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Custom interiors

Interior decorator helps Devonshire residents design their dream living space

Created date

October 23rd, 2015
Customized Apartment Home
Customized Apartment Home

Diane Wendy looked at a number of places when she decided to move from her large home and property in Boca West. Devonshire, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens, was without question the best, she says.

Situated on 26 verdant acres in PGA National, its elegant décor and upscale amenities set it apart. 

Devonshire also offered the largest independent living apartment styles in southeast Florida, and Diane found the ideal one for her. A Carlisle floor plan, it overlooked a park and fountain and was spacious enough to comfortably accommodate visiting family. 

Still, Diane felt it needed her personal touch. 

Match made in heaven

Diane was delighted when she learned that residents can customize their homes at Devonshire. And she found the ideal person to collaborate with in that adventure, West Palm Beach interior decorator Linda Ashley. 

“I’d seen some of the houses Linda had decorated, and I liked them very much,” says Diane. “And I’ve sort of been in a decorating job all my life.” 

For 40 years, Diane had managed the largest antiques shows in the country, most notably her Park Avenue Armory Antiques Shows. Her 8,000-square-foot home in Boca Raton was filled with much-loved and beautiful antiques and accessory pieces.

Ashley called Diane’s enormous collection of ornate furniture, light fixtures, paintings, and accouterments a treasure trove. “Everything is here,” she told Diane. “We won’t have to buy a thing.” 

When they decided to work together, Diane gave Ashley a copy of the Carlisle floor plan. “I don’t want to influence you,” she said. “I want you to tell me what to bring based on the space.”

So Ashley drew up a furniture plan and presented it to Diane. “Those are all my favorite pieces,” Diane told her. 

The incident illustrates Ashley’s design philosophy, which she describes on her website: “Design is a collaboration that reveals a client’s aesthetic and transforms their ideas and vision into a space that is both fresh and timeless…beautiful but livable.” 

The transformation

Transforming Diane’s apartment to a fresh and timeless home involved taking down partial walls, removing pillars, and changing arches over the entries to each room. 

The results are stunning.

One design change was to remove the room divisions in the main part of the apartment. The area is now a single open living room that resembles a spacious gallery whose furniture placement draws the eye toward the courtyard view.

Diane’s ornate antique pieces play well against the area’s contemporary backdrop. “There were wonderful things we could use that we couldn’t [have found elsewhere],” Ashley says.

Ashley mixed and matched their placement to create a personalized but new look. And she repurposed a number of other furnishings. 

Diane’s favorite desk now sits inside her front door. Ruby-colored hurricane lamps, now electrified, hang above the desk, and former wall sconces now hang as chandeliers.

Diane’s entire apartment glows with antique lighting. 

In the kitchen, which Diane rarely uses because she doesn’t cook, an open area at one end of a counter now features to-the-ceiling glass shelves that display her collection of crystal boxes.

The overall effect is bright and cheerful, a pleasant place to come home to. “Linda made me so happy with what she did,” Diane says. “It’s a beautiful apartment, and it’s really comfortable.”