Small Florida Home is Big on Boho Style

Beachy bohemian flair and space-saving ideas make this home the perfect size and style

White slip-cover sofa and painted trunk coffee table
Slipcovers are Tammy’s secret weapon against the dirt and grime that comes with being a parent and pet-owner.

In a Spanish-style bungalow by the beach in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, lives Tammy Serrano, shop owner of Cloth & Patina. She resides here with her 10-year-old son (her older daughters have already grown up and moved out) and has downsized in square footage, yet her home has plenty of charm and character that make it the perfect place to call home.

Every square foot of space matters, and Tammy’s home features many architectural details that make it unique, while playing down the fact that it’s a little on the small side. “The home has higher ceilings and lots of windows and sliders, which open it up. Otherwise, it would feel tiny,” Tammy explains.

Here, she shares how she’s designed her home with space-saving tricks and the right amount of personal style.

Small Scale, Big Style

A little creativity goes a long way, especially in a small home. In Tammy’s bungalow, you’ll see antique pieces in an eclectic mix of décor styles, but she keeps the look very curated so it doesn’t overwhelm the space. Whitewashed furniture and coastal accessories, including garlands she made from driftwood and crushed seashells, make it feel cozy and casual inside.

“I call it French Bohemian coastal with a little bit of shabby style,” Tammy says. “I definitely like the weathered look, and I put a Bohemian spin on things. Being in south Florida not too far from the ocean, I always try to add some coastal style, and I love French pieces, so I blend it all together.”

Color Me Mine

A palette of warm, weathered details creates a soothing and serene atmosphere. Continuing the same color scheme throughout keeps the décor cohesive, and the vibe refreshing and relaxing. She’s painted over most of her furniture with gray and white chalk paint to give it a seaside flavor.

To create a calm, clean-slate effect, Tammy incorporated white details by using white slipcovers on her sofa and chairs. Take it from a mom of three, who lives with a few pets and a son who loves to track in dirt, that white is livable: “I know not everybody is all about white, but that’s the beauty of slipcovers,” Tammy says. “White opens any space, and you can always add throw pillows and blankets for color.”

Old Things, New Purpose

An expert at refurbishing castoff furniture pieces and beautifying them, Tammy decorated her entire home with roadside or flea-market finds she’s refreshed with her personal style.

Her all-time favorite piece is a big gray armoire that houses her TV and everyday objects she wants to hide behind closed doors. While the antique hand-carved teak piece had lovely detailing, the finish wasn’t quite her style. “I tried to live with teak for a while because I felt bad wanting to paint it over, but then I ended up painting it with white and gray chalk paint to blend with all the rest of my décor.”

Her coffee table is an old vintage black trunk repainted white, which she uses to stash her throw blankets and magazines. “At the time, I couldn’t find a coffee table that fit the small space, so it serves dual purposes.”

Tammy advises that in a small space every furniture piece should be purposeful and multifunctional. She also stresses the importance of minimizing everything, including clutter. “I try to keep things as open as possible,” Tammy says. “Paint pieces to blend in with [the color of] your wall, only add a few key pieces and don’t have too many boxy pieces. It keeps everything open and flowy.”


For more on Cloth & Patina, visit


How to Arrange a Farmhouse Bouquet

This bouquet gets a touch of farmhouse character, courtesy of a pretty enamel pitcher.

How to Arrange a Spring Farmhouse Bouquet

“Flowers make a room come alive and are small in size yet big in beauty,” says Janet Coon of Shabbyfufu. “There is nothing as elegant as a bare table with a large bouquet of flowers simply placed randomly to please the eye in a vessel.”

This simple aesthetic is unfussy and allows natural elements to speak for themselves, as demonstrated so eloquently in this bouquet arranged by Janet, and featured in the February 2017 issue of Romantic Homes.

Elements of a romantic bouquetThe floral elements in this bouquet of the month include:

  • Seeded eucalyptus
  • Baby blue eucalyptus
  • Pink peonies
  • White ranunculus
  • Sword fern
  • Agonis
  • Queen Anne’s lace
  • Kale variety

To make the bouquet of the month, fill a pitcher or other tall vase 2/3rds full of fresh water and add plant food. Trim the ends of the floral stems at an angle, but don’t cut them short.

No floral foam is necessary for this arrangement. Start by adding bunches of eucalyptus and argonis, allowing them to drape over the side of the container. Then fill in with additional flowers as desired.

Forcing Peonies to Open:

If you buy your peonies from a flower market or grocery store, they will probably arrive with the buds in tight balls. If you’d like to enjoy the lush, full blooms now instead of waiting, follow these steps to force them to open up:

Romantic bouquet elements including peonies, eucalyptus and Queen Anne's Lace

  1. Cut off all the excess leaves from the stem.
  2. Hold the stem under warm water and make a 45-degree cut.
  3. Keep the flowers in a warm room and replace the water with warm water at least 3 times a day.
  4. (Optional) Put the flowers in your car for a few hours – it will function as a hothouse.
  5. (Optional) Put a plastic bag over the heads of the flowers and seal it, trapping in ethylene gas and encouraging them to open faster.
  6. (Optional) Submerge the flowers face down in warm water for about five minutes.


