Kelli and Tony Collins owned a house in Hilo, Hawaii when they started looking for a new space to rent in Viera, Florida two years ago. Kelli, a marine scientist turned social media consultant and Tony, a warrant officer, met on a mutual job for the Coast Guard in Hawaii ten years ago and the career has taken them all over the United States; San Diego, San Francisco, Key West, and Hawaii until finally relocating them to the Space Coast. They searched from afar for a nice neighborhood with a good school for their two girls, Lindy and Mallory, until it became clear that becoming second homeowners was the smartest decision based on the market at the time. When their trusted real estate agent recommended a 1997, Florida ranch style house, Kelli wanted to know if she personally would buy the home. The relator responded, “I would. It has great bones, but it’s really white—white walls all around, needs some color.” Kelli knew this wouldn’t be a problem for her family and they made an offer on the three-bedroom house, sight unseen!
Since Tony is at sea for two months at a time, the renovations the couple wanted to make took around six months to complete. They remodeled the kitchen and bathroom, adding ornamental accessories like sinks and lighting to create a layered, bohemian aesthetic. Frequent trips to her Grandfather’s ranch in Mexico inspired Kelli’s love of ornate, Mexican pottery and she had always wanted a space for a Talavera backsplash. After purchasing the coveted ceramic tiles on Amazon and installing on one side of the kitchen, Kelli and Tony realized it was a daunting task and struggled to find the motivation to finish the job. Kelli confides, “We kept putting it off, so I invited family over for dinner one night and told Tony that we only had three hours to finish before they came over. I often laugh at how quickly we installed that side and the wet grout unbeknownst to our guests.” They also planned to paint the cabinets, but Tony left for sea before they could start the project about a year ago. Kelli shares, “He told me to wait until he got back to help, so I did what anyone would do—I started out to do them by myself the day after he left. I don’t know if I’ll ever take on that project by myself again!”
Kelli is color blind, resulting in a few color mishaps during the decoration process. “Apparently, the guest bathroom was a horrible creamy orange for a while, so I always make sure that Tony comes along to the paint store to validate my color selections.” Despite this, the space is overflowing with bursts of lighthearted color combinations and over 100 indoor plants beaming under the natural Florida sun that streams through their large windows. Kelli and Tony’s goal for the home was to foster an environment that would inspire creativity in their girls, making sure that each corner is filled with intrigue and cozy spots to read, write, create and dream. Kelli jokes, “It somewhat backfired on me though since they have become homebodies and never want to leave the house!” The family had purged many of their personal items before moving since the new space offered a challenging lack of storage, but that has only encouraged creativity for curating objects on display. Kelli’s layered, maximalist approach is often shifting as she searches to strike the fine line between clean and cluttered. With a little time and a lot of love, the family transformed the formerly white, 1749 square-foot house with bold color choices and plenty of cultivated treasures from all over the world to remind them that home is not about where you live, but who you live with and the journey through life together. —Bethany
Image Above: The master bedroom is draped with intricate patterns and colorful tapestries like the vintage Toran from India hanging above the bed. These layers of color are set against a calming green wall that balances the activity below. “I love everything about this room, but especially how the light plays off the green early in the morning,” Kelli shares about her favorite color.