When Jonathan Mills was hunting for properties in Gainesville, Florida, a few years ago, there came a point when he was certain he’d found the one. It was a recently restored midcentury-modern lake house with a charm of its own. He contacted the realtor, put a price on it, and waited…only to ultimately be outbid by somebody else. The only silver lining was that somewhere along the way, he found himself a designer: Chelsey Cox, of Chinotto House, who had masterminded said restoration. That meant that when he finally acquired Butterfly Roof House—a significant midcentury dwelling designed by architect Jack Clark in 1962—not long after, Chelsey was the first person he dialed.
Long-time residents of Gainesville know Butterfly Roof House when they see it. From the outside, anyway. “Its striking midcentury-modern roofline has got to be its main differentiator,” says Chelsey, whose team also includes Chinotto House’s other half, designer Rachel Rector. But beyond the roofline and the façade, nothing about the home alludes to its past life (or lives). “When you’re handed a home like this, the common inclination is to treat it like a time capsule, and lean into 100% period-appropriate design. Instead, we honored the style’s lines, angles, colors, and vibe in a way that magnified Jonathan’s big personality.” What helped was the brief (two words: Palm Springs). What didn’t was the budget (it was pretty tight).