Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.
DAVID MCGOUGH AND LIZZIE VANN FOUND in 2013 and a year later I found a quaint corner property on Bimini Bay on Anna Maria Island. The house has become a passionate project: to save, renovate and redesign a house that mixes both their styles and their adorations. David’s photographic experience in New York – having grown up in the heyday of rock and roll and accustomed to photographing figures like Ozzy Osbourne and Madonna – has earned him a hardcover post of his paparazzi portraits / celebrity photographs before se retire in Florida. And Lizzie, being the British businesswoman that she modestly is – though personally honored by the Queen of England herself – has left behind a company built of innovative products for the health of children and d organic baby food to skip the pond in Florida for slower, sunnier days. What manifested was a colorful, historic and chaotically pleasurable creative project of venerable design.
âThe theme of our house was to preserve and restore our heritage, to reuse it instead of rebuilding it,â says Lizzie. âThe past is a treasure. Celebrating true craftsmanship, hand-worked construction and intricate detail, his inspiration came primarily from William Morris, a British textile designer, poet, novelist, translator and socialist activist. He was also a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods. production, often associated with the British arts and crafts movement in the late 1800s. Lizzie found splendor in designing the house as her own time-warped arts and crafts project. And Morris’s ideals of economic and social reform rather than industrialization can be seen in every square inch. The tucked-away accommodation leaves a lasting impression, with so many a
aim as an optical allure.
“Hdo not have anything in your house that you do not know how to be useful or that you do not believe beautiful. -William Morris.
âMorris rejected industrial manufacturing in favor of returning to craftsmanship, turning artisans into artists, creating affordable art and everyday use without an artistic hierarchy,â Lizzie explains. The wallpapers that cover every square inch of the home are tile covered with visually stimulating appeal, while doing their part by covering the plain, neutral walls that lurk below. Hailing from Bradbury Art Wallpapers, the company specializes in 19th and 20th century wallpapers and fabrics, reproducing historic designs and faithfully reinterpreting them with alternate colors or patterns. Each motif offers a glimpse of styles from this period. The living room’s “Arbor” foliage wallpaper with a chrysanthemum border was designed by Bruce James Talbert, the influential leader of the British aesthetic movement of the 1860s. The “Honeysuckle” hallways are covered with wallpaper designed by the daughter of William Morris , May Morris, who became well known for her free-form embroidery, handcrafted jewelry, and ceramics.
The interior color palette of sage, gold, pomegranate and red is echoed in Persian rugs, Art Deco lamps, and Old World-inspired textile curtains. The house has deliberately adopted a Victorian and Northern England architectural style, with touches of medieval, romantic, spiritual and folk design. Quarter-sawn oak doors and paneling, period hardware, pewter ceilings, mosaic flooring, natural tiger wood counters, built-in shelves and a mahogany fireplace rescued from an abandoned house in the 1920s all evoke the distinct characteristics of a lattice craftsman. Lizzie and David were sure to weave personal touches throughout their museum / gallery. David’s instruments can be found around the âmusic room,â while his life-size photograph is framed on the walls. Lizzie’s long-preserved collection of paintings, handcrafted sculptures, pottery and antique clocks decorates every nook and cranny. In the end, the scheming pair not only struck their two worlds, but created an eclectic center of “restoration, happiness, and a place of friendship.”