The journey to realize the vision for the villas of our 2022 Project House and get them ready for guests has been full of ups and downs, but these sparkling results—full of vivacious wallpapers and vintage elements— show just how far a dream can take you.
Mixed wallpaper prints and bright colors fill the “Annie” Villa (named as a salute to designer Annie Selke, one of our generous sponsors), giving it a vintage exuberance that will stay with guests long after they leave for home.
Although the joyful interiors have an effortless quality to them, they’re the result of the nitty gritty work of realizing the vision for the villas: several months of all-hands-on-deck, muscle-and-hustle, pedal-to-the metal work, all orchestrated and overseen by Sara McDaniel of Simply Southern Cottage.
“I knew renovating these villas and the property would be a lot,” Sara says, “but you can’t fully understand the magnitude of the project until you’re in the thick of it. Because there are eight separate villas, it’s basically like renovating eight different houses simultaneously!”
Supply issues, together with trying to stay on schedule for the villas’ reveal shoot, have plagued the progress.
In addition to setting the villa’s vision and overseeing the renovations, Sara manages the villas’ Internet presence to tell their story and spread the word about them to future guests (keep an eye on Mindenstays.com)—all while trying to have a semblance of a personal life.
“Some days, I think I’m in over my head, but then I look at how far we’ve come,” Sara says. “It’s unbelievable.”
Back From the Dead
Indeed, the evidence is in the villas themselves. The structures, which were ridden with termites, lead paint and asbestos, had been on the cusp of being demolished. Now, they are “back from the dead.” Thanks to the vision for the villas and lots of hard work, they are completely restored and full of imaginative designs from some of the best names in the industry, such as Laura Ashley and Annie Selke.
“When guests walk in, I want them to feel transported—both to another time and by the joyful designs,” Sara explains.
Natural elements are captured in a variety of cheery wallpapers in zesty lemon prints and wispy botanical patterns in the dining rooms and kitchens. There are sight lines via arched passageways through the kitchens to the dining rooms, and Sara embraces this, adding in details with Woodgrain molding, light fixtures from Barn Light Electric and, of course, a variety of additional glorious wallpapers and paint colors. Even the fridge, from Forte Appliances, has its own delicate, unexpected hue.
“Over the years, I’ve come to embrace color, patterns and lots of details,” Sara notes. “Before, I was more into neutrals. But for the villas, I’m setting aside tonality and enjoying the happy beauty of these elements combined together.”
It’s easy to imagine whipping up a dish in one of the serene, pastel kitchens and then joining hands over a rustic, one-of-a-kind table in the dining room to enjoy a meal together after a busy day of sightseeing.
Each of the villas will also feature “before” photos, which capture just how far the structures have come.
“I don’t think the guests will be able to believe how much the villas were transformed,” Sara says. “It’ll be so fun to have the photos there to show the progress.” It’s a special way to include the guests and show them that they, too, are now part of the Villas at Spanish Court’s journey.
To follow Sara and the progress of the villas, visit @simplysoutherncottage on Instagram and Facebook.
To see the living and bedroom portions of the “Annie” Villa, grab a copy of our sister publication, American Farmhouse Style.
“Lovely Lemons” wallpaper from Annie Selke (annieselke.com)
“Sunny Stripe Lemon” rug from Annie Selkie (annieselke.com)
Flooring from Mullican Hardwood Flooring (mullicanflooring.com)
“Botanical” wallpaper from Annie Selke (annieselke.com)
Vintage-inspired lighting from Barn Light Electric Co. (barnlight.com)
Freestanding bottom freezer refrigerator from Forte Appliances (forteappliances.com)
Trim from Woodgrain adds a perfect finish (woodgrain.com).
Sara fearlessly mixes wallpaper patterns in the villas for breathtaking results that show true design “moxie.” Here’s how to get the look yourself … and don’t worry! With these easy guidelines, it isn’t as intimidating as it seems.
- Size Chart. Pair different-sized prints and patterns. “This gives diversity to the overall effect,” Sara says. “You don’t want everything to feel too matchy-matchy.” The contrast will also give dimension to the space.
- Base Point. “Use colors with a similar base tone,” Sara suggests. Use warm tones together and cool tones together. You can use different shades; and, as long as the bases are the same, the design will be consistent and elevated.
- Blend It. Blend together both simple and intricate patterns. A wallpaper covered in dramatic florals will be wonderfully offset by a simpler repeating wallpaper with a pattern such as checks or stripes.
Want to see the Villas at Spanish Court before Sara’s vision transformed it? Take a look at our first installment of the Project House 2022 series. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of cottage inspiration!