For almost 13 years, Cocó D’Ascola has designed interiors with families in mind. What that means for her Gables-based firm, Cocó Interior Design, is a belief that you need to create what she calls “hard working spaces”— i.e. rooms that can withstand families with lots of kids, friends, and relatives. “I think of accommodating their lifestyle and what their functional needs are,” she says. And that translates into things like family friendly fabrics, study areas for youngsters, and private spaces set aside for the adults.
For this home on Castile Avenue, one block north of Coral Way, the family consists of mom, dad and two daughters. So, the idea was to create rooms that were not too formal, and with special nooks for the girls (ages 9 and 13) to study as well as relax. “Everything I do has a fresh and modern look but with enough classics in it. I stay away from super trendy so that it lasts over time,” says D’Ascola. She likes to balance designer pieces with less costly items, both to balance budgets and to reduce worry from the wear-and- tear of family life. “I do a lot of high and low, putting money into statement pieces, with affordable pieces to fill in,” she says, many of which are locally sourced. “I like to see things in person,” she says
The family room furniture is locally sourced and deliberately affordable, assuming wear and tear to come. The leather couch is from Pottery Barn at Merrick Park, the armchair from West Elm in Dadeland, and the Ottoman-cum-coffee table is from Target. The custom-built wall nook was originally a TV location, repurposed as a reading area for the kids and a twin bed for their guests.
This is the “Dad Room,” where there is a wine rack (off camera), tele- vision, and comfortable chairs. “It had high ceilings and I wanted to modernize it,” says D’Ascola. The two “starburst” mirrors in mixed metal are from Crate and Barrel in Merrick Park.
The heavy buffet chest which anchors the light room was found at the recently closed Home Design Store on Biltmore Way. The mirror is from Ballard Designs, the chandelier from Shades of Light. “The light modern- izes the room,” says D’Ascola, while the white slip covers on the Ikea chairs can be removed and washed.
The Master Bathroom
More than other rooms in the house, says D’Ascola, the master bath- room was transformed. “It was a complete gut job,” she says, removing walls, red marble flooring and a built-in tub. Instead, she used a hexagonal tile floor pattern and free-standing bathtub. The sconces over the sink are from Shades of Light, while the overhead lamp, which mimics the floor pattern, is from Pottery Barn for Kids. “In kids’ places you can sometimes find things that add a whimsical touch,” she says. The vanity is blonde oak (off camera).
Since it is close to the pool area, D’Ascola wanted a nautical theme for the guest bathroom, which she created with a round mirror, blue colors, and chrome goose-neck sconces. The shiplap walls add to the feeling of being onboard a vessel.
By: JP Faber
*Photos by Gilbert De La Rosa