Written by Tina Garbo Bailey
Photography by Anthony Medina
From the distinctive design studio of Sisters Interiors on South Padre Island, Texas, we quote a description of Casa Sirena which is also known as The Mermaid House: …. “a marquee example of South Texas coastal livingóblends high design, sun, sea and family at heart.”~SISTERS INTERIORS
In the private, gated community of The Villas of South Padre Island, this three-storied, luxury beachfront villa was well-matched with the design team of Sisters Interiors. Lead designer Ann Hunsaker led the tour through the Island getaway. This June, Ann will be celebrating her thirty sixth year as an Interior Designer.
This beachfront home reveals its quiet luxury as soon as the doors are opened. As we walked through the Mediterranean-styled villa, Ann shared that the owners of the villa had been wonderful to work with and that, “there were opportunities throughout the house… to truly create.” Every surface of the home has been touched—including modification of the original footprint, addressing exposed, structural deficiencies, and making improvements of the fenestration, site drainage, landscaping, the roof and the stucco system.
Sisters Interiors has expertly invited the beachfront home’s coastal beauty to the interior, making it the design focus. What once was heavy stone façades and earth tones has been transformed into a sea-induced, soothing palette with clear vistas that can be seen from inside and out. Casa Sirena is now a seminal watercolor of white ground, gray and blue tones with the occasional infusion of a warm chroma.
Breathtaking beach views from all three floors, design features and expertly-curated furnishings warmly greet residents and guests at every turn.
La Sirena reveals her secrets as one moves throughout the home, a marriage of quality and comfort bathed in island sunlight. Just inside the diminutive, solid wood French door entrance, the experience begins with a three story rotunda which has flooring tiled in white and gray marble crafted in a herring-bone pattern. From there you could ascend the wall-hugging, curved staircase which provides multiple views of the lantern that is suspended from the center of the foyer dome. This fixture is a simple, geometric interpretation of a classic lantern style, accenting the area’s furniture, sconces and art pieces.
The same foyer floor tile simultaneously accents the wrought iron railed, solid wood stair risers—taking the exclusive feel vertically up the spiral staircase. The upper foyer is highlighted by the former curved landing at the top of the stairs which has been trimmed in order to add uninterrupted volume to the room. Beyond the foyer lays the open layout of the first floor’s living space.
From the foyer, a corridor is announced by accenting wood beams with a washed stria effect to mark the intervals between the ceramic Italian ceiling tiles of a classic geometric floral pattern. The windows have been enhanced with quartz sills throughout the villa’s structure. Walking further, the first floor living space opens up to the great room which includes a pool. The beach is just beyond the loggia. While looking up from the living room, the serpentine second floor landing reveals the openness of the two levels that share the full volume of the space. Neutral rattan club chairs and upholstered American Leather sofas surround a sandy-colored, driftwood, trunk style coffee table. One of the two pre-existing fireplaces which had become non-functional has been converted into a bright and inviting, tiled vignette of greenery and decorative elements.
The original footprint of the primary kitchen was expanded by absorbing five feet from the adjacent, large living space. This “foodie’s” kitchen was meticulously planned, including custom cabinetry which was designed to utilize the full height of the ceiling, facilitated by using a row of downlit glass and display cabinet doors at the crowne. Heavy corbels and stone have been replaced with lighter, eased-edge quartz countertops that make for a sleek, yet inviting, culinary heart for the home. The same soft blue-gray Walker Zanger mediterranean tiles found in the gallery ceiling have been repeated on the backsplash above the ceramic cooktop for a beautiful focal point. There is a central window with a striped Roman shade in line with the luxe-sized, apron front sink and commercial style faucet which is centered below the window. The peninsula and its counter height stools can serve as a breakfast bar for cocktails and canapés—or a quick family breakfast before a great day on the beach.
