Casa Azul


Written By: Jan Walker

The brilliant blue waters of the Aegean Sea and the sun-bleached architecture of the Greek Islands have inspired artists through the centuries. So it was only natural that the vivid color palette he encountered on a tip to Greece would capture the imagination of Stephen Pararo, owner of Pineapple House Interior Design in Atlanta.

And it’s no surprise that the same striking hues of blue and white illuminate Pararo’s summer home in West Palm Beach, aptly named Casa Azul.

Located in the historic Old Northwood neighborhood, which was developed in the 1920s and home to West Palm Beach’s most prominent residents, Casa Azul is a classic Craftsman-style house. When Pararo first say the home, he was pleasantly surprised to find a large front porch and a living room that ran the entire length of the house on one side, but not quite so impressed with the smallish rooms on the other.

While the Craftsman home was an unusual find in a neighborhood filled primarily with 1920s Mediterranean architecture, it reminded Pararo of the many beautifully restored Craftsman houses in Atlanta. He felt so at home there, he bought the house and embarked on an extensive remodel of the inside.

Extensive interior work brought the home up to date in terms of plumbing, electric, and appliances. A 16-foot-by-30-foot swimming pool and lush landscaping were added to the small 50-foot-by-100-foot lot.

His attention to detail paid off handsomely. The pool area looks as if it were part of the original design of the home.

When Pararo purchased the home, the front porch had been enclosed, and perhaps used as a sunroom.

A blue sofa and pair of white chairs introduce visitors to the theme of the azure tones and shades of white that echoes throughout the house. Sisal rugs add a casual and inviting texture to the sitting area.

The main hallway leads to the living room on one side and an elegant dining room on the other.

Four spacious club chairs, with updated Mission styling, form a conversation area around the fireplace – a rare sight in South Florida – with its classical white wooden mantle and  tan marble surround. An oversized ottoman doubles as a coffee table.

The Casa Azul signature colors are introduced in the plush striped rug in varying tones of deep navy, royal, and pale watery blue. Silk draperies with bold blue stripes anchor the windows and French doors.

Factor in the natural sunlight that floods the room and the view of the pool, and paradise springs to mind.

Across the hall, two demilune chests flank the entrance to the dining room. Above them, two specially commissioned paintings add a watery wash of color to the hallway.

The impressive dining room table is 80 inches square. A glass top seems suspended in mid-air on a clear acrylic base.

The chairs are covered with bold geometric shades of blue, cream, and white.

Slender blue pendant lights form a cascade of color around the center glass, reflecting on the table below. A pale cream shag rug adds a luxurious touch.

Upstairs, like the living room below, the master suite occupies the entire left half of the house. One of the home’s most attractive features lies just beyond the master bedroom and bath. French doors open onto a screen-enclosed sleeping porch, which overlooks the pool and garden.

Across the hall, a queen-size guest room, in shades of cream, pale orange, and royal  blue, has an adjoining bath with a view of the pool. A second, smaller guest room with a distinctive cottage-chic motif features twin beds and walls draped completely in sheer, embroidered fabric. The connecting bath, original to the home, is done in gleaming white tile.

In the backyard, mango, lemon, lime, Satsuma orange, banana, and avocado trees mingle with coconut palms, providing lush foliage, shade, and a sense of seclusion.

Tending the garden and trees is a source of satisfaction for Pararo when he visits Casa Azul, which is quite often throughout the year.

Even with the pool and garden, there is ample room for outdoor entertaining. Below the second-floor sleeping porch is a covered patio with rattan seating and a ceiling fan to stir the breeze. Trophy game fish add hues of silver and blue to the wall. The patio faces the pool and is a natural gathering place.

When the sun begins to set, the evening breeze send gently ripple across the pool. Lights from the house dance across the water. And in the space of time between dusk and dark, the best blue of the day settles over the house. That’s when the Aegean meets the Atlantic in a place called Casa Azul.