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Florida Home with Approachable Elegance

A Florida family finds its perfect match in an English-inspired home designed by Andrew Howard

Written by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer
  • David A. Land

    For designer Andrew Howard, more isn’t always more. “Not every piece in a room needs to be the star,” he says. “Every space should have only one or two shining stars. Those elements should take center stage while other pieces fall into the background. If everything stands out, nothing stands out.”

    Family friends and clients Christian and Manala Douglas took that advice to heart when working with Howard on their newest— and hopefully forever—home in Jacksonville, Florida.

    Inspired by a visit to Chatsworth House, a renowned mansion in Christian’s home country of England, the couple wanted a modern version of an English country manor—an unpretentious home with functional, updated, and, most important, family-friendly interiors to accommodate their growing family. (They have two young daughters: London Rose, 4, and Isla, 3.)

    Photography: David A. Land
    Produced by Elizabeth Demos

    Architectural designer: Kevin Gray, Kevin Gray Design Group, 912-A 1st St. S., Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250; 904/372-9350,
    Interior designer: Andrew Howard, Andrew Howard Interior Design, 4128 Herschel St., Jacksonville, FL 32210; 904/389-5100,
    Stylist: Elizabeth Demos, 912/308-4435,

  • David A. Land

    Airy Entry

    “We wanted a home that has a designer look without being unapproachable,” Manala says. “A space that reflects our personalities and looks flawless while still hiding juice accidents.”

    So Howard went to work, keeping interiors updated and clean-lined by incorporating relatively sparse plasterwork and avoiding heavy moldings and architectural details. Next, the designer added visual interest with color, sculptural fixtures, and strategically placed pops of pattern.

    Railing; door: custom.
    Wall sconce
    (“Axis Wall Sconce”/Aged Brass, by Robert Abbey): Lumens,
    Round table: antique.
    Area rug: owner’s collection. 

  • David A. Land

    Delightful Living Room

    In the living room, Howard’s one (or two) shining-star edict holds true. A large-scale antique brass chandelier draws the eye, set against a ceiling stained dark to add what he calls “human scale” to the room.

    “That fixture is definitely the centerpiece here,” Manala says. “It feels like a piece of jewelry set off against black velvet. It becomes the Hope Diamond in the room.”

    In this space, a dark-painted ceiling becomes the perfect foil for the light fixture from Arteriors.

    Trim paint (“China White” #PM-20): Benjamin Moore,
    Ceiling paint (decorative wash/stain): custom.
    Chandelier (“Keegan Large Chandelier” #89018): Arteriors,
    Jute area rug (“Zira”/Birch #6890): Fibreworks,
    Sofas (#3892-03); fabric (“Bellagio Slate”): Lee Industries,
    Console table behind sofa (“Vandyke Console Table” #10359-CNT): Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams,
    Round table to left of sofa (“QS Zimmerman Side Table, Old Wood” #GTAB2920W); cabinets flanking mantel (“QS London Sideboard”/Walnut, Fabric #GDRE178DW): Noir,
    Lounge chair by mantel (#1183-01); wooden armchair to left of mantel (#L1974-01R); leather on armchair (“Kraven”/Mellow): Lee Industries,
    Fabric on drapery and lounge chair (“Andromeda”/Indigo #175380): Schumacher,
    Gilded table to right of lounge chair: Mrs. Howard, 904/387-1202.
    Art above mantel (Mark Rothko poster):
    Lamps on cabinets (“Edmond Lamp,” discontinued): Arteriors,
    Mirrors (“1710 English Baroque Mirror”): Restoration Hardware,
    Throw pillows on sofas; tray on coffee table; vase on built-in cabinet: Mrs. Howard, 904/387-1202.
    Coffee table (“Phoenix Slab Cocktail Table” #MH10313): Mr. & Mrs. Howard for Sherrill Furniture,   

  • David A. Land

    Delightful Living Room

    The room’s co-star is a Japanese-inspired, indigo-hue fabric used in draperies and as upholstery on a club chair. The rest of the room revolves around color, comfort, and usability. Fabric-fronted cabinets flank the fireplace and provide storage. Two large chesterfields clad in slate cotton velvet and a vibrant yellow leather armchair round out the cast of characters and offer plentiful family seating.

    “The ceiling and the windows really deserved to be the standouts here,” Howard says. “The rest of the room was kept relatively simple. The sisal rug and sofas almost recede in comparison.” As for the splash of yellow, the designer believes every successful room needs layers of color. “The yellow plays off the blue beautifully,” he notes. “It’s a standard Florida palette with a bit of a spin—more hip and modern.”

