Bold Bronze Touches Bring the Glamour in St. Petersburg

A designer’s own home in downtown St. Petersburg glistens with layers of style


Interior designer Rob Bowen and his husband weren’t looking for new digs. But the location of a newly constructed three-story home was too perfect to pass up.  Located in downtown St. Petersburg (within blocks of Bowen’s design studio and the couple’s new restaurant, Social Roost), the 2,760-square-foot home was quintessential Florida coastal—but not for long. Bowen spent nine months stripping it down to its studs and restructuring the space.

He began by staining the white oak floors with vinegar and steel wool, and then coating it with a matte black finish. “Black floors create a blank canvas to layer upon,” he says. “It’s classic and neutral, and everything you put on top of it becomes a statement piece.” Next up: the layering. “I was obsessed with bronze, black, emerald, white, and every shade of each,” he recalls. “I threw it all into the mix and then started to edit, edit, and edit. There are layers in very specific details. It’s a bold palette, so I gently applied each respective color as to whisper, not yell.”

The third-floor lounge room—which opens out to a rooftop deck—exemplifies Bowen’s layering strategy. The structured Minotti sofa is paired with an organic and free-flowing chandelier by Bocci, while a thick, shaggy rug quiets the room. “This home needed a sense of warmth and luxe that could only be created by applying layers of luxe material to the walls,” Bowen says of the woven horsehair wallpaper he used. “It’s a commitment, but well worth it.” If the wallpaper itself wasn’t enough, Bowen added yet another layer: His sister-in-law painted gold leaf on top of it.

In comparison to the rest of the home, the kitchen is serene. “I went a bit quiet to allow the memories of entertaining to not be distracted by too bold a kitchen,” he says. The symmetry of the chandelier singlehandedly drove the entire design of this space. “All of the lines on the cabinets, the marble slabs, the bronze pulls, the table—they come together and replicate what’s going on with the chandelier.” Juxtaposed is a dramatic sitting area, and the room is veiled with an airy, metallic drapery that offers the couple privacy from the surrounding commercial and residential buildings without sacrificing natural light. 

“I wanted this house to be warm, and I kept adding layers and layers,” says Bowen. “But we had to be very careful with this execution because [these layers] could go completely sideways. But used strategically, it’s just right amount of what it needs.”

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Rob Bowen, Rob Bowen Design Group, St. Petersburg, FL

Text by Lola Thélin

Photography by Seamus Payne, Tampa, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:


Living Room

Modular sofa – Minotti, Casa Italia, Naples, FL

Cocktail tables – RH Modern, Restoration Hardware, Tampa, FL

Chandelier – BOCCI, Luminaire Lab, Miami, FL

Wall covering – Phillip Jeffries, D&D, New York, NY

Fabricated by Paula Bowen, St. Petersburg, FL

Area rug – Stark Carpet, D&D, New York, NY

Sitting Area Vignette

Club chair – Holly Hunt, New York, NY

Artwork – Owner’s Collection

Wall covering – Phillip Jeffries, D&D, New York, NY

Area rug – Stark Carpet, D&D, New York, NY

Family Area

Sofas – Holly Hunt, New York, NY

Frame fabric – Kyle Bunting, Austin, TX

Gold leather stripe – Garrett Leather, D&D, New York, NY

Seat fabric – Zinc Textiles, D&D, New York, NY

Cocktail table – RH Modern, Restoration Hardware, Tampa, FL

Side table – Holly Hunt, New York, NY

Drapery – Romo, D&D, New York, NY

Area rug – Kyle Bunting, Austin, TX


Cabinetry and island designed Rob Bowen Design Group, St. Petersburg, FL and T2theS, St. Petersburg, FL

Countertop – Custom Marble Work, Tampa, FL

Stools – Nuevo, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Chandelier – Venice M, Holly Hunt, New York, NY

Primary Bath

Sinks – Cielo, Disegno Agency, Miami, FL

Sconces – CVL Luminaries, France

Tile wall coverings designed by Rob Bowen Design Group, St. Petersburg, FL

Fabricated by Walker Zanger, New York, NY

Flooring – Walker Zanger, New York, NY

Primary Bedroom

Poster bed – Bernhardt Interiors, Lenoire, NC

Fabricated by Caribe Interiors, St. Petersburg, FL

Bedding – Frette, New York, NY

Chest – NOIR, Los Angeles, CA

Table lamp – Arteriors, Los Angeles, CA

Area rug – Stark Carpet, D&D, New York, NY

Stairway Vignette

Sculpture – Marlene Rose, Clearwater, FL   

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