Refined Luxury Defines Sanibel Island Vacation Home

Volume and scale prove to be pivotal in a two-lot estate on Sanibel Island


When Fort Myers designers Dwayne Bergmann and Robin McGarry first met two new clients building a rather impressive estate on Sanibel Island, they were immediately charged with a tall order—both in terms of the scope of the project and the size accommodations that would be necessary for one of its homeowners to feel comfortable. The husband, you see, stands more than six-and-a-half feet tall, which meant larger furniture, higher-than-usual countertops, and other height adjustments that designers don’t usually worry about. There was also the massive footprint of the dwelling itself: 4,300 square feet in the main residence and 2,100 square feet in the adjoining guest house. Plus, soaring ceilings, bigger-than-usual rooms, and extra space in general. This was a grand commission in more ways than one.

“Scale was a crucial point in all our discussions,” says Bergmann. “The key question was: How do we make these large areas feel comfortable and less overwhelming?”

Because the designers were hired during the architectural development phase, they were able to suggest interior modifications to the builder, which resolved a number of those height-related concerns. “Our involvement was more than what we’re typically used to,” says Bergmann. “We not only addressed issues with scale, but we also had input on the roofing materials, the railing design, the cladding on the columns, and even the crown molding details.” 

In terms of décor style, the couple was clear and to the point: high-end luxury and no coastal vibes whatsoever. “They definitely insisted on a comfortable look, but elevated as it related to finishes, furnishings, and appointments,” says Bergmann. “They wanted a sophisticated vacation house where the entire family could get together, especially in the winter.”

The design crew began in the living room with a stately Fabricut sectional, a substantial area rug from Alix Limited, and a steel-base cocktail table from Robert James Collection to give visual weight to the space. Side tables from Charleston Forge and Theodore Alexander, and geometric table lamps from Visual Comfort complete the desired effect: contemporary
elegance with a welcoming aura.

The dining room echoes this convivial spirit with a Chaddock table surrounded by six Theodore Alexander chairs in bright yellow upholstery. Considering other spaces, this one seems downright diminutive, but the homeowners insisted on the type of dining room where those at the head of the table don’t have to shout to hear one another. 

In the kitchen (the husband’s domain), special attention was paid to the cabinetry, crafted of walnut with hand-stitched leather panels. Cambria Ironsbridge countertops, which the design team installed more than two inches above standard height, brighten the room and provide a counterpoint to the dark walnut floors found throughout the rest of the home.

Once the installation work was done and they were able to put the finishing touches on the residence, Bergmann and McGarry eagerly awaited the homeowners’ visit. Hurricane Ian delayed that homecoming but left the property intact. When they did finally make it, the
husband marveled at the way his height requests were fulfilled and the wife celebrated the cosmopolitan sentiments from room to room. As for Bergmann and McGarry? They now have yet another satisfied-customer story for their portfolio.

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Dwayne Bergmann & Robin McGarry, Dwayne Bergmann Interiors, Fort Myers, FL

Architecture by WAJ Design Services, Sanibel Island, FL

Builder MAB Homes, Fort Myers, FL

Text by Riki Altman-Yee

Photography by Werner Straube, Coldwater, MI

Open to see Interior Design Sources:



Table and chairs – Janus et Cie,

Lounges – Janus et Cie,

Dining Room

Table – Chaddock Home,

Chairs – Theodore Alexander,

Artwork – Framing Wholesalers, Fort Myers, FL

Chandelier – Hubbardton Forge,

Living Room

Sofa – Fabricut, Tulsa, OK

Cocktail tables – Robert James Collection, High Point, NC

Side tables – Charleston Forge, Boone, NC

Table lamps – Visual Comfort & Co.,

Ceiling lighting– Hubbardton Forge,

Area rug – Alix Unlimited, Larchmont, NY


Cabinetry and island designed and fabricated by Dwayne Bergmann Interiors, Fort Myers, FL

Stools – Hammer Fine Furniture, Bell Gardens, CA

Pendant lighting – Hubbardton Forge,

Primary Bathroom

Cabinetry and vanity designed and fabricated by Dwayne Bergmann Interiors, Fort Myers, FL

Chair – Charles Stewart, Hickory, NC

Mirror – A-Rite Glass, Fort Myers, FL

Area rug – Carpet Source, Winter Park, FL

Flooring – Tile Boutique, Fort Myers, FL

Primary Bedroom

Poster bed – Ferrell Mittman,

Bedside chests – Modern History, High Point, NC

Bench – Michael James Furniture,

Sconces – Decorative Crafts,

Chandelier – Fortuny,

Painted wall covering – Fabsfauxdecor, Fort Myers, FL

Ceiling designed by Robin McGarry, Dwayne Bergmann Interiors, Fort Myers, FL, and fabricated by Conceptual Woodworking & Design, Fort Myers, FL

Area rug – Alix Unlimited, Larchmont, NY

Primary Bedroom Sitting Area

Sofa – Hammer Fine Furniture, Bell Gardens, CA

Table – Bolier, Decca Home,

Chandelier – Visual Comfort & Co.,

Oval area rug – L&M Custom Carpets,

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