Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Blue & White Beach House in Boca Grande, Florida

This Memorial Day weekend I'm wishing we were in my favorite little hideaway, Boca Grande, Florida on tiny Gasparilla Island. Located about three hours northwest of Miami, Gasparilla Island is seven miles long, and just one mile across at its widest. Boca Grande epitomizes "Old Florida" style, and it harkens to a bygone era full of Southern charm. There are no high-rises, no fast food restaurants, no chain stores, and no traffic lights. Billboards and other exterior advertising are banned by the Conservation District. And the thing I like most about Boca Grande is that it's virtually unknown. Even most native Floridians have never heard of it, so Boca Grande is truly a place you can go to disappear... and leave all of your worries behind.

My husband and I fantasize about one day having a beach house in Boca Grande, and I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I saw this one, owned by interior designer JoAnn Barwick and her husband, Fred Berger. Images and copy below via Traditional Home...
Big, showy blossoms of deep pink bougainvillea and hibiscus envelop the homeowners and cheer them along the garden path that leads to the steps of their entry, approached through an old-fashioned wraparound porch.

The glass shelves allow the built-in lighting at the top of the cabinet to shine throughout JoAnn’s displays of coral, shells, and ceramics.

Bathers by Andrew Gittleson tops a painted chest across from the sectional.
JoAnn Barwick leans into her favorite furnishing--a painted wine cellar she designed after a Swedish tile stove.
 Antique faience chargers are displayed above a painted bench and table. Except for an antique Chinese bamboo cabinet and a newer bamboo coffee table in the master bedroom, the furniture throughout the home is painted--either white, blue, or some combination of the colors. “There isn’t a single piece of unpainted wood furniture in our home,” JoAnn says.
JoAnn found the dining room’s Swedish-style chandelier in Vermont. “Every Swedish dining room has one,” she says.
Outdoor living is a huge part of JoAnn and Fred’s attraction to Florida. When building their cottage, they left room for an octagonal gazebo where they read, relax, and entertain. The small dining table with wicker chairs is a perfect place to enjoy morning coffee or a light lunch overlooking the water--and they can be easily moved in or out of the sun as needed.
The ceiling of the gazebo is painted a soft robin’s-egg blue, which contrasts with the brighter all-weather-fabric striped curtains that include a dash of sunny yellow.
Rockers on the wraparound front porch were designed by JoAnn.
Even the master bedroom is on the first floor for JoAnn and Fred’s ease and convenience. Stripes, checks, florals, and a toile mix serenely in the blue and white palette.
The bedroom’s antique Chinese bamboo cabinet and newer bamboo coffee table are the only unpainted wood furnishings in the home.
Even the antique carpet balls on the bamboo coffee table are blue and white.
Hand-painted more than a decade ago by well-known interior designer Marshall Watson of New York, the bed alcove was a project for a magazine. Adjacent to the guest room, the upstairs alcove was a magnet for the grandchildren as they were growing up.
Click here to see another breath-taking Boca Grande home I recently featured, and here for more on the Gasparilla Inn, decorated by Celerie Kemble's mother, Mimi McMakin.
Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to those who have fought for our country and for our freedom!


  1. I love your blog and LOVED reading this post on JoAnn! When we moved from SF 16 years ago and bought a beach house in FL, we happened to purchase quite a few pieces of furniture that JoAnn had designed (set of Gustavian chairs and the scalloped-edge "piecrust" table you have photos of above with hydrangeas on top, as well as some assorted other pieces.) 16 years later, they are still in use, we love them just as much, and JoAnn's taste has proven to be timeless. I recall seeing her home featured in a magazine many, many years ago - blue and white, and loved her look. Thank you for reminding me of an extremely talented woman - I had frankly forgotten about her (I won't make that mistake again!). Again, love your blog - interesting, fun and very pretty! Keep up the good work, Beth

    1. What a great story, Beth! Thank you for sharing and for the kind words! :)

      The Glam Pad

  2. I love Ms. Barwick's soft color palette--so inviting. Thank you for sharing! I hope to see photos of your Boca beach house one day soon! ;)

  3. I need to find a map and see where exactly this place is. It sounds fabulous.

  4. This is perfection. Wow!I I am ready to move right on in:)

  5. Just found this from Pink Pagoda, although I love following you! Darling cottage and love the decor.
    xo Nancy


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