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Island Reveries

Wide verandas, high ceilings, and leafy courtyards were part of the vision for this Anglo-Caribbean home. Designed for a new six-lot community along the Manatee River, it features a unique one-room-deep plan using an old technique for bringing light and flow-through ventilation to every part of the house.

Interior designer Brenda Camlin and her husband, builder Kenneth Keating–both of Camlin Custom Homes–turned their attention to building details and the selection of livable furnishings that echo the community’s balmy village feel.

Camlin selected furnishings to emphasize the wide volume of living spaces the model home has to offer. “With the entire width of the house taken up by the kitchen and living room, it is the lighting and furnishings which define activity areas,” she says.

And there are so many activity areas in this three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home. A spacious dining room flows into the living room and looks out onto the pool. Twelve-foot ceilings downstairs and 10-foot ceilings upstairs allow for tall windows and doorways with tropical transoms–all part of the British Colonial vibe. On the main floor, one of the two master bedrooms found in the home offers easy access to the courtyard pool.

Upstairs, the spaces are more defined. At the top of the stairs, a den is tucked in a bright nook with its own sunny view, and steps away, the second master suite opens wide to a river vista. With a 16-foot vaulted ceiling and French doors onto a veranda stretching the width of the house, the familiar palette of sand and gray enhances the view.

Beside the master suite a third bedroom (or comfortable office) also enjoys the upstairs balcony. According to architect Don Cooper, the ability to use spaces in a variety of ways is often requested by today’s clientele. “Houses are getting smaller, but with better materials and refinement,” Cooper continues. “No longer are people going for the ‘McMansions’. Defined yet open spaces offer more options in terms of actually living in a home.”

And Florida living requires a pool. Here, an elongated splash pool is surrounded by plush woven furniture and a bank of privacy palms that make for an intimate rectangular courtyard. Even Keating seems pleased with the pool’s built-in banquette. “You could sit with your dog beside you in a few inches of cool water all day!” he says. Ah, yes. That is Florida living at its best.

A Georgian staircase befits the Colonial-style architecture found in Caribbean colonies centuries ago. Simple and elegant, utilizing deep porches and overhangs for cooling, this residence has its garage in the rear allowing for a fully-designed front elevation.

“Elegant millwork is one of the signatures of Camlin Custom Homes,” says Keating. The Anglo-Caribbean architecture highlights the use of mouldings both around tall windows and in ceiling features throughout. In the living room, tranquil sand and gray hues are introduced and will be carried on throughout the home. The masonry-carved gas fireplace draws together seating choices in linen and wood while a bold curved cocktail table holds center stage. The metallic chandelier is from Quoizel.

A sleek bi-colored trestle table is surrounded by pale chairs in woven linen. Manufactured wooden flooring throughout the downstairs unites the living room, kitchen, and dining room. Brenda Camlin chose a wood and sisal chandelier by Feiss that echoes the table’s shape below.

Custom cabinetry and the elegant island in the open kitchen serve as furniture-like connections to the more formal living room beyond. Backsplashes are in a crafted subway tile and the granite countertops make maintenance easy. Overhead, two lustrous pendants by Quoizel seem to harken to a faraway time.

A flexible space is used here as an office, with charming French doors open to the house-wide balcony overlooking the river. The aqua on the linen-covered chairs whisper that the river is steps away while the rustic desk hints that work must still be done.

The high vault of the upstairs master suite allows for continuous flow of tropical air. A bold assertion in slate velour, the tufted wing-back bed sits between two white nightstands. Brenda Camlin left the downstairs uncarpeted, but softened the upstairs room in practical grays.

The upstairs master bath is spacious and serene with Minka-Lavery’s stainless lamps from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. The glint of silvery accents highlight the natural striations in the vanity’s counter.

Along one side of the pool, a bank of fishtail palms provides leafy privacy along with a painterly view. Architectural details in the eaves and shutters bring the ambience of the Caribbean to Florida’s Gulf Coast. A banquette is built into the pool for swimmers to sit back and relax at on a warm Florida day.

Written by Marina Brown

Photography by Jimmy White

Builder & Interior Designer

Camlin Custom Homes

4016 11th Street Court West

Palmetto, FL 34221



Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

2451 17th Street

Sarasota, FL 34234


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