A Layered Home on the Space Coast

by Bethany Joy Foss

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

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

Photography by Laura Hagood

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.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

This corner of the master bedroom is Kelli’s favorite spot in the house. Kelli had wanted a peacock chair for a long time and finally found this one with decorative black accents at a thrift shop after moving to Florida. “When we bought it, the woman at the register said it had been there for months and she had been waiting to see who would buy it!”

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

Tony made the Tiki sitting next to a Frida Kahlo portrait for Kelli’s 33rd birthday. Kelli tells us, “The meaning is ‘happiness’ and I love the juxtaposition next to troubled Frida.” Fresh bougainvillea clippings are always kept next to the bed to remind Kelli of the bushes at her childhood home in Arizona and they are the perfect complement to the green wall behind.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

Kelli is seen here with her daughters Lindy and Mallory.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The cheerful master bathroom is painted a sunny yellow with bright pink accents. Kelli lovingly refers to this as her “garden tub” with dozens of plants filling every surface. She shares that this room started with a few different ideas that have been morphed together to create the final outcome. Decorative textiles like the hanging Otomi tapestry above the bathtub highlight Kelli’s knack for combining patterns and textures.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

Redoing the bathroom sink proved to be one of Kelli and Tony’s most time-consuming renovations. They found the Talavera sink on craigslist and made the decision to pair it with a butcher block counter, but could not find the right size anywhere. After traveling all around Florida, they finally found one that fit. Kelli shared, “We got it the day before my husband went out to sea. He worked so hard on it!”

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

A stunning front door opens up onto an eclectic mix of keepsakes like these bark wood paintings from an antique store in Hawaii. The mandolin peeking from the corner belonged to Kelli’s grandmother and was one of the only things she inherited after her passing last year. Kelli uses the entry to give a taste for what’s to come inside the house.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The open layout joins the dining and living rooms. Kelli thought she would dislike the open space concept, but cannot imagine living without it now and loves being able to look out into the living room from the kitchen. “I never miss a dance party while I’m cooking.”

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The family has dinner together every night with fun table arrangements that celebrate each season. Kelli keeps around 50 table runners that she and the girls rearrange at least once a month to keep the space fresh and exciting. She jokes that if her family opened a store one day, it would be strictly for dining adornments.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

Discouraged by the lack of pantry space, Kelli added shelves and cabinets to extend the storage capabilities into the dining area, hanging kitchenware and special knickknacks alike.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The rooster hutch was made from reclaimed wood from an Ocean Festival in Key West and stores all of the family’s oils, silverware, coasters and other kitchen items.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The spice rack in the kitchen was made from an old Coke crate found in Hawaii and Kelli added inexpensive spice jars that fit right into each coke bottle slot. Down towards the end of the counter is where Kelli keeps her favorite Café Bustelo coffee for frequent use.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The Talavera backsplash surrounds the kitchen with bright and busy patterns while other trinkets and personal items end up filling the counters.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

Kelli and Tony have collected art, textiles, tchotchkes and treasures from around the globe and love filling their space with the memories carried by each one.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

Sun-soaked and open, the “Florida Room” porch celebrates beach life with decorative shell hangings, wind chimes and plenty of plant life. Kelli purchased the surf board on the North Shore in Hawaii and rode it until it became waterlogged and unusable. “I had so many nostalgic memories that I couldn’t bear to get rid of it, so we use it as a plant prop,” she shares.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The living room is layered with bright color and textiles all over the floor for easy lounge space and the warmth of the walls pick up on the reds, pinks and yellows of the numerous patterns.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

This shelf hold the family’s first edition collection and the hanging vase was made to resemble the flowing lava that is located only a few miles from their house in Hawaii.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The 1749 square-foot, Florida ranch style house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open layout.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The girl’s room is bright and cheerful with light walls accented by soft pinks and greens. Kelli gushes about her oldest daughter, “My favorite part is the pillow that perfectly describes her tiny fierce spirit.”

