Home of the Month: Two Faces of Cool on Sanibel

British colonial in the front exterior and fully modern in the back, this island home manages a blend with striking results.

Naples is nice. Fort Myers is fun. But Sanibel is sensational. If you’ve spent any time at all on the island, you know it’s a different world from what the rest of us Southwest Floridians experience on a day-to-day basis. Judge Judy once told me it was the closest thing to the South Pacific as you could get in the continental United States. And we’re not about to argue. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with the opportunity to build a new house from the ground up on one of Sanibel’s lush beaches, you’d be smart to emulate this 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom (plus den), four-full- and two-half-bathroom, two-story single-family home designed by architect Joyce Owens. What’s fascinating about the property is that even an untrained eye will notice that the exterior of the home is completely schizophrenic. A British colonial look, replete with blue window shutters and patterned porch railings out front greet guests and passersby from the road, while clean lines and floor-to-ceiling glass is fully modern out back. Lush buffer vegetation on the ends makes the transition virtually seamless. But why bother to go with two competing styles? “Well, we couldn’t agree. It’s as simple as that,” says the homeowner about himself and his wife, with a laugh. “And knowing Sanibel and beach houses as we do, you really don’t see the other side. So she got her shutters and balconies and I get the glass. We tho
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