Flowers provided by Miami Flower Market





Tour a Whimsical Holiday Home

This gorgeous space will put you in the Christmas spirit.

Shabby French Christmas table video tourStylist and photographer Janet Coon of Shabbyfufu knows what it takes to make Christmas enchanting and lovely. Take a peek inside her holiday home with this video tour.






A New Home With Vintage Sensibilities

Learn how to turn a newly constructed home into a vintage haven with homeowner Amy Campbell.

This tract home bathroom gets a vintage makeover with a farmhouse style bathtub and vintage bathroom accessories.
This tract home bathroom gets a vintage makeover with a farmhouse style bathtub and gold vintage bathroom accessories.

What do you do when you have a new home, but want a vintage look? When Amy Campbell and her husband Joe bought a new tract home in Temecula, California, Amy knew she would have to speed up its aging process. Here’s how she did it.

Vintage furniture makes the perfect antique haven for this new home.
The master bed is an heirloom piece from Joe’s grandparents, and on an end bench Amy displays part of her vintage hat collection.

Start With the Bones.

Decorating a home always starts with the structure itself. Even though Amy and Joe’s home still smelled of fresh sawdust, she saw the potential for vintage style. “I knew the ‘bones’ would work with my style,” she says. “I wouldn’t want high ceilings because they don’t lend themselves to a delicate style of furniture. It had the right scale for the way I like to decorate. Even though it’s an open floor plan, the scale and aspects of the room lent themselves to a gentler style of furniture, not huge pieces. It was the perfect marriage of light, open rooms in a traditional type of architectural style that I could decorate the way I wanted to. It also had English gardens in the back and front of the house.”

Instead of working against the architecture, Amy used it to her advantage. “The architectural style was French Country with a little Tuscan influence,” she says. “I wanted it a little more rustic. I added some shabby elements and a bit of industrial style for a French-cottage distressed look.” Amy paired the French country architecture with her own vintage style, which resulted in an aged but timeless look. “I love anything rustic and chippy,” she says. “I’d describe the décor as French provincial with a cottage twist.”

This new home receives a vintage makeover with shabby interiors and antiques on display.
If you want to display vintage items in your home, don’t stop with pillows or statuettes. Make clothes into accent pieces with a hat rack or dress form.

Add Vintage Charm.

When it comes to furniture, Amy is all about antiques. “Everything in my home has to be old and have a history, either vintage or antique,” she says. She displays vintage finds throughout her home, and doesn’t stop with the furniture. “I collect vintage buttons and add them to modern clothing,” Amy says. “I also collect floral oil paintings. My great-great cousin was an oil painter, and I started collecting and displaying them, including three of her paintings.” By displaying items such as antique coats and hats, Amy shows off her love of vintage style through small details as well as the larger elements of her rooms.

Shabby vintage details make this new home the perfect antique showcase.
Amy shares her grandmother’s passion for needlepoint, and in the living room, Amy’s work sits next to her grandmother’s on display.

Strut Your Stuff.

Not only does Amy display vintage pieces throughout her home, but she also shows off some of her own handiwork. “I love anything with needlepoint, and I display the needlepoints my grandmother and I made in the rooms,” she says. Even her passion for crafts and hand stitching is part of the heritage her grandmother passed down, and now the work of both grandmother and granddaughter sits proudly side by side. Amy’s needlepoint projects make an appearance in pillows and ottomans in various rooms.

In her dining room, Amy decorates for fall with appropriate white pumpkins and sprigs of green.
In her dining room, Amy decorates for fall with appropriate white pumpkins and sprigs of green.

Be Seasonal.

When the weather turns cold, Amy dresses up her home for the various holidays during fall and winter. “I love to decorate with pumpkins and gourds,” she says. “I also decorate bottlebrush trees—my true craft passion—for the holidays. I repurpose shoe buckles into bracelets and make them for holiday parties.”

During the fall months, real pumpkins and needlepointed masterpieces grace her living room, dining table and even bedroom. “The beauty of this kind of décor is that everything blends together well,” Amy says.


Create Rustic Scandinavian Style

4 tips to bring a fresh Scandinavian look into your home, no matter the actual age of the house.

The northern location of Sweden results in summers that are drenched in sunlight during the long days. Natural light is an integral part of the culture and homes throughout the region work this into their design using colors and textures that reflect it well. Sara Normann teaches us how to achieve the airy, yet traditional feel of a Swedish home in her the new edition of her book Simply Scandinavian. Even if your house is newer construction, you can still get that time-touched look we all love here at Romantic Homes.


