Every morning, designer Fitz Pullins and his fiancé, Steve Williams, are greeted by a barrel’s worth of silver monkeys and dozens of fluttering blue jays. The colorful menagerie-or, more specifically, the Cole & Son wallpaper depicting it-fills their en suite bathroom, visible from the bed through a pair of French doors. “What’s more invigorating than a jungle?” Pullins says. “Waking up, brushing your teeth-I want it to be entertaining for me.”
It’s a modus operandi for his life and his approach to designing his own home, a five bedroom, five bathroom in Jacksonville, Florida, just steps away from the St. Johns River. “I’ve been in Jacksonville all my life, born and raised,” he says. “I tried to escape a couple of times and it didn’t last very long.” Pullins and Williams purchased the nearly century-old, Prairie-style house five years ago, and have been busy transforming every square inch of it ever since: In addition to adding new plumbing and electrical, the couple opened up walls, gutted the kitchen, changed a sunroom into a closet (“We love clothes,” says Pullins, a former wardrobe stylist), and installed a saltwater dipping pool. (A wine cellar remains on their to-do list.)
Several motifs emerged throughout the house: ornate fixtures and tilework, millwork painted a glossy black, and irreverent art choices-the painting in the living room is based on a scene that artist Caitlin Hurd saw while in a coma. The kitchen was no exception: “We knew we definitely wanted to display our artwork, so we painted the walls white to create a gallery,” Pullins says. (The couple also own and operate a regional art space in town.) High-contrast accents in black and gold boost the room’s drama factor; of the scrolling lanterns over the island, Pullins says, “I was drawn to them because they just reminded me of Europe. I wanted our home to look well traveled.”
Despite the prevalence of black and white, it’s color-the bolder the better-that Pullins always comes back to. So when it came to choosing a hue for the living room, the largest space in the house, Pullins couldn’t help but indulge in a moody peacock. “I fought for blue since we first moved in, and I finally got my way,” he laughs. “I just love color, honestly. It’s in my DNA.”
“We wanted to make this major entrance,” says designer Fitz Pullins of the high-gloss, high-contrast entry in his Jacksonville, Florida, home. Chest: Bernhardt. Mirror: antique. Tile: Cement Tile Shop. Pendant: West Elm. Art: Ashley Woodson Bailey. Paint: Cloud White (on walls) and custom color (on trim) by Benjamin Moore. Dining room chandelier: RH. Dining chairs: Jessica Charles.
Lenmar’s UltraLaq sealant on top of its DuraLaq black undercoater (matched to the home’s trim) gives the cabinets a mirror-like shine. Stools: HomeGoods. Pendants: Circa Lighting. Counters: Opustone. Cabinet hardware: Alno. Faucet: Waterstone.
“It’s where we do most of our ‘adulting’-drinking wine by the fire, playing games, hanging out,” says Pullins. Sofa: Cisco Home in Ralph Lauren fabric. Chairs: Tov Furniture. Cocktail table: The Mostest Vintage via Chairish. Green pillows: Rodeo Home via Tuesday Morning. Rug: Stanton. Pendant: France & Son. Paint: Washington Blue by Benjamin Moore. Art: Caitlin Hurd.
The French doors that originally divided the space from the kitchen were removed and reused for the bedroom’s en suite bath. Chandelier: RH. Banquette: Vanguard. Pillows: Leah Singh (pink and black), Ralph Lauren (tan and white). Table: AllModern. Chair: Four Hands. Rug: Tuesday Morning.
“I saw that wallpaper and I fell in love,” says Pullins of the Cole & Son pattern, a collaboration with Ardmore Ceramic Art. Vanities: RH. Fixtures: Waterworks. Chair: Anthropologie. Sconces: Arteriors. Rug: Texere via Oasis Rug & Home.
“Our neighbors, are like, ‘Oh, you guys are in the one with the small pool, right?’ ” laughs Pullins. “That’s us.” Furniture: Martha Stewart. Green paint: Gumdrop by Benjamin Moore
We learn something every day, and lots of times it’s that what we learned the day before was wrong.