A “Jewel Box” of Color and Art on John’s Island

A vacation home in John’s Island fuses understated style with comfort, and ends up being everything a Maryland couple envisioned it could be

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Unrestricted by the expectations and traditions of full-time residences, vacation homes tend to bend the rules, and, consequently, end up being a much more organic reflection of its relaxed inhabitants. That was recently the case with a John’s Island retreat for a Maryland couple with Florida sun and surf on their minds. 

“As soon as we purchased the house, my husband Joe bought a boat, and I bought the painting over the fireplace in the living room,” explains homeowner Nancy Hollingsworth. “It is a perfect representation of the clear color palette I envisioned.” She is thrilled with how designers Stephanie Bradshaw and Brooke Hollingsworth, who is also their daughter and the lead designer on the project, captured the mood of the painting to create what she describes as “a perfect jewel box.”

This place near Vero Beach is a departure from the Hollingsworths’ main residence on the eastern shore of Maryland, though it equally expresses their sensibilities. “Nancy is a cultivated woman, a retired attorney, who knows what she likes,” says Bradshaw. “She and Joe wanted a sophisticated look that moved away from your typical tropical prints, but they wanted the home to still be approachable.” Bradshaw celebrates how the couple was open to taking some design risks that bring the interiors a cosmopolitan appeal, such as the dark rug that grounds the space in the living room.  

Although the homeowners had already amassed a spirited collection of art, they were delighted that Bradshaw introduced them to new artists. Each of the new pieces are bright accents against pale backdrops, the compositions determining the color palettes for each room. The design team selected fabrics that drew the hues down into the spaces, such as the mid-century-modern-inspired chair and ottoman in the living room. To these playful moments, they added curvy upholstery with soft lines. 

The couple has a large family that includes two sons, a daughter, and a fourth grandchild on the way, so being able to comfortably gather loved ones was a crucial consideration in the home’s overall design. The generous size of the dining room table was particularly important for the number of diners it would need to accommodate at mealtimes. Just as important was the location of the kitchen. “Oh, the kitchen,” says Nancy. “The kitchen is a dream when we are entertaining. It’s across from the family room, and lanai, and has a beautiful view of the [inlet], so I never feel cut off when I’m cooking.” 

Gathering friends and family without feeling crowded was a mantra all along. “The private nooks Stephanie and Brooke arranged, such as the sitting area in the bedroom, and the seating in front of the fire, are perfect spots for privacy,” Nancy remarks. Because she and Joe spend an ample amount of time in the home alone, these smaller areas are go-to spots, particularly for enjoying the nature teeming in the beautiful setting. “My favorite thing is to sit in the living room in the morning and look out over the pool to our little slice of John’s Island Sound,” says Nancy. “In the mornings and in the evenings, the dolphins come to visit. It seems they can easily feed here because the channel is so narrow. I truly love watching them; they make me smile every time I see them.” 

What also makes the couple beam is how perfectly the design team expressed their sense of style. “We wanted this home to reflect us, and they achieved that beyond our dreams,” says Nancy. “But they also paid attention to another request: we wanted it to be a fun place to spend time.” 

It pleases Bradshaw that the couple is so happy with the end result. “Nancy emailed me a few weeks after we had completed the installation and the subject line read ‘Home Run!’” the designer recounts. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Stephanie Bradshaw and Brooke Hollingsworth, Stephanie Bradshaw, Baltimore, MD

Architecture by Gregory Anderson Architects, Deerfield Beach, FL

Builder The Founders Collection, LLC., Vero Beach, FL

Landscape Architecture by Sartain & Associates, Vero Beach, FL

Text by Saxon Henry

Photography by Stacy Zarin Goldberg, Olney, MD

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

Sources

Living Area

Sofa – Dmitriy & Co, New York, NY 

Fabric – Larsen, Cowtan and Tout, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Teal chair – Holly Hunt, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Armchair and ottoman – Holly Hunt, The 

Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Cocktail table – Holly Hunt, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Black side table – Arteriors, New York Design Center, New York, NY 

Drink table – VB Home LLC, Vero Beach, FL

Console – Iatesta Studio, Stevensville, MD

Mirror – Oly Studio, High Point, NC 

Lamp – Visual Comfort, Houston, TX

Orange stool – Home Goods, Vero Beach, FL 

Chandelier – Moooi, New York Brand Store, New York, NY  

Floor lamp – Visual Comfort, Houston, TX 

Fireplace designed and fabricated by The Founders Collection, LLC., Vero Beach, FL

Artwork above fireplace – Eric Aho, LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico 

Area rug – Stark, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Game Area

Table – Kate Duncan, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Chairs – McGuire, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Artwork of girl with zebra – Ariel Vargassal, Los Angeles, California, Renaissance Fine Arts, Baltimore, MD

Kitchen

Cabinetry and island designed by The Founders Collection, LLC., Vero Beach, FL, and fabricated by Schlabach Wood Design, Baltic, OH

Stools – McGee and Co., mcgeeandco.com 

Pendant lighting – Restoration Hardware, rh.com 

Dining Area

Table – Holly Hunt, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C.

Chairs – EJ Victor, Morganton, NC 

Fabric – Zimmer and Rohde, New York, NY 

Family Room

Sofa – Holly Hunt, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Fabric – Pollack, New York, NY 

Club chairs – Bernhardt, Hickory, NC 

Fabric – Mokum, Holly Hunt, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Cocktail table – Holly Hunt, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Side table – Arteriors, New York Design Center, New York, NY

Area rug – Stark, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Office

Sofa – Lee Industries, Conover, North Carolina, American Eye, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Fabric – Schumacher, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Drink table – Holly Hunt, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Side table – West Elm, westelm.com 

Lamp – Visual Comfort, Houston, TX

Desk and shelving – Restoration Hardware, rh.com

Artwork above sofa – Ronnie Landfield, LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico 

Area rug – Stark, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Guest Room

Bed – McGuire, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C.

Side table – Tritter Feefer, LaGrange, GA

Bench – Kravet, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Painting above bench – Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Renaissance Fine Arts, Baltimore, MD 

Floor lamp – Home Goods, Vero Beach, FL

Area rug – Patterson Flynn Martin, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Primary Bedroom

Poster bed – McGee and Co., mcgeeandco.com

Bench – Bernhardt, Hickory, NC

Bedside table – Restoration Hardware, rh.com 

Lamp – Visual Comfort, Houston, TX 

Lounge and ottoman – EJ Victor, Morganton, NC

Fabric – Kravet, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C.

Area rug – Kravet, The Washington Design Center, Washington, D.C. 

Lanai

Sofa, club chairs, dining table, and chairs – 

Restoration Hardware, rh.com 

Cocktail table – Restoration Hardware, rh.com 

Lounge chairs – Restoration Hardware, rh.com 

Pool designed by The Founders Collection, LLC., Vero Beach, FL, and fabricated by Crystal Pools, Vero Beach, FL

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