  • David A. Land

    Coastal Kitchen

    That updated coastal color scheme spills over into the kitchen. The living room’s blue is mirrored in countertop-to-ceiling Moroccan-inspired tile. Playing off that hue is a mix of neutral yet elegant elements—from the mirrored cabinets that house Manala’s beloved wedding china to an industrial-style island with a Calacatta Gold marble countertop.

    The real showstopper here, however, is the curved-apron hood with brass banding. Other elements were chosen for their supporting roles. “The hood was actually a given before we even started the house,” Howard says. “Manala and Christian had seen it and fallen in love with it.” He notes that he designed everything else in the room so it wouldn’t detract from the hood. “It’s the mack daddy in the room, no doubt,” the designer adds. “Even the lighting was purposefully kept smaller in scale so as not to compete with it.”

    Metal details—the brass banding on the hood, brushed nickel and antique brass sconces, and brass and bronze fixtures over the island—were intentionally mixed for depth. 

    Cabinetry: Keith Brown Cabinetry, 904/824-1501.
    Cabinetry finish (“China White” #OC-141): Benjamin Moore,
    Hardware: RayWare Hardware,
    Wall tile (“R’ceef 17”/Sky Blue, mosaic field tile): Mosaic House,
    Countertop: Calacatta Gold.
    Wall lights over windows (“Yoke Suspended Wall Light” #SL2975); hanging lights over island (“Small Hicks Pendant”/Bronze, Hand-Rubbed Antique Brass Accents #TOB5062, by Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort): Circa Lighting,
    Rangetop: Wolf,
    Island sink: Ferguson,
    Island faucets (“Parq Two-Hole Deck-Mount Bridge Kitchen Sink Faucet” #K-6131-4-CP): Kohler,
    Upholstered bar stools: Mrs. Howard, 904/387-1202.
    Flooring: white oak.

  • David A. Land

    Dining Nook

    In the breakfast room, casual dining is at its finest. Upholstered chairs from Luxe Decor and a built-in bench provide seating around the custom dining table. 

    Trim paint (“China White” #PM-20): Benjamin Moore,
    Area rug: Mrs. Howard, 904/387-1202.
    Hanging light (“Whitney large Hanging Light” #TOB5234, by Thomas O’Brien for Visiual Comfort, discontinued): Circa Lighting,
    Dining table (“Reclaimed Lumber X Dining Table”): CFC,
    Upholstered dining chairs (“Four Hands Ashford Gray Linen Connor Dining Side Chair” #FSCASH10GP06): Luxe Decor,
    Cushion on built-in bench (“Emmitt”/Bark #4509): Pindler & Pindler,
    Pillows on window seat; vases on table: Mrs. Howard, 904/387-1202.
    Dinnerware: owner’s collection. 

  • David A. Land


    The coastal colors continue in the nearby pantry. White subway tiles and open shelving create an airy feeling.

    Cabinetry: Keith Brown Cabinetry, 904/824-1501.  Cabinetry paint (“Montpelier” #AF-555): Benjamin Moore,
    Countertop: Cambria,
    Wall tile: Home Depot,
    Area rug (“Blue Awning Stripe Woven Cotton Rug”): Dash & Albert,
    Sink; faucet (“Purist Single-Hole Kitchen Faucet” #K-7505-CP): Kohler,

  • David A. Land

    Dining Room

    Though the dining room is arguably all about neutrals and a mix of metals—a grass-cloth wallcovering with faux-gold rivets, curvaceous cream-color dining chairs with nailhead trim, faceted gilt lamps, and a nickel starburst chandelier—the home’s most personal item shines brightly here.

    “To me, this room started with the artwork,” says Manala of a brilliantly colored Hermès scarf, which is framed above the credenza. The scarf is special to her because it was a gift from her aunt, but had been in her closet for almost 12 years. “I finally have the right place for it, and it’s really one of the highlights of this house to me. It makes me feel like I’m home.”

    Against the room’s otherwise quiet palette, the intricate piece comes to life—serendipitously playing off the home’s coastal-with-a-twist scheme. A marriage made in design heaven.

    Wallcovering (“Gold on Ivory Manilla Hemp” #5704): Phillip Jeffries,
    Paint on chair rail and stile (“Seashell” #OC-120); paint on inside panels (“Cotton Balls” #OC-122): Benjamin Moore,
    Area rug (“Hexagon House”/Amber #1001): Prestige Mills,
    Chandelier (“Imogene”/Polished Nickel); lamps on credenza (“Jackson Lamp” #49983-756): Arteriors,
    Dining table (“London Dining Table” #MH10014 in Bahia finish #93); dining chairs (“Mongolfier Armless Chair” #H310AC); chair fabric (“Holton”/Taupe #3):  Mr. & Mrs. Howard for Sherrill Furniture,
    Credenza: antique.
    Art behind credenza: framed Hermes scarf. 