Let The Light In. Get rid of curtains all together if possible. “Not having curtains is important in a culture that adores light. Houses in Sweden tend to be well set apart, which means privacy is maintained.” Natural light instantly adds a sense of openness and vitality to any space. If you need some coverage, choose white curtains in a sheer fabric. This will still allow light to pour in but shield the interior from outside.


Distress Tables. Making a kitchen or coffee table look worn is easier than it seems. Simply paint any wood piece with your favorite shade of white, allow to dry and rub sandpaper on areas that would experience wear naturally. The wood underneath will show through and give the furniture a charming rustic look.


Contrasting Metallics. “Materials like the rough, powder-coated steel of the classic Tolix chairs and stools break up the whiteness of the room and give it depth.” Find Tolix chairs at affordable prices online, where many vendors offer them.

Wide Floorboards. Emulate the locally sourced wood flooring of older Scandinavin homes using wide, pale floorboards. Normann notes that doing this adds a rural feel to the room and makes your home appear much older than it may actually be, giving it a sense of history.

9781849757294 copy

Simply Scandinavian by Sara Normann
Ryland Peters & Small, $29.95;

Decorating for Spring in Pink and Green

Decorating for spring in shabby chic style with green walls, white furniture and pink cushionsDecorating for Spring

Springtime always arrives like a surprise. When the first hint of spring wafts in on a late winter breeze, it makes us pause, take a deep breath, and then let it out again with the reassurance that, soon, the trees will blush pink and the world will turn green once more.

You can capture that moment of anticipation all year long by choosing the right color scheme for your room. The green walls shown here are color of new plants peeping out of the earth, and provide a nurturing background for the blushing pink pillow on the sofa.

Don’t overdress the simple spring setting with too many accessories. A bit of bling and a bouquet of flowers are all you need to convey the fresh, vibrant feelings of springtime.

Cottage Bedroom Style that is Calm, Cool and Collected

Cottage Bedroom StyleBuilt in cabinets are a great way to contain clutter and add architectural interest to a room. In this cottage bedroom, the under-bed drawer holds a trundle bed for guests, but it could just as easily store winter sweaters, seasonal pillows and bedding, or a collection of toys and boardgames.

Another way to make sure a cottage bedroom is a relaxing place is to choose the right color scheme. The pale green on the walls works as a calming neutral in this room that grounds the pop of color from the bedding. Seasonal changes are easy to make, without disrupting the calm ambiance throughout.

Keep calm and carry on!

Sources: Bedspread. Desk.

Shabby Rustic Kitchen

Shabby rustic kitchen
Shabby rustic kitchen

With farmhouse and romantic touches, this shabby rustic kitchen is ripe with ideas for your own. Emulate the style with help from these items we’ve rounded up from around the web.

Use white and gray trellis wallpaper for a touch of elegance.

Dress up your table with a large lace doily either in place of or atop a tablecloth.

Use a vintage porcelain creamer as a bud vase.

Vintage storage solutions also make for beautiful displays. Try using a wire basket on your countertop for extra dishtowels or for oven mitts and a metal caddy to corral spatulas and wooden spoons.

For artwork that’s both nature- and vintage-inspired, look to botanical prints like this one.

Get the Look: Vintage Chic Powder Room

Vintage Pink Powder Room
Jaimee Itagaki

No space in your home is too small to express your passion for romantic style. Pastel paints, floral prints, upcycled cabinets, vintage light fixtures and a variety of flea market finds can be used to give your bathroom unique shabby flare. Take inspiration from this shabby-sweet powder room, hit your favorite flea market and check out these vintage-style pieces online to craft a lovely and romantic bathroom.

Cath Kidston Antique Rose Bouquet Wallpaper

If you’re not lucky enough to find a home with the classic floral wallpaper in tact (and the original pink tile and fixtures to match), this Cath Kidston wallpaper offers that same sweet feel.

Wayfair Neal Medicine Cabinet

Flea markets, garage sales and antiques stores are great sources of wood furnishings. Sites like Wayfair offer contemporary pieces with traditional styling.

Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Chalk Clay Paint

Give your new and vintage finds a lovely pastel finish with Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Chalk & Clay Paint.

Anthropologie Seet Celebration Dishtowel

The print is so adorable, who cares that this piece from Anthrolpologie is a dishtowel and not made for the bath?

Crate Barrel Phoebe Footed Dessert Dish

Dishes like this piece from Crate & Barrel make wonderfully stylish catch-alls.

Laura Ashley Hydrangea Flower Hook

Hang towels, accessories and more from this charming Laura Ashley hook.

Mikasa Antique Garden Teacup

Turn your mismatched teacups into unique decor pieces.

Etsy Antique Botanical Art Vintage Roses Art Print

Floral artwork is a beautiful finishing touch for your vintage chic bathroom.