Designer Ames Ingham and her sister, architect Tyler Weld, grew up in New York City with a mother who worked at an auction house and brought them to antique markets. In adulthood, the sisters settled down on opposite coasts—Ingham in Los Angeles, Weld in the Berkshires—and relished visiting their mother (and browsing antique markets) every summer in the south France, at the summer home she shared with her husband. But as their own children grew older, and schedules got complicated, finding a place stateside where the entire clan could converge became a priority. Florida was a sensible choice. Less obvious was whether two generations of what Ingham calls “house-obsessed” women could design and build a home from scratch without imploding.
“We had the best time!” Ingham says, still amazed by the seamlessness of their collaboration. “None of us are fussy. We all like everything to be clean and tailored. My mother and I have a similar aesthetic, with me skewing contemporary California and her skewing traditional, and my sister skews traditional and is really good with details. So we all balanced each other out.”
The three shared a desire to respect the existing landscape, with its abundance of mature, lush foliage. To keep the design review process as simple as possible, and to maintain a timeline, they adhered to the size allowed for the lot and worked around the existing garden, not challenging any setbacks, height restrictions, or square footage allotments. Over two years of FaceTime meetings and site visits, they achieved their mission: A livable, easy-to-maintain retirement home with enough space to host small gatherings that reads more Europe than it does Florida, with copious windows framing views of the wonderful old Banyan trees.
The one-story, three-bedroom house looks and feels much bigger than it actually is. “Our mother wanted the feeling of an art gallery, with indirect lighting, high ceilings, and cool spaces,” Ingham explains. Key to the design is the living room, a large gallery-like space at the center of the house, with soaring ceilings and tall French doors that let in plenty of light. Here, and throughout the house, plain white walls and pale wood floors provide a clean, unifying backdrop for their mother’s treasured art and antiques, while select bursts of citrus upholstery and linens inject extra warmth. “We did a lot, a lot, a lot of shopping for fabric to find something we fell in love with together,” Ingham laughs.