A curved cove—an enhanced existing feature—leads to the first floor’s junior master suite which is just beyond the kitchen. Natural elements have inspired the choices of furnishings, including a blue and white rug and the floral bedding, all beckoning the room’s views of the swimming pool and the Gulf of Mexico. Perfect for adult visitors, this room has a sliding glass patio door that leads directly to the pool area. The en-suite bathroom has an enclosed wet room which includes an elliptical-shaped soaking tub, three vertical niches and a wall shower that is accented with a custom break-front vanity. Exquisitely crowning the vanity is a white coral surround mirror. The first floor has a second guest bedroom with a custom-tiled en-suite bathroom that is also accessible by way of the hall. A full utility room is a component of this area’s well thought out design. All are themed similarly to the seaside palette found throughout Casa Sirena.
On the second floor past the coffee bar is the daughter’s room which has bedding of white with a blue paisley design print on the coverlet with matching pillows. Behind the entry door is a niche with a mermaid sculpture fit for a mermaid’s room. The floor of the en-suite bathroom is decorated in Emser porcelain tile floor with Walker Zanger geometric deco tile and mosaics in shades of gray. This bathroom also has a wall of bubble mosaic design that flows from above the tub and continues onto the ceiling. There is a playful three-dimensional butterfly motif mirror that was upcycled using white paint, making it a defining statement in this, fondly-called “the butterfly bathroom”.
Down the same corridor from this room you will find the son’s bedroom with walls that are dressed in coastal art. Here the bedding choice is a simple white with a natural fabric coverlet with a blue, racing stripe motif. The en-suite bathroom’s vanity and shower are matched in a gulf blue color. There is a tiled barrel vault feature that runs along one portion of the bathroom’s ceiling.
As we made our way into the mixed-purpose third floor, a full-sized billiard table came into view. Its gray felt tabletop sets the tone in this area which offers a variety of spaces. Desks flank the repurposed, former fireplace nook and there are abundant eating areas. According to lead designer, Ann, “the owners wanted to keep things neutral, but, we were also able to play with color in select spots.” There is an infusion of high-chroma artwork on this floor. Between billiards and the sea, lies a furnished seating area with a coffee table for warmth.
The adjacent penthouse kitchen contains Sub-Zero appliances and also includes a large wine refrigerator, a pizza oven and more. All are incorporated into light blue-green cabinetry. The quartz countertops anchor and complement all of it. To highlight the vaulted ceiling that the Sisters Interiors team designed, a life-sized, silver painted marlin is mounted on an upper wall. (There is also a placeholder for a future spiral stairway to the observation deck above.) The full-sized, modernly equipped media room can also be found on this floor. The room sports a collection of Star Wars movie posters and is guarded by a campy, metal robot which is posted in a niche. American Leather seating faces the three yard wide screen. There is a custom storage and hospitality cabinet that spans the wall under the movie screen. Behind the seating area, a piece of art with a depiction of a mermaid’s tail hangs as a tribute. There is a hidden stairway to a carpeted demi-loft that overlooks the media room. Two divans with upholstered cushions along with flat surfaces for beverages and snacks makes this area perfect for surfing the web or viewing a surf movie on the screen. The almost forgotten highlight of this room is its en-suite bathroom with white tiled arched ceiling which evokes the feeling of being in a subway.
The top floor guest bedroom includes another unobstructed view of the Gulf of Mexico. A white canopy bed with a daybed afoot is dressed in a matching, sporty blue and white canvas. Completing the room are generous bolsters. The bathroom on this floor has harlequin, oval and circular coin tiles. The shower is decorated in white tile and great sunlight!
Lastly, “the round room” is located in the turret of the house. Domed with a series of round, shuttered windows, this circular room is outfitted for media viewing or a game of foosball—but actually has great acoustics for something musical. There are convertible sofas that make into beds and giant beanbags in this sweet spot, making it ideal for lounging or sleeping. (The Mermaid House sleeps fifteen guests very comfortably! )
With a grand total of seven thousand square feet in its floor plan, Casa Sirena is the largest remodeling project Sisters Interiors has completed as of this date. Located in an especially lovely part of South Padre Island, Texas, The Mermaid House is a perfect spot for nomads—both digital and vacationing. So, wheels down and fins up!
The design group of Sisters Interiors sourced materials from Company C, Regina Andrews, Annie Selke, Peacock Alley, Global Views, Phillips Collection and Seaside Casual.