A Place in the Sun

For a place to unwind and soak up nature’s positive energy, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect getaway than this 8,800-square-foot beachfront cottage on Sanibel Island. Every element of the home—which is charmingly adorned with balconies and window seats—was carefully thought out to create a slice of heaven for its owners, who are originally from the Midwest and currently live in Maryland most of the year.

Consider the details at first glance when you look at the exterior, where the shutters, soffits, corbels and all trim work are made of sturdy mahogany and the sconces are shaped like pineapples, the nearly universal symbol of hospitality. It’s a welcoming space through and through, and sure to be one of the standard-bearers of the barrier island for decades to come.

Longevity is what the homeowners had in mind when they hired New Jersey architect Paul Kiss, of OSK Designs. “In one of the initial meetings with Paul, he asked us how we envisioned living in the house in five, 10, 15 years,” the homeowner, who wishes to remain anonymous, says. That question got them thinking long-term. The couple thought about their three grown children, their grandchild and the other grandkids on the way. They decided they wanted to create a legacy property on the island, which they’d been visiting on and off for 30 years—a place they hold so dear, they even named their black lab Sanibel.

For the interior design, the couple hired designer Renée Gaddis, after seeing her work on Pinterest. One of the primary desires for the family—in addition to having the home fit in with the area’s aesthetic—was they wanted to pay homage to their Midwest roots, brick-by-brick.

As a tribute to the homeowner’s roots, the outdoor kitchen features some of the 45 pallets’ worth of Cream City brick that they had shipped from Milwaukee, where the yellow-tinted building blocks were produced from the mid-1800s to early 1900s. “It has become so popular that when they tear a building down, they save (the bricks),” the homeowner says.


The master bed and bath have barreled ceilings that were inspired by a family member’s 15th century home in Spain.


Various wood and wood-like materials lend warmth to the home. Throughout the main living spaces, Gaddis used Porcelanosa tile that is rectified (with mechanically shaped, precise edges) to give the look of European white oak, but in a material that is kid-and-pup-friendly.


Nearly every room has a front-row seat to the view, which includes lush greenery maintained by R.S. Walsh Landscaping, a pool and a wooden walkway leading to the beach.


Architect: Paul A. Kiss, OSK Design Partners Builder: The Wolter Group Interior designer: Renée Gaddis Interiors Landscape: R.S. Walsh Landscaping Photography: Mali Azima

>> Read the full story in HOME

Become a Print Subscriber