Home of the Month: Serene But Playful
With West Indies and California coastal touches, this Port Royal home avoids the look of the typical Florida house.
BY MICHAEL KORB
Welcome to the islands. Well, sort of. There’s no denying that when you pull up to 4090 Cutlass Lane in Port Royal, you’re greeted by what appears to be the West Indies. Architect John Cooney of Stofft Cooney Architects masterfully touched on all the styling cues one would expect—loges, flat-tiled compound-pitch roofs, cypress corbels and soffits, large overhangs and porches—in an effort to avoid what the owners term “the Florida home.” And thanks to a 23,500-square-foot lot perfectly plotted for privacy, the only thing that hints at not being in the tropics is reliable Internet.
But once inside, warm wood throughout (wide-plank white oak floors and details inside, extensive bamboo in the outside living spaces) and textures give off a California coastal vibe tinged with midcentury aesthetics. Yet it’s the use of color that whimsically hints that a beach is nearby. “I wanted it to be a serene setting, but I also wanted it to be playful,” says the owner, who is based in Pittsburgh with her husband. “I enjoy color. Nobody pushed me toward anything. In fact, I was pushing them.”
Not surprisingly, with homes scattered across the country, she knew exactly what she wanted in the 5,846-square-foot sanctuary. “We spend a lot of time in California and in the islands, so we wanted an open, airy floor plan with one giant living space. We were looking for a California coastal feel, which gave us those clean lines but with a lot of wood and textures that would warm it up.”
Plus, the use of turquoise and blues plays things up without being overpowering. From the master bath’s gradient glass tile wall to the guest bedroom’s energetic sea foam, color works its magic. But nowhere is that more true than in the kitchen, where custom cabinets in a pale Caribbean blue stand out from the white quartz surfaces and oversized subway tile backsplashes. “We wanted clean lines but not cold. And I didn’t want a white kitchen,” the owner says. “I had that color in mind. It needed to be subtle and yet a statement—there is a fine line.”
But perhaps the most important feature of the home is its sightline outward. Key rooms needed to have a view and/or open to the outdoors. Cooney, working along with landscape architect Koby Kirwin, created a space that begs to be experienced. From within the outdoor living room, eyes are directed across three different levels of water surrounded by lush vegetation.
“We wanted a resort-like feel,” the owner says. “We managed to create privacy on both sides, so we really feel like we’re by ourselves even though we have neighbors on both sides. We brought in all the planting. We really wanted the house to sort of sink into the land.”
And with that they created some island life right here on the mainland.