Being so busy in Houston, it is rare that we accept a job out of state! When a designer/client Kathy Johnson with KB Designs asked us to go to Boca Grande Florida to help restore a 1920’s Spanish style home it was just too hard to say no. I was so charmed by this town, with its architecture, beautiful beaches and historical homes that I wanted to share a bit about this little gem tucked away in Florida. It will be my next family vacation spot.
The Historic Village of Boca Grande is on the island of Gasparilla, known for its quaint downtown, sugar sand beaches, blue water and world class fishing. Located at the southern tip of the Cape Haze Peninsula on Florida’s Southwest Coast midway between Sarasota and Ft. Myers, this lush barrier island has been blessed with seven miles of powdery white beaches and cerulean waters—the colors of the ocean one would typically find in the Caribbean.
Known for fishing and shelling, the shoreline is both pristine and productive and contains one of the most enriched ecosystems in the world.
Boca Grande’s 2nd Street, also known as Banyan Street, is lined with century-old banyan trees.
These trees which reminded me of the tree of life in Disney Land are natural works of art!!!!
Where to stay!!!!!!!!!!!!
Originally built to appeal to wealthy Northerners who could go anywhere, The Gasparilla Inn & Club is one of Florida's last remaining exclusive family-owned Gilded Age resorts. This establishment is even listed as a National Historic Landmark and among the Historic Hotels of America! Walking through the Inn’s pillared entrance and into the lobby, you experience the feeling of Florida as it was meant to be. Guests are instantly embraced with the tranquil civility of a time that once was. A premier destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast since 1913, It offers 137 rooms, suites, and cottages in a pristine environment at the tip of Boca Grande Island. Owned by the William S. Farish Jr. family, The Inn has had many notable guests throughout its storied history, including Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, Katharine Hepburn, the George H.W. Bush family as well as members of the DuPont family.
Accommodations are located in vernacular cottages surrounding the property extending from 250-slip waterfront marina to the championship Pete Dye Golf Course golf course to the beach front cabana club and tennis courts.
The Resort's Decor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love the Florida style décor which has remained in the same style for the generations of annual visitors have been able to call home for family gatherings.
Boca Grande’s wonderful architecture……………
The house we were working on was designed by Frances Burrall Hoffman Jr., who is best known for his design of Vizcaya, the Biscayne Bay mansion of industrialist James Deering.
Hoffman, from an affluent New York family, was born in New Orleans and spent the early years of his life on a plantation in Louisiana. Graduating from Harvard he enrolled the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, then the preeminent architectural training program in the world. Having homes in Europe and New York, he left his mark on Boca Grande.
In 1938 Hoffman designed the Cowperthwaits' house for his brother, William Wickham Hoffman a New York Banker. Being located in the town's historic district, the main house was designed with a high-ceiling in the second-floor living room, now the master bedroom.
I love the ceiling in the den and living rooms with the hand stenciling! What a beautiful room to take in the beach views!!!
Built in 1940 the Shaw House has two separate wings separated by a central courtyard and connected by a covered walkway. These lovely pale aqua shutters have become our inspiration for the home we are working on.
Hoffman designed a Southwest Santa Fe-inspired compound in 1938 for Mrs. Michael Van Beuren, the daughter of Standard Oil president John D. Archbold. What an entrance!!!!
Hoffman's Renaissance-styled chapel was the first Catholic Church on the island! A small bell tower rises above the Spanish oak doorway.
I love the plaque which is right outside the door!!
Another beautiful home, the Crowninshield studio, was designed in 1927 by Albert Ely Ives for Francis B. Crowninshield and his wife, Louise DuPont. Tarpon fishing aficionados, the Crowninshields first bought a beach front cottage before World War I. They rapidly were joined by other DuPont family members and Boston friends.
The town is pristine, clean, quiet and has a charisma all of its own.
I fell in love with this home which we are helping to restore at first glance! Its charm and beautiful beach side views created a magical work environment. I hope you enjoyed the fun tour of my new favorite town!!! Stay tuned for progress pictures of this historical home's revival. Till next week! Xo Leslie
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