Gasparilla Island Home is a Pristine Paradise

Off Florida’s Gulf Coast in the exclusive community of Boca Grande, this home recalls the West Indies with its crisp details


They had been watching it for years — its solitude, its verdant finger into the waters where the Gulf of Mexico flows into Charlotte Harbor at Boca Grande. They’d seen the pristine beaches and the tarpon torqueing themselves skyward, feasting on crab. This was a piece of “untouched” land where former developers and builders, Tom and Michele Harrison had long fantasized they would live. And when at last Seagate Development purchased the plot, the Harrisons were all in.

The couple chose a lot giving them views to both sunrises and sunsets at the tip of the small peninsula. Here, from their natural beach, they could muse on the land’s history which includes legendary Spanish pirate José Gaspar, magnates DuPont, Vanderbilt and Ford, and the fortunes made from phosphate that were brought by train and off-loaded on ships in this very channel. “It was like an untouched paradise,” Michele says.

To add to the perfection, the Harrisons turned to the professionals they have used for their last eight properties, the team at Jinx McDonald Interior Designs. “We have designed a number of residences, including two homes in North Carolina, two yachts and a small plane for the owners,” lead designer Chrissy Howard says. “The Harrisons have become friends as well as wonderful clients.”

Working with residential designer Richard Guzman, the group would go on to create 6,700 total square feet of West Indies-inspired comfort. “With it’s two-story columns, roof corbels and peaked roof lines, this home feels just right in its setting,” Guzman says.

As if no distinction is made between inside and out, the interior palette is filled with aqua and blue hues that mimic the seascape beyond as they splash across the wide-open spans of the great room. Here, Jezebel, the homeowners’ Yorkie, is momentarily distracted from an island breeze. In the vast open plan, Guzman’s signature “glass house” concept can be seen as nearly every area opens to a balcony, the loggia or the pool. With no need to “leave the room” to change activities, the dining area, kitchen, living area and outdoor entertainment spaces are always at hand.

“With a penchant for entertaining, this couple enjoys true comfort in their home,” Howard says. The great room does not disappoint with the living area’s classic sofas in sea blue and a traditionally shaped cocktail table of graphite gray that gives a nod to the practicality of leather recliners clad in navy. From Stout’s performance fabric on the kitchen stools to the artwork and the patterned draperies by Fabricut, layered aquas, indigos, azures and cerulean blues appear again and again. And yet, it is never repetitious.

Views toward Boca Grande Pass, the deepest natural inlet on the Gulf of Mexico, provide the backdrop for the upstairs den, a collective respite for guests staying in the three second-story suites. In creamy chenille, the sofa glows against walls wrapped in soft blue. A plush “performance” area rug from Nourison makes taking one’s shoes off a must. Here, the designers, given their tranquil palette of sea tones, dramatized the colors through patterning on draperies, throws, accent pillows and art.

In the master suite, a wing unto itself on the first level, the owners find an intimate escape. Cherished pieces from other homes lovingly reappear here in bedside lamps and a mirror of shells that holds memories. A tiny cove in the bed chamber allows for ocean breezes and a good book on a quiet afternoon. A private door leads directly to the pool and firepit beyond.

The loggia’s panoramic vistas of the seascape pull the eye to the horizon as guests pause to enjoy views of the semi-circular pool and the pristine shoreline. With an outdoor grill and cozy pizza oven, there’s little reason to go inside. An “eating island” makes serving easy and even the arms on Soho’s outdoor sofas are wide enough to sit a plate or drink. With the pool stretching its arc toward the Gulf, the sun setting completes a heavenly day in paradise.

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Chrissy Howard and Janine Blume with Jinx McDonald, Jinx McDonald Interior Designs, Inc., Naples, FL

Residential Design by Richard Guzman, RG Designs, Bonita Springs, FL

Developer and Builder James Nulf, Seagate Development Group, Fort Myers, FL

Text by Marina Brown

Photography by Amber Frederiksen, Bonita Springs, FL


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