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

A gallery of positive and bright imagery in the girl’s room mixes framed, stretched canvas, and hanging banners that fill the wall.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

Kelli combines the light pastels with plants and a bit of blue to carry in the tropical vibe from the rest of the house. Kelli loves how the ceramic chicken piece describes her youngest daughter, “[She was] born down in Key West and we’ve called her ‘chicken’ since she was a few months old.”

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

This was the first piece of artwork Kelli had ever purchased for herself after joining the Coast Guard. “It was ridiculously expensive and I spent almost an entire paycheck on it around 15 years ago. I don’t care how much my style evolves, the ‘fish split’ picture will come with me everywhere!”

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The artwork in the middle of the wall was made by a dear friend’s sister in Key West and inspired the color palette for the playroom. On the right is a Tree of Life that was sourced from a Balinese temple over a hundred years ago. “We weren’t in the market to buy anything, but we had to have it when we saw it,” Kelli shares about their treasure from Bali.

Kelli and Tony Collins' Home on Design*Sponge

The playroom is open to the living room beyond with a brilliant butterfly wall that lights up every child’s face when they see it. “I remember visiting a children’s museum when I was younger and always wondered why no one had their house set up like one. I vowed that if I ever had children, I would make a safe setup like a children’s museum that they could be in every day. This is my attempt!”

Source List

Living Room
Walls – Painted Richard’s Paint, Angelic Choir
Rugs – Rugs USA, World Market, Interwoven, Vintage Kilim
Patterned Chair – World Market
Grey Chair – IKEA
Wooden Florida – Vintage Living Marketplace in Rockledge

Dining Room
Walls – Painted Richard’s Paint, Angelic Choir
Rooster – Festival in Key West
Rug – Rugs USA
Chairs – Pier 1
Table – Crate and Barrel

Walls – Painted Richard’s Paint, Angelic Choir
Juicer – Omega
Talavera Tiles – Amazon
Cutting Boards – Outdoor Market

Walls – Painted Ralph Lauren, Jessel Blue
Desk – Target
Hanging Chair – Pier 1
Rug – World Market
Bali Tree of Life – Vintage/Thrifted
Butterflies – Amazon
Butterfly Artwork – Earthbound Trading Company
Yellow Shelf – Rockledge Gardens
Green Cabinet – IKEA
Baskets – Home Goods

Hammock – Anthropologie
Macramé Table – Rehab Vintage Market
Flower Artwork – Target
Knobs – Anthropologie

Master Bedroom
Walls – Painted Richard’s Paint, Aquadazzle
Bedding – Anthropology
Moroccan Wedding Blanket – Morocco
Pillows – Tuesday Morning, World Market, Flea Markets
Rainbow Baskets – Thrifted from Goodwill
Silver Basket – Target
Elephant Stool and Brown End Tables – Ross
Baskets – Thrifted
Woven Art – Home Goods
Rugs – Vintage

Master Bathroom
Walls – Painted Valspar, Sunday Brunch
Tapestry – Pottery Barn
Butcher Block – IKEA
Sink – Craigslist
Rug – Rugs USA
Planters – Amazon, Local Nursery

Door – Painted Olympic Paint, Teaberry Blossom
Table – Thrifted
Ampersand – Target
Copper Planter – Urban Outfitters

Girl’s Room
Planter – Target
Bedding and Pillows – Target
Artwork – Home Goods, Local Artists

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    • Thanks for your note KB! I’ve updated the post to reflect the distinction between a Realtor and real estate agent.


  • I love this home and everything about it! The textures, layering, colors, unique touches… this is what I’d like my place to be like!

  • This place really speaks to the power of a great paint job. I’m currently shopping for flooring materials for my place, so for that reason I took notice what all the floors were like in this house. The actual house without any of Kelli’s stuff is really nothing special (nothing wrong with it, but not remarkable) but you’d never notice. A good reminder not to obsess too much about finding the perfect tiles for each room.

  • This is my favorite home tour so far (and I think I’ve seen them all…)! LOVE the colors and the tropical, boho vibe! So well done.

  • The happy riot of colors here gives me sensory overload–not a choice on my part–but I applaud the sunny spirit that put this rainbow of rooms and patterns and textures together! Almost impossible to believe that Kelli’s color blind, given the skill shown for maximalism that stops just shy of excess.