If Life Were A Beach

Creative Concepts designer Robin Wall transformed a client’s home in The Peninsula into the permanent vacation of their dreams

Story by Meredith Lindemon   |   Photography by Krista Valliant 

The perfect beach house makes guests want to stay after their temporary escape ends.

In Millsboro, Karen Kenney and her husband, John Evanoff, share a golf course community home that’s a contemporary take on the true, traditional style. Located in the gated Peninsula community across the river from a golf course, its interior is finished in grays, navys and
soft blues, white marble and tile, and pale wood
and glass. 

Colors and finishes are offset with well-designed, unobtrusive furniture in darker blues and lighter browns in durable cotton weaves in solids, sophisticated pinstripes or subtle patterns. It effortlessly blends into its surroundings… cool, breezy and filled with light. 

Originally from New Jersey, Karen and John were timing their retirement to coincide with their move to their new home. “We’d come down here for the weekend, and not want to go home,” Karen said.

After spending a year traveling back and forth from their New Jersey rental to their Delaware home, the two decided to make their weekend escape their full-time residence. All they needed were furnishings. 

“We knew that nothing in our former home was going to work here,” Karen said. She added that she needed a break from cut-crystal and china cabinets, and wanted to start a new phase in her life.

Robin Wall is an interior designer at Creative Concepts’ Lewes locaiton, a furniture-and-design showroom with a second location in Ocean View. The couple met Robin through a referral from a neighbor in their gated community and hired her to complete the interior decorating project prior to their full-time move. 

“I met Karen and John in the showroom,” said Robin. “I furnished their entire house. I incorporated my designed furnishings with her pieces so that they all blend perfectly.” Robin describes her design aesthetic as a “coastal style” that ranges from sophisticated to bright, based on a color palette and style of the clients.

“It was traumatic retiring and moving away from my grandchildren. But I love it here. This is my happy place. It feels like waking up in the Ritz-Carlton every day.”

— Karen Kenney, pictured with her husband, John Evanoff

“Karen’s [style] is very sophisticated coastal, in grays, blues and whites,” Robin said. “You can also have a client who says, ‘I waited my whole life for a beach house. I want bright, fun colors.’ Across the street, there’s a homeowner that has teal, orange and turquoise. It’s the same house with a completely different look [created by] the colors and furnishings.”

“I learned that I’m not sure I have a style,” John added. “I’m open more than I thought I was. It’s like, ‘Trust the force; let the Robin be with you,’” quipped John.

Robin created a unique look and feel for Karen and John’s home by incorporating furnishings from their New Jersey residence into her design. Karen wanted to keep her traditional style, but have Robin add a contemporary, clean line feel throughout. She accomplished this by showcasing colorful fabrics, patterns and textures, and the addition of wallpaper in the master bedroom and powder-bath helped to complete the space. Robin also incorporated Hunter Douglas plantation shutters, which added the desired coastal feel to the home, and the selections of wallpaper, artwork, lamps and accessories brought a cohesive unity to the design. 

In the three-season room, Robin incorporated furnishings that created a beautiful, cohesive flow to and from the dining room. Every detail in this space works together to form a warm, cozy outdoor retreat, including a Hunter Douglas designer screen shade.

Outside, handsome, all-weather furniture and a dining table and chairs provide the perfect setting for entertaining. 

Designer Robin Wall

“I like to ask clients a lot of questions and really listen to what they say,” Robin said. “A big obstacle for clients moving to the area is that they aren’t sure of the look and feel they want in their new home. Most want some level of coastal. My goal is to help with this process, which is emotional and personal. I strive to make that easy and comfortable.”

“It was traumatic retiring and moving away from my grandchildren,” said Karen. “But I love it here. This is my happy place. It feels like waking up in the Ritz-Carlton every day.”

“I think it just feels right. It feels like we’re part of the community, like we’re part of the whole experience here,” says John. “It’s like being on vacation every day.”  

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