  • David A. Land

    Powder Room

    Ann Sacks tile adds subtle shimmer to the powder room walls. The veining of an onyx countertop draws on the dark tones of the vanity finish.

    Wall tile: Ann Sacks,
    Wall sconce (“Bristol”): Circa Lighting,
    Vanity: Keith Brown Cabinetry, 904/824-1501.
    Vanity finish (“Midnight Black” #33-16): Pratt & Lambert Paints,
    Vanity hardware: RayWare Hardware,
    Countertop: onyx.
    Sink; faucets (Artifacts Collection): Kohler,
    Flooring tile (INFO): Crossville Tile,

  • David A. Land

    Master Bedroom

    Stepping into the home’s more personal zone—the master suite—color becomes less reserved and more personalized.

    A mix of textures as well as buoyant color distinguishes the bedroom’s serene atmosphere. A white flokati rug, a tufted headboard, a smattering of animal prints, and heavy, velvety curtains encourage total retreat.

    “It’s almost as if you’re given a big bear hug every time you walk into the room,” Howard says with a laugh. Manala wholeheartedly agrees. “It feels like a luxurious, romantic hotel suite,” she says. “It’s toy-free, kid-free, and impactful.”

    Amethyst velvet draperies with custom pelmets “feel like they should be in a hotel suite,” says designer Andrew Howard. 

    Wall and ceiling paint (“Shoreline” #1471); trim paint (“Cape May Cobblestone” #1474): Benjamin Moore,
    Chandelier (“Parisian Octagonal Antiqued Mirror Glass Pendant”): Restoration Hardware,
    Drapery and valance fabric (“Legacy”/Amethyst #9672); valance trim (“Avalon”/ Cream #4068): Pindler & Pindler,
    Area rug; bed; bed linens; bedside table; art; bench: owner’s collection.
    Gray pillows; table lamp: Mrs. Howard, 904/387-1202.
    Animal-print pillow (“Serval” #6000-11): Elizabeth Dow,
    Bench fabric (“Vali”/Shale #V3122/09, by Villa Nova): Romo,
    Upholstered wing chair (#SOF195P, discontinued): Noir,

  • David A. Land

    Pretty in Pink Closet

    The primarily blue palette of the rest of the house takes a backseat to more romantic hues in the master suite. Purples and pinks grab the spotlight, but are used strategically—in Billy Baldwin-inspired window treatments and an utterly feminine closet. 

    “In my mind, these are rooms where it’s OK to step outside of the box colorwise,” Howard says. “Your living room isn’t necessarily that space, but why not in your master bedroom?” He admits to some nervousness when Manala said she wanted a pink closet. “But in the end, we really embraced it, and it turned out beautifully. It’s just a warm, happy hue.”

    Benjamin Moore’s “Pink Ruffle” gives a girly edge to Manala’s dressing room.

    Cabinetry: Keith Brown Cabinetry, 904/824-1501.
    Cabinetry hardware: RayWare Hardware,
    Paint (“Pink Ruffle” #2081-50): Benjamin Moore,  

  • David A. Land

    Master Bath

    Blue tile from New Ravenna was installed vertically for visual interest. 

    Cabinetry: Keith Brown Cabinetry, 904/824-1501.
    Hardware: RayWare Hardware,
    Wall tile (3x6-inch Jewel Glass Brick in Pewter): New Ravenna,
    Sconces (“Bristol”): Circa Lighting,
    Mirror: owner’s collection.
    Sink; faucets (“Artifacts Column Bathroom Sink Spout” #K-72760-CP; “Artifacts Bathroom Sink Lever Handles” #K-98068-4-CP): Kohler,

  • David A. Land

    Pretty Porch

    A sisal rug adds interior flair to this exterior space. The pillows and blue-and-white ceramic garden stools from Mrs. Howard add a dose of cool color to the otherwise neutral space. Sofas and chairs are from HomeGoods. 

    Upholstered sofa and chairs; area rug: HomeGoods,
    Pillows; ceramic garden stools: Mrs. Howard, 904/387-1202.   

  • David A. Land

    Backyard Pool

    French doors off the living room offer access to a poolside seating area in shades of blue and beige. 

    Rattan sofas; wall lanterns: owner’s collection.
    Pillows on sofas; lantern on coffee table: Mrs. Howard, 904/387-1202.
    Coffee table (“QS Sutton Coffee Table”/Hand Rubbed Black #GTAB121HB): Noir,

  • David A. Land


    This is a place Manala would like to call home forever. “This is our third home in this neighborhood,” she notes, adding that she believes the house reflects both her and her husband’s personalities. “It’s truer to us than anywhere else we’ve lived. I feel like this is our third bowl of porridge, and it’s just right.”

    Manala and Christian Douglas with daughters London Rose, 4, and Isla, 3. 

  • Lucas Allen