Interiorssneak peeks

A Photographer’s Art Deco Beach Bungalow

by Garrett Fleming

Photographer Mary Beth Koeth has traveled far and wide perfecting her craft. She’s spent months in Norway learning the ropes, trekked across Europe with Hallmark and interned with some of Los Angeles’ most stellar creatives. Mary Beth says Miami, FL, however, has inspired her and made her smile more than any other exotic location she’s visited. For that very reason, in 2010 she set up shop permanently in South Beach.

The art deco apartment she rents there is the epitome of South Beach style. Built in the 1930s, it features an original fireplace, an eye-catching retro facade and terrazzo tile throughout. Thanks to all these details and more, the right bones were there when Mary Beth moved in. Making the space feel current, though, now that was the challenge — and one she knew she couldn’t rush into. Instead of snagging any old thing she saw, Mary Beth slowly but surely gathered tables, chairs and accessories from her favorite secondhand shops in the city. This mix she’s put together gives the space both a touch of modernity and a touch of her own style: eclectic comfortability.

All in all, these additions create an interesting juxtaposition. Original floors and Mary Beth’s bold finds are surprising complements, and the space’s cheery style and neutral backdrop, while different, work in tandem beautifully. I think my favorite part of Mary Beth’s home, however, is how she’s managed to fill it without breaking the bank. Most of the decorations come from a local consignment shop, and only a select few things are brand-spankin’ new. You’d never know though, thanks to the stellar styling job she’s done. Click through to see exactly how she put it all together on a budget, and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Mary Beth Koeth

A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
Mary Beth's guest room gets the best light of any room in her Miami home. She found the blanket at a thrift store for $2. It cost her more to have it dry cleaned! Accompanying it is a set of throw pillows from Galen Unique, a used lamp originally from Anthropologie and a side table from Ross.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
Before setting up shop in Miami, portrait photographer Mary Beth worked as a designer for Hallmark and traveled all over Europe. Nowadays, her lens is pointed towards the people and architecture of Florida. She's always been drawn to characters and says they are definitely not in short supply here in South Beach.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
The guest room's double doors -- another fabulous original detail.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
The guest room's terrazzo floors are a mainstay in vintage Miami rentals because they're easily refinished and extremely durable. The desk is from IKEA, and the chair is from Bargain Barn thrift store.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
"The thing I love most about my home is that a lot of the items that I have in here are old and have a story," -- Mary Beth Koeth
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
You can get a taste of Mary Beth's work in the living room (hanging on the left). She typically doesn't display her own pieces, but with 950 square feet comes minimal storage. Hanging them seemed more practical than having the pair take up closet space. "Raven -- the man in the photos -- is a Miami Beach legend. He's been running eight miles on the sands of South Beach every day, without missing a day, for over 41 years," Mary Beth tells us.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
This fireplace is original to the building and adds a unique touch to the rental even if it isn't necessary. After all, winter temperatures only dip to the low 60s in Miami. Nevertheless, Mary Beth does use it from time to time. The candlesticks are a secondhand store find.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
When Mary Beth turned 32, she wished for a sofa. If she had her way, she would own one by the time she was 33. Luckily, a friend was getting rid of this gently-used one and made her wish come true! The throw pillows are by CB2, and the coffee table was thrifted.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
The living room's workspace is spiced up with works by Dirk Fowler, Yousuf Karsh, Hollie Chastain and Elizabeth Baddeley.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
Every morning, as the palm trees sway outside, sunlight glistens through Mary Beth's bedroom window. The vintage painting is from a Missouri art show, and the large "M" was a gift from a friend.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
These collected vintage letters aren't supposed to spell anything, and it drives Mary Beth's friends crazy. Mary Beth simply loves typography so she collects pieces that catch her eye as she thrifts.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
This chalkboard wall is perfect for making lists and staying organized. Mary Beth finds it reassuring to wake up and easily be able to see exactly what her day's going to look like. Underneath the glass desktop are mementos, photography books and an embroidered yellow rose of Texas -- a reminder of where Mary Beth is from.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
"I had never seen a place like this on the beach. It felt warm and cozy, almost like a little cottage in the middle of the craziness that is South Beach," Mary Beth says of her 1930s art deco home.
A Photographer's Art Deco Beach Bungalow, Design*Sponge
The home's floor plan.

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