A window to design
Port St. Lucie decorating firm coordinates every detail from color to comfort
BY MARY ANN KOENIG
A spacious Valencia Cay home, which Cathy and Ed Coco had contracted to build nearly two years ago, was ready just in time. Narrowly missing having to spend the COVID-19 lockdown in a two-bedroom apartment, they were able to move into their new Port St. Lucie home in February 2020.
Design firm Dow Decorating, owned and operated by husband and wife partners Kathy and David Dow, helped achieve the exact look the Cocos wanted.
The Cocos had a set vision for how they wanted to decorate the home.
“Cathy Coco has a good talent for decorating, she knew exactly what she wanted,” Kathy Dow said.
Built by GL Homes, the Cocos have filled their 3,100-square-foot, three-bedrom, 3.5 bath home with a cohesive color scheme, fine art and deco references. The layout of the home works perfectly for the Cocos’ busy lives, utilizing a large library and a great room to maximum effect.
The library, which doubles as an office, is where Ed and Cathy spend much of their time. The couple, who went to seminary school, conduct Bible study and Zoom meetings in the room.
Cathy Coco ordered bookshelves through Ballard Designs, which also supplied the large plank table. “They had exactly what we needed to fit the room perfectly,” she said. The five distinct library pieces match the unified color design throughout the rest of the home.
The grays, greens, browns and all multiples of those three shades offer traditional chic. With the open flow of the great room, it’s a home with comfortable places to relax and also to entertain, according to Cathy Coco.
PRIVATE FOR INVITING
A courtyard entry behind a gate leads to the front paneled double doors of frosted and etched glass, “to make it a bit more decorative and more private,” Cathy Coco said. And the art glass sets off the additional transom windows above the doors, allowing light to flow and amplifying the feel of the foyer space.
From there, the foyer opens to the great room, which conveys the view all the way through the house and out to the lake beyond, capturing the special nature of the setting.
The house is constructed with concrete roofing tiles and impact glass windows, so there is no need for hurricane shutters.
When the Cocos began their search for window treatments, they were determined to work with a local design firm. The Dows have been in Port St. Lucie for 14 years after spending 22 years in the interiors business in Glastonbury, Connecticut.
“We wanted to support a local business,” Cathy Coco said. “I did an online search and found they were close by.”
Dow Decorating is a Hunter Douglas distributor. “We went with them specifically for their experience, and the fact that they worked with Hunter Douglas, so we asked them to do our entire house.”
CATERING TO CLIENTS
The Dows’ business model begins with catering specifically to each client’s needs.
“We don’t have a style, we treat every home individually and work in whatever capacity the client wants,” David Dow said. “We get a feel for them; we take the lead or let them take the lead.”
Their first step is an in-home consultation and then drapery, window or bedding fabrics are chosen. The Dows’ repertoire includes upholstering furniture, window treatments, blinds and shades, and creating bespoke bedding – everything from coverlets to shams. Nearly all their products are custom made in their shop.
Together, Cathy Coco and Kathy Dow went to the model home in Valencia Cay to do rough measurements before the Coco house was built. Then the Cocos chose fabrics and hardware for the window treatments for each room, including Hunter Douglas blinds.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Outfitting a home with the appropriate window treatments is a timing thing, according to David Dow.
“The majority of our orders don’t take a long time, but we want to install all at once, so everything’s coordinated and ready at the same time. We’re really good about coordinating,” he said.
The Hunter Douglas Powerview Pebble remote, which Cathy Coco uses to control the blinds in several rooms, is a small, hand-held device, programmed to remotely operate all the blinds in the home. Pebble devices can also be individualized and color-coordinated to a room’s décor. And voice controlled through Alexa.
The Cocos moved north to Port St. Lucie to escape the busier areas around West Palm. They had been looking at a house nearly 10 years ago in Boynton Beach built by the same builder, GL Homes. They were about to put a contract on it when they had a change of heart.
“I thought, why we doing this?” Cathy Coco said. “The reason we are moving from a condo in West Palm is to get away from traffic and crowds.”
A decade later while on a drive to Port St. Lucie, “just for something to do,” Cathy Coco said, they saw a model of the house they had wanted to build in Boynton Beach. “I said to my husband, ‘Do you have a check?’ ” And that was the deciding factor in their move to Valencia Cay.
For the kitchen, which is open to the great room, the Cocos chose dark gray cabinet colors and green Verdi Butterfly granite countertops. The island countertop is quartz, for easy cleaning, which is also true of the slate gray matte finish of the GE appliances.
“I love it,” Cathy Coco said. “It doesn’t show any fingerprints. Ever.”
And those kitchen greens and grays retain the color palette of the rest of the home.
The Cocos decided on wood grain vinyl flooring throughout, which is waterproof and a good option for dogs Mickey and Allie since it contains a bit of ceramic substance, which prevents scratches.
The kitchen flows into the dining room where the Cocos display some of the art they’ve collected. French/Russian art deco master Erte is one of their favorites.
One of the 20th century’s greatest designers, Erte’s poster art and fashion define an epoch of new imagery coming out of France. The Cocos have collected several of his pieces including a rare set of Courvoisier limited edition bottles featuring Erte iconography that chronicles the cognac making process.
The exclusive collection has a place of prominence in their dining room, displayed with a set of family heirlooms. Traditional Venetian aperitif glasses and carafes, with crimson glass, gold leaf and delicately hand-painted flowers, have been in the family for years and were handed down from a great aunt.
JUST THE RIGHT LIGHT
Lighting fixtures integrate with the décor and bring the home together, such as the dining room’s metal sculpture chandelier, with matching wall sconces, from Hubbardton Forge. Their contemporary elegance, and subdued effects, define the room.
“The chandelier has a swirly feel,” Cathy Coco said. “And has dinner party low light, not meant to light up the room.”
The functional window treatments they chose, including rods and hardware, had to balance the other elements.
“Cathy Coco came into the showroom,” David Dow said, “and looked at what we had, trying to match the lighting fixtures. We have a good selection of decorative hardware, from traditional to ultra-contemporary.”
For the Dows, the Coco home is one of many design projects they’ve completed this year. Their business has doubled over 2019. They have two outside sales reps, one in Orlando and another in Vero Beach. And they’ve just hired a design graduate from Indian River State College to help with the showroom.
“Many of our clients are retirees and since they’re not traveling right now, possibly they’re staying home redecorating,” David Dow.
The Cocos have fully embraced life in their new Valencia Cay home.
“The community is peaceful,” Cathy Coco said, “and although the area is growing, it’s not quite crazy yet.” They enjoy quiet evenings sitting outside on the lanai with Mickey and Allie, taking in the lake view and savoring their well-appointed, relaxing home.