This House in Alys Beach Is Anything but Traditional

Known for her fearless use of color, Houston designer Katie Scott creates a vacation retreat for her brother and sister-in-law that breaks all the rules, yet gets it just right.

By Lydia Somerville

Like so many Southerners, Katie Scott had spent countless summer vacations on Florida’s Highway 30A. As a result, Scott and her brother, Michael Ridgeway, had long fantasized about owning a home along the beautiful stretch of beach. “When Alys Beach started its development, we all went crazy over the white Bermudian architecture and courtyard-style living combined with a modern, seaside aesthetic,” she says. “Michael and his wife, Tereza, were the first to manifest the dream into reality when they saw an opportunity to build a house there.”

Alys beach courtyard
Photography by Tria Giovan

Luckily for her brother and sister-in-law, Scott is one of the South’s most accomplished designers. She also had recently finished a new house for the couple in the Old Metairie neighborhood of New Orleans, so she was very familiar with their tastes. “For this home, we were inspired by classic Palm Beach style,” the designer says, “but we wanted to avoid the typical beach house look. That led to our idea of a dark green-and-black palette.”

To highlight the tall doors across the back of the Alys Beach house, Scott painted them black. She continued the color on the window frames, laying the groundwork for the home’s highly nontraditional interior palette of black and green. Fourteen-foot ceilings enlarge the sense of space and flood the interiors with natural light, creating the perfect canvas for the vivid hues.

Alys Beach living room
Photography by Tria Giovan

Known for her use of bold color, Scott covered the living room sofas with a kelly green fabric trimmed in preppy white. Black upholstery on the chairs, as well as on a nearby dining banquette, add to the room’s energy. The designer chose commercial-grade or outdoor fabrics to allow for wet bathing suits, even on the sofas. Black-lacquer finishes throughout the house, including on the kitchen cabinetry, add uptown polish to the scheme. “I love how rich and cozy it makes the relatively simple kitchen feel,” she says. “The counters are white marble, so there is a beautiful contrast of light and dark.”

banquette
Photography by Tria Giovan

Because the living room/dining room combination is long and linear, Scott chose to break up the space. “I created banquette seating along one wall to bring the dining space away from the living room area, which really opened up the room,” she says. Over the dining table, a series of Warhol-type celebrity portraits, commissioned from architect and artist Ken Tate, provides a reliable conversation starter. “Michael and Tereza had fun picking out their favorite people to feature,” says Scott.

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