Timeless Transformation in Tampa Home

A traditional home in Tampa leans into a contemporary aesthetic with sprinkles of fashion and art


When a chic couple with young children stepped out of their suburban Chicago home base to look for a second residence in Florida, they hoped to put their own signature on a family retreat. The four-bedroom Tampa home they purchased is a roomy 6,200 square feet, giving them plenty of space for living and entertaining, but the vibe left something to desire. 

“The wife’s only directive was that she wanted it to feel like a spa retreat,” says Crystal Blackshaw, the Chicago designer tasked with the residence’s overhaul. “She gave me free reign to accomplish that goal.”

Blackshaw had designed the couple’s primary home in Illinois, and, as such, she had a good feel for their aesthetic—what she calls contemporary wabi sabi—so she set out to add light and life to the project. 

“The home, like a lot of Tampa, was pretty traditional,” says Blackshaw, who spent approximately six months traveling to the area, exploring local showrooms and antique shops to supplement the materials and tradesmen she brought with her from Chicago. 

The colors that inform the residence were inspired by a textural William McLure painting the couple purchased during a trip to Art Basel Miami Beach; it is one of the few items they brought here from their primary home. “That piece was the inspiration for using ochre,” says Blackshaw who feels it was a perfect foil for the ivory, as well as the widespread use of black, which serves as a neutral throughout the house, but especially in the kitchen, where the color modernized the cabinetry, previously a buttery cream, and reframed the existing stone countertops. “The tight palette makes the house consistent.”

Consistent is anything but staid in this residence. Throughout the home, a hand-finished plaster treatment involving varying geometric patterns, a lime wash, and a topcoat with a pearl finish add a luminescence. “The walls catch the light, almost like the inside of a seashell,” says the designer. The process, executed by fine paint artist Jenna Traversa, took four months to complete.

The plaster treatment is particularly transcendent in the stairway, which Blackshaw says was the project’s most dramatic evolution. A traditional banister was removed, and a clean, contemporary curving wall replaced it as two windows bathe the space with natural light. The stairway offers an important shift from the residence’s public to private spaces. “It conveys the feeling of a journey,” says Blackshaw. “It’s one of the prettiest moments in the house. Like walking up a to a spa in heaven.”

Throughout, the furnishings and lighting fixtures—many of which are handmade—were selected for both their textural and sculptural qualities, fitting for homeowners who are also art collectors. “A lot of the furniture has a carved, almost whittled, look to it and our textiles are woven or dyed, with a natural authenticity to them,” says Blackshaw. 

The backyard wasn’t redesigned as much as it was reinvented. Under the canopy of ancient oaks, Blackshaw wanted to create a place for the family to take in the attributes of the local environment. A fence was installed, as well as a pool, pickleball court, and lighting. Patio furnishings—all handmade—are upholstered in fabrics that are weatherproof. Plans are in place to add raised garden beds. 

“Our overall approach was to mix elements and materials like it had been done over time,” says Blackshaw. “As a result, the home feels timeless.” 

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Crystal Blackshaw, Crystal Blackshaw Interiors, Chicago, IL

Text by Kelley Marcellus

Photography by NativeHouse Photography Nashville, TN

Open to see Interior Design Sources:



Decorative chest – Allin One Art World, Jodhpur, India

Mirror – Mango Atelier Shop, Denton, TX

Tall black sculpture – Crate and Barrel, crateandbarrel.com

Entry table – Arteriors, arteriorshome.com

Pendant lighting – Isidro, Arteriors, arteriorshome.com


Irulan desk – Noir Furniture, Los Angeles, CA

Lounge chairs – Strata, Arteriors, arteriorshome.com

Chandelier – Valencia, Arteriors, arteriorshome.com

Artwork – Kurt Giehl, Miami, FL

Living Room

Sofa – Madrone, Arhaus, arhaus.com 

Swivel chair – Algiers, Arhaus, arhaus.com

Cocktail table – Adrianna Shamarris, 1st Dibs, New York, NY

Drink tables – Jamie, Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com

Double consoles – Dorsey, Made Goods, City of Industry, CA

Artwork above console – William McLure, Birmingham, AL

Lamp – Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com

Area rug – Lulu and Georgia, luluandgeorgia.com


Backsplash – Legno Geometric Tile, Tile Shop, Chicago, IL

Stools – Kroy, Arhaus, arhaus.com

Chandeliers – 7Gods Lighting, London, UK

Dining Area

Table – CB2, cb2.com

Hostess chairs – Morris, Noir Furniture, Los Angeles, CA

Chairs – Laredo, Noir Furniture Los Angeles, CA

Chandelier – 7Gods Lighting, London, UK

Laundry Room

Entry wallcovering – Serengeti, Burke Décor, burkedecor.com

Entry chandelier – Arhaus, arhaus.com

Laundry room wallcovering – Tiger Face, Gucci Décor, gucci.com 

Laundry chandelier – Cosima, Circa Lighting, cirainteriors.com

Primary Bedroom

Poster bed – Ferret, Noir Furniture, Los Angeles, CA

Bedside chests – Giza, Noir Furniture, Los Angeles, CA

Dresser – Hikaru, Noir Furniture, Los Angeles, CA

Lamps – Miller, Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com

Chaise – Augustine, Four Hands, fourhands.com

Floor mirror – Paxton, Arteriors, arteriorshome.com

Chandelier – Deskins, Circa Lighting, cirainteriors.com

Primary Bathroom

Vanity chair – Bahati Chair, Arteriors, arteriorshome.com

Chandelier – Mantis, Enchant Lighting, West Valley City, UT

Sconce – Ambience, Lumens Lighting, lumens.com

Area rug – Lemieux, Lulu and Georgia, luluandgeorgia.com

Back Exterior

Seating – Suelo, Bertu Home, bertuhome.com

Cocktail table – Stumps, Bertu Home, bertuhome.com

Dining chairs – Crate and Barrel, crateandbarrel.com

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