Caribbean Colonial Architecture Provides The Inspo For This Waterfront Florida Home


Caribbean Colonial architecture and classic interiors come together in a coastal setting.

In the entryway, a custom mahogany door and a chandelier fashioned from beveled crystals set in metal wings by Fine Art Lamps establish the home’s theme of classic elegance. Just beyond in the living room is an upholstered armchair by Hickory Chair.

About her approach to design, interior designer Angela Rodriguez says, “It’s a mix of careful advance planning with intuition.” In the living room, her calculated instincts resulted in a quiet backdrop of Kravet embroidered silk drapes, a sofa in Pindler chenille and a Hickory Chair coffee table. The patterned accent pillows are covered in Hodsoll McKenzie fabric.

Rodriguez designed the dome and molding details that distinguish the breakfast nook, and general contractor Ryan Perrone worked with Loewen windows and local retailer Engler Window & Door on the fenestration. Centering the space is a Bernhardt table surrounded by McGuire chairs with seats wrapped in Nobilis fabric.

Wide-plank walnut floors in a satin finish continue into the kitchen to complement bright white cabinetry by Elite Cabinetry Inc. McGuire bar stools decked in leather from Maharam line the walnut and quartzite island beneath pendant lights by Aerin for Visual Comfort.

In response to the homeowner’s combined love of orchids and pergolas, the design team added a pergola right off the master bath, which she filled with a variety of exotic flowers. “The pergola is the jewel of the house,” says Perrone, who worked out the intricate patterns of the structure with Walpole Outdoors.

“We almost always include custom drapery in dining rooms we design. It’s such a critical element to set the desired tone,” says Rodriguez, who swagged Kravet fabric against a Phillip Jeffries blue silk wallcovering. A Visual Comfort chandelier warms the Hickory Chair table and Baker chairs upholstered in Clarke & Clarke fabric and Green Hides leather.

Rodriguez incorporated back support into the bench seat she designed for the bay window and included accent pillows by Bandhini Design and custom Romo swag curtains as complements. A Century Furniture bench upholstered in Nobilis sits at the foot of the homeowner’s Henkel Harris bed.

“The floor and ceiling features are intentionally designed to lead the eye out to the private garden,” says the designer about the marble penny round mosaic floor inset. The glazed ceramic tile wainscoting in the shower is from Walker Zanger and the tub is from The Plumbing Place. The marble tub surround and matching vanity countertops are from UMI.

Donna Nathan has her own spin on the “everything old is new again” adage. “For every house I’ve done, my theme is ‘classic is always new,’ ” says the homeowner, who renovated houses in New Jersey before taking up full-time residence in Florida. Along with her affection for timeless design came a discerning eye for good properties—and her current waterfront Lido Key homestead proved no exception. Bordered by acres of nature preserve, even her modest 1960s ranch looked passable in the exceptional setting. “I loved the location, but I was on the fence for a long time about doing a teardown,” she says.

Two decades of fence-sitting later, Donna finally opted to do the scrape, identifying British West Indies as the architectural direction for the replacement residence. “There was a lot of overdone Mediterranean going on, and I definitely wanted that old-world feel but cleaner,” says the homeowner, who was inspired by the shutters, trellises and balconies typical of West Indies-style homes.

Brick with coral accents and turf inlays forms a repeating diagonal pattern in the auto court, where landscape designer Stephen Hazeltine combined a variety of palms and ornamental plantings to evoke a tropical ambience. “The concept was to soften the hard surface while creating a focal point in toward the main entry doors,” he explains. Inside, interior designer Angela Rodriquez sought to marry the architecture and coastal setting with her client’s penchant for classical style. “Donna had magazine pages of interiors with beautiful trimwork as a common thread,” Rodriguez says. “So we looked to adapt that in such a way that it fit both the scale and tone of this home.” Wainscot paneling on the main floor and stairway, a coffered ceiling in the living room and a ceiling dome in the breakfast room are exquisitely wrought examples.

While wood-frame chairs in the living room and rattan and wicker furnishings in the kitchen speak to the West Indies, Donna’s collection of Oriental rugs provided traditional starting points in key public spaces. “I saw one unrolled and felt really strongly that it was destined for the living room,” says Rodriguez, who mimicked the creamy tones of the floor covering with the chenille sofa and played up the deep blues with navy velvet tub chairs. “It adds luxurious depth and allowed us to embrace a higher level of contrast not typical in a coastal living room in this region.”

Another rug complements the wood table and the ecru leather and chenille chairs in the dining room while the blue silk wallcovering connects the space to the nearby waterway. But it’s the predominantly white-on-white walls and upholstered pieces in similar tones that truly accentuate the home’s locale. “I love the way natural light plays up white trim work on white walls,” she says. “It’s so timeless and crisp, and it really shows off the excellent craftsmanship in construction.”

Luckily, general contractor Ryan Perrone welcomed the challenge of intricate tasks like mitering the edges of the raised walnut ceiling in the bar area of the club room, which, along with the wall paneling, was built on-site so that there was no need to cover the corners with trim. “The bar area is really special,” says Perrone. “It’s reminiscent of an English pub but on the beach, which brings out the West Indies flair.” Perrone also made his mark outside by installing cypress brackets on the garages and custom rafter tails, as well as assisting in the creation of a pergola to showcase Donna’s collection of exotic orchids, which Perrone refers to as the jewel of the house.

Accordingly, the master bath opens to reveal the private orchid garden and a bronze cupid fountain. A long rectangular mosaic inset on the floor leads the eye out to the plant array while an extra-wide marble tub deck can accommodate potted varieties. “The subtle white, gray and green palette allows nature to be the star,” says Rodriguez, who also responded to a homeowner request for a horse-themed mud room off the garage with vertical paneling reminiscent of a high-end tack room, as well as leather-wrapped cabinet pulls. “Donna came to us with a few different styles and influences in mind,” Rodriguez says. “Our approach is always to blend and balance different perspectives in such a way that we reach the magical feeling of cohesiveness seen here.”