Ashley Montgomery Designs A Florida House That’s Relaxed, Casual And Rooted In English Style

Ashley Montgomery Designs A Florida House That’s Relaxed, Casual And Rooted In English Style


At first glance, you wouldn’t believe this home is in Florida. Sure, it’s perched on the edge of a golf course and the beach is only a five-minute walk away but, with decorating that’s defiantly more traditional than tropical, there’s nary a flamingo or palm print in sight. “Even though we’re in Vero Beach, Florida, it doesn’t mean we have to have seashells everywhere,” laughs Canadian designer Ashley Montgomery, as she sinks in to a sofa in the living room of the home she designed for her parents, Andrea and Bryan Davidson. The Oro-Medonte, Ont., couple had been wintering in Palm Beach since 2008, but they were looking for a home with a more laid-back vibe. When they found the Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club in 2019 — a haven for golf, water sports and fishing on the Atlantic coast, north of Palm Beach — they knew they’d found their happy place. “It’s a quiet community reminiscent of old Florida,” says Andrea.

In 2020, they bought a 1980s, 4,000-square-foot, three bedroom house with a two-bedroom guesthouse that had been on the market for five years. “It was one of those houses you knew was going to be a project,” says Ashley. “My parents have always been drawn to finding a diamond in the rough.” She started in on a full gut renovation. “They wanted a home that would feel comfortable, beautiful and utilitarian at the same time, one that would allow family and friends to visit and have their own space, so we wouldn’t feel piled on top of one another,” continues the designer.

The one-and-a half- year-long project came with its own challenges, of course. “Things move a bit slower down here,” says Ashley. Not to mention that having your parents as clients can be tricky. She began by moving the kitchen and dining area to the back of the house to make it more accessible to the pool and back patio. Then, she reconfigured the huge principal suite, using some of that space to create a vestibule while making the bedroom feel more intimate. In the living room, she expanded the footprint, replaced the 1980s-era arched French doors and installed a dramatic wall of pocketed sliding doors to frame the beautiful view of the pool and golf course.


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