Winter Springs European-Inspired Dream Home

Tucked amid a park-like setting, this charming Winter Springs home features five courtyards to create an old-world country feel


about once a year, interior designer Brianna Michelle Sheehan and her husband, builder Ryan Sheehan, have the opportunity to work together, but this project was a once in a lifetime experience. The residence is for his parents, who were  seeking the comforts of a newly retired lifestyle. The designer and builder were thrilled to begin the journey to build a European courtyard-styled home for the retired military pilot and his wife that would ultimately welcome them into a new chapter in life.

From the start, challenges arose every which way. The original home had to be demolished. However, they were able to save most of the mature oak and magnolia trees on the one-and-one-half acre site. “The goal was to build them a new house, but from the standpoint of the property it looks like everything grew around the home,” Ryan says. “We maintained some original entrance points to the driveway, so trees still arch over the entrance.”

On a corner lot in the scenic community of Tuscawilla, every room of this 5,250-square-foot home faces toward the pool, taking in the tranquil atmosphere of the wooded property. Following her in-laws’ color choices, Brianna selected an interior palette of blues with natural wood tones, rattans and marble. “We worked hand in hand with the architect from day one, using budget materials planned to age in place,” the designer says.

The potential for noise was a concern given the 23-foot-high vaulted ceiling with large timber trusses that adorns the great room. In the dining area, steel-and-glass pivoted panels installed over built-in cabinetry act as a sound reduction feature. Should kitchen activity grow too loud, it’s as easy as closing the panels. This creates a sense of place, where oversized, tapered iron chandeliers incorporate a mix of metals while a trio of iron lanterns share in the drama. Naturally clad in a split-faced limestone, the living area’s fireplace surround is a stunning floor-to-ceiling display. Performing triple duty, soft area rugs add comfort underfoot, absorb sound and delineate the expansive space floored in wire-brushed white oak.   

In striking complement, marble creates a sense of elegance in the kitchen. “A French-patterned, brushed and chiseled marble grounds the room in four varying sizes with coloration between sand and gray. They are a perfect neutral,” the designer says. The grandchildren love the custom banquette that flanks the reclaimed timber trestle table in the breakfast area. The cushions are suspended by a steel rod and fastened by leather straps. However, it’s the induction cooktop that topped the kitchen wish list. “This is my in-laws’ favorite room because it has a small home office for bill paying and documenting recipes,” the designer says. An oversized pantry is equipped with a coffee bar and double ovens for behind-the-scenes hosting magic, all while natural light pours in through the windows.

“My dad is retired pilot from the military, so my parents moved all of the time. Sometimes when he wakes up, he has to pinch himself to make sure the house is really his … it’s a dream come true,” Ryan says. “That makes me feel really good.”

Story Credits: 

Interior Design by Brianna Michelle Sheehan, Brianna Michelle Interior Design, Winter Park, FL

Builder Ryan Sheehan, Christopher Ryan Homes, Winter Park, FL

Landscape Architecture by Corey Mills, Mills Design Group, Oviedo, FL

Text by Mary Thurman Yuhas

Photography by Stephen Allen, Winter Park, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

dining area

Table – CFC, Los Angeles, CA

Host chairs – Verellen, High Point, NC

Side chairs – Palecek, Richmond, CA

Area rug – Carpet Source, Winter Park, FL

living area

Sofa – Verellen, High Point, NC

Cocktail table – Robert James, Chula Vista, CA

Swivel lounge chairs – Jessica Charles,

Hickory, NC

Armchairs – West Elm, Brooklyn, NY

Piano – Owners’ Collection

Fireplace surround – Realstone Systems, Troy, MI

Area rug – Carpet Source, Winter Park, FL

breakfast area

Table – Tritter Feefer, LaGrange, CA

Banquet – Grit and Grain Co., Maitland, FL

Fabric – Maxwell, Vancouver, BC

Wicker side chairs – Palecek, Richmond, CA


Countertops and backsplash – Trinity Surfaces, Winter Park, FL

Hood – Thermador, Aggressive Appliances, Orlando, FL

Display shelving – K&V Ironwork,

Orlando, FL


Cabinetry – National Woodworks, Orlando, FL

Chandeliers and light fixtures – Visual Comfort, Ferguson Enterprises, Inc., Orlando FL

Windows and doors – Sierra Pacific,

Merrill, WI

Flooring – Britannia Flooring, Winter Park, FL

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