The Bakerfield Luxury Homes decorated model, the Belle Soleil II, recently opened at WaterGrass in Wesley Chapel, Florida. We sat down with model decorator and Director of Marketing for Bakerfield, Arlene Mueller to talk about how she made the model selections, what inspired her design, and her decorating tips.

What is your decorating background?
I have a Bachelor of Fine and Professional Arts from Kent State University and have worked in the advertising and marketing/graphic design arena for over 25 years. Over time, my training in those areas has transitioned to interiors. I’ve had the added benefit and experiences of relocating many times. Building several new homes challenged my creativity for space, convenience, practicality and aesthetics. In addition, my two passions are photography and reviving old furniture, so it’s a mixture of these interests and experiences that have now led me to interior design.

What is your favorite aspect of the Belle Soleil II floor plan?
My favorite aspect of Belle Soleil II is the openness the house offers. The lower area is designed beautifully for entertaining yet has a fully integrated view of the upper level. The kitchen is expansive, creating the central hub for socializing while still designating ample space for the “chef in charge”. Grande views seems to be the overriding design theme of this floor plan – the wide, open space of the upper and lower levels which offer in-the-round vistas of the pool deck area is magnificent.

Master-Bedroom-+-Sitting-Area1-300x222What is your favorite room in the Bakerfield model?
It’s very difficult for me to choose only one favorite room. Every living space in this Bakerfield model is comfortable, unique and spacious. However, the master suite is enticing. It’s a beautiful, private sanctuary with an enveloping master bedroom suite and a stunning master bath with its walk-through shower. The archway and columns give the sitting area an elegant, tucked-away feeling from the main traffic flow of the bedroom. I would think it’s a very good reason to run behind schedule every day.

What design style did you take when decorating the home?
Simply put: casual, eclectic, and livable – a relaxed, eastern coastal feel. I wanted the house to feel as though anyone could walk in and imagine themselves living there; a design that was accessible and not overdone. A neutral color base was key. I used a common accent color that flowed from one room to the next, gradually changing to another as the house unfolds. I wanted it touchable and easy, yet I included small scenarios to offer little surprises. I also enjoyed mixing natural elements – woods, metals, leather and fibers to give it a slight earthy feel.

Metallic-Backsplash-wHood1-224x300What was the basis of your inspiration for the interior design?
It all started with the copper penny tile I selected for the kitchen backsplash. I was lucky enough to start the design process at the drywall stage of construction, so the tile selection and design was the first canvas to paint and it flowed from there. The porcelain wood-grain tile for the pool/guest bath launched an overall theme for the house in my mind – coastal casual. From there, the colors and casualness of the house unfolded – neutral wall color, as you would see in nature with pops of color.

Which accent pieces do you find most interesting?
One of my favorite pieces is the sailboat on the stair well landing shelf. It’s a wonderful surprise introduction to the upper level as well as a bold maneuver to utilize that space. One immediately gets the feeling that it’s going to be casual yet sophisticated as one tops the stairs. Architecturally speaking, the veranda that surrounds the upper level offers full views to the lower level. This gives it a European essence, which I find very inviting.

Many of the rooms have a singular inspiration piece that steered the design of that particular space. The inspiration list is endless but my firm belief is that every home needs to tell the story of its inhabitants, and that can be done through small, visual surprises.

Laundry-Room1-300x224Do you have decorating tips for those looking to enhance their home?
Often people overdo a room by either adding too many pieces of furniture or too many elements of one theme. Not having every wall supporting a piece of furniture or artwork can give a sense of relief to a room. If choosing a wall color is a daunting task, stay neutral. A neutral taupe or grey will offer an unobtrusive backdrop with which to experiment with accent colors using pillows and rugs. Slowly but surely, the room will come together.

Ultimately, a person should design a room for themselves and create a space that makes them happy.

How do you choose paint colors? Any trends in wall décor or painting?
I certainly look to the interior décor color trends, but I also pay close attention to color trends in marketing and fashion. This comes from my experience in the advertising world, but it’s very important because these are the colors that affect us every day. Experimenting with paint color shouldn’t be intimidating. If it doesn’t work, it’s only a can of paint. I once painted a room in my home three different colors in one week before I got it right.

If you’d like to check out the Belle Soleil II and Arlene’s beautiful work, make an appointment to visit today.