From the West Indies to Fort Myers

Caloosahatchee views and cool, soothing notes come together in a Jinx McDonald-designed home that exudes timeless grace.

BY November 5, 2020

The heart wants what it wants, and for the owner of this West Indies-inspired home, the heart wanted a serene, calm space to serve as the setting for her next chapter.

With long water views of Fort Myers’ Caloosahatchee River, the 7,482-square-foot (total), four-bed, six-bathroom home mixes strong Caribbean vibes against contemporary finishes and the open concept design we’ve come to rely on. Taken together, what you have is a residence that exudes grace and style with inviting spaces and a timeless appeal. And, the waterfront setting makes it ideal for making the most of its outdoor spaces.“The homeowner loves being on the water and planned to spend a lot of time outside, so she wanted the outdoor living area to be very comfortable,” Minka McDonald, president of Jinx McDonald Interior Designs, says.

That love of water makes its presence known in the interior design, as well. A soft palette of blues, whites and soothing grays provides a sense of relaxation.

McDonald and fellow designer Beth Walker-Fenton started with soft gray-toned wood flooring that runs throughout, while most of the home’s walls are a soft, misty blue. The kitchen is a contrast in that it features mostly crisp white full-height cabinetry (from Design Studio by Raymond) and walls offset by a dramatic dark gray island (one of two) and matching custom range hood and ceiling beams. A large pendant light adds soft illumination over the island, which is accompanied by three stools wrapped in baby blue upholstery. It is the perfect base for the homeowner—an avid cook—to entertain.

That space opens onto an elegant dining area, highlighted by massive metallic pendants. “We are into big light fixtures,” McDonald adds. “They make a big impact, but the open room can take it.” Open is an understatement. The large great room, which is adjacent to the dining area, drives the water theme home with a gorgeous azul calcite marble media wall, which also houses an oversized linear fireplace. Custom built-in cabinetry bookends the stone and is the perfect home for blue-hued glass art pieces and silver accessories. Walls and windows climb to 24 feet here and in the foyer. A grand staircase with Chippendale railings is a showstopper and provides a nook for a grand piano that entertains guests during parties.

Architect Matthew Kragh of MHK Architecture & Planning was able to create spaces for people to gather and get away with equal aplomb.

Perhaps one of the most important features for the homeowner was to have a place for her to read. Her love of books left her with a wonderful collection, so a reading room was created with numerous custom bookshelves (with blue grasscloth inserts), storage and a built-in desk—all under a white tongue-and-groove ceiling. Details such as crystal doorknobs and rain glass inserts add a bit of bling and a touch of elegance.

That elegance carries forward to the master suite, where curves add a softness and gentility—from the upholstered headboard to the scalloped nightstands. The tranquil blues help carry the colors of the sky, pool and waterway inside, with only silver embroidered draperies acting as guardians. The en suite revisits the azul calcite marble on the vanity surfaces and in an insert in the master shower. “I wake up every day feeling happy and at peace in this home,” the homeowner says.

And isn’t that the perfect wording for her latest chapter?


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Architect: MHK Architecture & Planning

Builder: Sawgrass Construction Group

Interior design: Jinx McDonald Interior Designs

Photography: Amber Frederiksen Photography

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