the square footage and head height were limited. The fun colors of the beds and accessories brighten everything up to combat the lack of natural light. It’s a small but mighty room.

— Kelly Finley

Photos: Real Simple Home 2022

Time for You Weekend

To coincide with the launch this year, we invite you to join us for an immersive weekend experience September 15-18, 2022 in the Rosemary Beach community in Northwest Florida. Come relax, reset, and experience the REAL SIMPLE Home for yourself.

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