Serenity on Sanibel Island

How do you design a home that you’ve never set foot in? For interior designers at Studio 882, this isn’t an unusual question to be asked. “We often get clients who come to us during the early stages of new home construction or who have an out-of-state vacation home. They’re usually looking for soup-to-nuts design and logistical management, starting with floor planning and ending with furniture delivery and accessorizing,” explains Studio 882 owner Chad Groves.

So when their Main Line clients asked for help designing their new home in Sanibel Island, Florida, Groves and his team jumped at the opportunity. In an unusual twist, the clients themselves had never been to Sanibel Island, and their busy schedules would keep them from visiting the home until after furniture had been delivered. Providing their clients good design wouldn’t be enough in this case. Good design with good execution, however? That was the winning combination this project needed.

Fortunately, Groves has built a comprehensive logistics management process with unique software and a global network of freight companies, receiving warehouses and delivery teams, allowing for total project management at the level their clients require. And, their patent-patent-pending design process helps designers fully understand each client’s goals, style and design needs. 

Studio 882’s approach to interior design is very collaborative. “Our team recognizes that first and foremost we aren’t designing our own home, we’re designing the client’s home,” says Groves. “Although this was a client we’ve worked with for many years already, we didn’t want to make any assumptions this time around. We started where we also do - asking question like ‘what are your goals? What do you want to do differently this time? What led you to Sanibel Island? What atmosphere are you considering?”

They worked closely with their clients, who had design inspiration and a variety of products already in mind for their beach home. The goal was to create a sophisticated atmosphere that still had an inviting, relaxed vibe.

Situated on the gulf of Mexico, just steps away from the shore line, the four bedroom, five bathroom home offers views of the water from every room. Occupying almost two acres of shore line, the home also capitalized on outdoor entertaining with expansive porches and a pool. With such incredible views, the interior decor didn’t need an overt ‘beach' theme. Instead, the team wanted to draw the eye to the windows and beyond.

CAD blueprints, an array of house photos, and FaceTime video walk-throughs were enough for Studio 882’s designers to put together a cohesive design plan. “Fortunately, the blueprint dimensions were incredibly accurate. We had to get a few measurements from third parties in the area to confirm some things, but we made it work,” explains Groves. “It’s almost the future, so virtual design is achievable today in ways that were a pipe dream just a few years ago.”

Furniture and decor selections kept close to their client’s traditional roots while taking some calculated design risks, guaranteeing the design plan felt comfortable and familiar enough yet still giving the home its own unique flair. 

Wood-paneled walls in the study served as a rich backdrop for Baker furniture and Ralph Lauren fabrics. “It’s a smaller room, so we wanted each piece to be something special,” says Groves. The writing desk, from Studio 882, features a cast metal panel with a brass geometric lattice on its side, which can be seen as you enter the room.  

The great room was kept more neutral than the study. Knowing family and friends would frequently visit, durable fabrics were a must and the team used Crypton velvets on the Studio 828 sofas. Pops of blues and greens, the same colors reflected in the gulf views, were added through accents such as throw pillows, area rugs and accessories. This tied together the interior and exterior spaces. 

The master bedroom was given a more contemporary, yet elegant, look with a low-profile upholstered bed and clean-lined nightstands. The neutral color scheme is restful and relaxing, while a Studio 882 Blossom Mirror hangs above the headboard and brings a touch of unexpected glamour. 

Hurricane Irma hit southwest Florida not long after all of the client’s furniture arrived at the receiving warehouse in Tampa to be inspected before delivery. As Irma battered the state’s lower half, leaving a trail of tornadoes and storm-surge flooding as it moved inland, the clients worried about the fate of their not-yet-delivered furniture. Fortunately, Studio 882 requires all of its warehousing and delivery partners to maintain high enough levels of insurance for these types of emergencies. “We can’t control the weather, but we can absolutely prepare for it,” says Groves. 

With the warehouse untouched and the furniture still in perfect condition, the Studio 882 team flew down to Florida to coordinate the delivery of more than one hundred pieces. “We appreciated the trust our client placed in us. Not just on the design itself, we collaborated with him on it throughout and that was a blast, but to fly down without him and just do the installation, trusting that everything was to-scale and fit as we said it would,” acknowledged Groves.  

It took four trucks but only one day for the team to install the home’s furniture. The result was a beautiful new vacation home where the clients, when they arrived for the first time, could truly relax and enjoy. After all, the client is always top-of-mind for Groves. “Nobody particularly likes the moving process! So, the experience was intentionally designed to make everything more fun for them too!”

Interior Design by STUDIO 882

Katie Groves