Layered with Love
By Stacee Harger
Better Homes & Gardens Decorating,
a tale of adventure and discovery behind everything in
this Floridian’s seaside cottage.
the cottage was an adventure in itself. Beverly Gilmore
spotted the unfinished “spec” house while visiting her
sister’s vacation home in the Florida Panhandle. She
attended an open house and fell in love. “When you get
inside, you just faint away. It has wonderful
architectural design,” says Beverly. A vacation getaway
of her own, however, wasn’t practical, so she returned
to northern Michigan, where she and her sister owned a
folk art gallery.
subsequent visits to the Sunshine State over the next two
years, Beverly would pedal her bicycle past the cottage.
“Each time I’d ride past, a different real estate
agent’s sign would be in the yard,” she says, “and
each time I would call, the price would be a bit lower.”
came a particularly harsh winter in Michigan, prompting
Beverly to toy with the idea of moving to Florida
permanently. After having the roof of her house
shoveled—twice—she again checked the price of her
dream house and happily found it had finally fallen low
enough to make a bid.
move to Florida was just another in a long line of new
addresses for Beverly. And from every place she’s ever
lived or visited, in this country or abroad, she has
always taken something with her, whether it was a piece of
pottery or a different way of looking at life. Regrets?
“I’ve only regretted the things that I didn’t
buy,” Beverly laughs. “You find something you like
while you’re traveling, and you tell yourself that
you’ll go back and get it, and then you don’t.”
in Beverly’s house seems to carry a story. The chair
that greets guests in the entry, for example, was acquired
more than 40 years ago when Beverly traded a pair of ice
skates for it. “It has moved with me, and it’s the
kind of thing that just gets a new life when I get a new
life,” she says. At the moment, the chair sports blue
paint and cushions sewn from a vintage Beacon blanket.
Other pieces in the entry include a whimsically painted
old desk, twig frames, and a folk art painting.
step into the living room with its cream-color upholstered
pieces, however, shows another side of this adventurous
homeowner. Here, damask, nailheads, candlewicking, and
mahogany finishes create a more traditional feeling
slightly reminiscent of British colonial style. But there
is nothing stuffy or predictable about the living room.
It, too, is peppered with artistic objects—both
primitive and refined.
didn’t want anything heavy over the windows, so she
dressed them with tab-top scrim curtains—a fabric and
style she felt would not only soften the sun’s glare but
wouldn’t “invade the senses.” The windows on the
home’s southwestern side are equipped with wooden blinds
as well as curtains to keep out the blistering Florida sun
and to add privacy.
uses the porch, which runs the entire length of the house,
as a year-round extension of the living space: One end is
configured for lounging and conversation while the other
is dedicated to dining. Among the pieces of folk art that
decorate the porch is a tiered centerpiece on the dining
table by folk artist Min Lindsey.
interest in folk art was instilled at an early age. Her
father was a toymaker by hobby, who carved dolls out of
wood for his daughters. “My sister Barbara and I thought
of it as just what Daddy did,” Beverly says. Now that
she’s grown, and her father’s pieces have become
valuable collectors’ items, Beverly sees how his talent
shaped her tastes.
and her sister became interested in Native American arts
and crafts when they co-owned their gallery. “We learned
about the culture and the background of Native American
jewelry, baskets, and pottery—we’re still in awe of it
all,” she says. Northern Woodlands and Great Lakes
Native American baskets are sprinkled throughout her home.
whimsically painted furniture to handcrafted picture
frames and pottery, this seaside abode is filled with
treasures. “Any place is a great place to put art,”
she says. “Wherever you have room, it will take its
place. If a piece doesn’t feel at home in one place
after a few days, I move it.
the confidence to display your background, to display your
life, to display where you have been. As I’ve grown
older, I find I like things around me that are
comforting—like old books, old shoes, and old dogs.
The focal point of the living room is a mid-18th-century
Spanish cupboard made of pine that holds Beverly
Gilmore’s collection of Mexican glassware. Juxtaposed
with the traditional-style upholstery’s cream-color
fabrics, heavily patterned rugs from around the world and
other pieces of handmade artwork add color and texture.
Beverly’s eclecticism rings loud and clear in the entry.
An old desk rejuvenated by a folk artist, a candleholder
from Spain, and a folk art painting are among the elements
that create an entryway vignette.
Beverly enjoys early morning breakfasts at the porch
table, with its centerpiece crafted by Ohio artist Min
Lindsey. The folding chairs—at the ready for extra
seating—are old auditorium chairs painted for Beverly by
Indiana artists Marilyn and Dan Tynan.
’40s-vintage glider sits at one end of the porch.
“It’s impossible to read a book there,” says
Beverly, “because it’s just too darn comfortable.”
The fabric on the glider, as well as the tablecloth, are
hand-screened fabrics by Florida artist Marti Schmidt.
The simplicity of the kitchen, with its glass-front
cabinets, uncomplicated lines, and bold black-and-white
backsplash, makes a nice backdrop for some of Beverly’s
more whimsical folk art.
up by corbels salvaged from an antebellum house, the
living room shelves display a mix of Beverly’s favorite
pieces. Contemporary silver statues by Aldo Cipullo join
Russell Chatham’s etchings and Taos, New Mexico, artisan
Jorge Lovato’s carved miniature her of horses.
The guest room has a definite tropical feel created by
duvet covers hand-screened by artist Marti Schmidt. Used
as a bedside table, the old trunk was restored then
dressed up with a faux-tortoise finish. Above each bed
hangs a framed embroidery piece made by Beverly years ago.
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