the Gulf of Mexico’s turquoise blue waters, Sunset
Key floats on the horizon like a dreamy tropical paradise.
A short boat ride from the docks of Key West, this small
island community provides an idyllic setting away from
Drawn to Sunset’s Key’s beauty and peaceful
isolation, Tampa residents Don and Erika Wallace saw
it as an ideal location for their family vacation retreat.
“This is the nicest area with a beach in Key West,”
Erika says. “And we have a great vantage point
for viewing the fabulous sunsets.”
Inspired by the maritime setting, designer Phyllis Taylor
used a seafaring theme and splashes of aquamarine blue,
citrus yellow and lime green to shape a lively interior.
“Don and Erika have two young children, so they
wanted something casual, colorful and easy,” says
Taylor, who also designed the couple’s Tampa home.
The home’s open floor plan centers around the
living and dining areas on the first floor. For the
living area, Taylor selected casual furnishings for
comfort, antique pieces for character and charm, and
accessories for whimsy and local flavor. Natural fibers,
such as water hyacinth, sisal and rattan, forge a link
between the indoors and outdoors.
Taking into account the practical requirements of the
Wallaces’ active family, Taylor covered a sofa
with a washable white slipcover. Woven water-hyacinth
chairs flank an antique French table whose top becomes
a game board when turned over. A child-size antique
American rocker snuggles close to the cocktail table,
while a full-size antique rocker completes the arrangement.
Hand-painted, blue-and-white wicker stacked boxes add
to the room’s lighthearted feel.
An antique apothecary cabinet backs up to the sofa,
forming a visual division between the living and dining
areas. In the dining area, dark wood chairs with wicker
backs and a vintage settee surround an antique French
table topped with white marble.
blue cabinetry and millwork defines the adjoining
kitchen, where barstools pull up to the breakfast
bar. Natural light brightens the kitchen through paned
windows and the nearby entry doors.
In the foyer, a striped area rug in blue and lime-green
hues contrasts with the distressed walnut flooring
used throughout the home. An antique Asian chest rests
against the stairway, which leads to the second-floor
bedrooms and gallery.
Downstairs, the master bedroom blends British Colonial
styling with island chic. Light drifts in through
wooden blinds on the windows and doors, casting ripples
of shadows on camel-colored walls. Above the East
Indian canopy bed, a fan stirs the air, gently ruffling
the drape of sheer fabric on the canopy.
An aqua-colored duvet with a blossom pattern spreads
a tropical garden over a taupe-and-white striped bedskirt.
In lieu of a bedside table, Taylor topped an oversized
ceramic urn with a canvas flounce. Next to the bed,
an antique, carved-wood folding chair boasts a British
Colonial pedigree. The rugged texture of the area
rug — woven from jumbo rope fiber — underscores
the home’s natural setting.
Relaxation comes naturally on the rear porch where
Adirondack chairs call for daydreaming and cool drinks.
Teak chairs around the pool provide for lounging in
“We spend a lot of time on the porch or in the
pool or spa,” Erika says. “It’s
one of my favorite spots. We usually invite another
couple to come down with us, and after a day of fishing,
we like to sit out here and watch the sun set.”
Graced with a gabled tin roof, shady porches and an
upstairs veranda, this two-story home captures the
spirit of Key West’s historic “conch style.”