A Taste of the West Indies in Tampa, Florida

Date: 17 Apr 2014
By: Seaside Interiors
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Coastal design at its finest is on display at the 2014 Southern Living Custom Builder Showcase Home in Tampa, Florida. The home, now open to tour, is located in the beautiful South Tampa neighborhood of Beach Park. It was designed and built by Javic Homes, an exclusive member of the Southern Living Custom Builder Program for the Tampa Bay and Sarasota, Florida area. Southern Living Magazine, published by the Southern Progress Corporation, is the largest regional lifestyle magazine in the United States aimed at readers in the Southern states. Southern Living’s sister publications include Coastal Living and Sunset.

I had an opportunity to tour the 2014 Southern Living Showcase Home last week and meet the builder, Jon Solomon of Javic Homes.  According to Jon, the design for the home, inside and out, was inspired by the British West Indies style.  Though often confused with a Key West, Florida style home, the West Indies home design is very different.  Most notably, it has a painted stucco exterior and a low pitched shingle roof whereas the Key West style home traditionally has horizontal wood siding and a sharply peaked “metal” roof.  The interior of this Showcase Home provides a comfy and airy feel, yet with a touch of formality, all indicative of West Indies Island homes. Before this Tampa home could be awarded with the Southern Living Showcase Home level status, every detail from the blueprint designs to the finishes, paints, interior furnishings, artwork, and even the accessories, had to be submitted and approved by Southern Living personnel.

Coastal living with a touch of formality

Also on site at the home tour were two Javic Homes interior designers, Jessica Hohman and Missi McCombs, who were responsible for coordinating the overall decorating plan. They shared some interesting information about the thought process behind designing the interior of this gorgeous home.  Jessica and Missi worked together with a select group of local interior designers, brainstorming with ideas and formulating the step by step plan used to create the look and feel of a Southern Living home. Jessica said, “It needed to be traditional, but with an eclectic twist, to fit into the waterfront setting.” The home sits on a canal with views of the open bay. According to Missi, the goal of the design team was to create an “elegant, yet casual, coastal look that wasn’t ‘tchotchke’ or whimsical in any way.” 

 Perfect front porch for soaking in the sea breeze

“Southern Living is all about hospitality,” Jessica pointed out. This home definitely exudes the feeling of southern hospitality. A front porch invites one to sit and enjoy a sea breeze while sipping on sweet tea with guests.  A beautiful dark stained door welcomes you into the understated foyer and serves as an introduction for the various other dark wood finishes used throughout the home.  

 Light, open and airy living space

The floors are made from a hand scraped, hickory wood. The warmth of the dark floors both contrast and compliment the crispness of the white wood cabinetry, doors, trim, and the cool coastal color palette of soft taupe, green, blue and gray. 

 Teakwood backsplash adds interest and texture

The kitchen is the heart of this southern home. The unique backsplash is comprised of three colors of teakwood installed in a linear pattern.  The designers preferred this material over the traditional ceramic or glass tile because of the organic feel it conveys. The added texture of the backsplash is carried through to the adjacent breakfast dining area with seagrass blinds and coarsely woven dining chairs. TIP:  Jessica noted that in order to avoid overdoing any one theme in a room, there needs to be a predetermined number of the theme elements used, and not to be exceeded, in the given space.  In the case of this spacious kitchen/family room area with a coastal theme, the designers agreed to limit the number of coastal elements used to nine. From that point on, all other elements would relate in some form to the coastal elements, but not be specifically coastal in design.  

 An oasis of soothing coastal colors

The spacious second floor master bedroom provides a comfortable retreat reminiscent of a tropical paradise.  The dark wooden beams and hickory floors create a cozy environment when combined with the soft color scheme of coastal pastels. The beams are a new and interesting departure from the traditional tray ceilings so commonly seen in many homes today. The large windows afford breathtaking views of the open bay.  A spacious master bath featuring an oversized marble shower and a spa tub overlook a generous sized balcony. 

 Balcony views of the open bay

The covered second floor balcony is large enough for a dining table and chairs, or perhaps rockers and chaise lounges, and is accessible, not only from the master bedroom, but from another bedroom as well.  The balcony offers the same picturesque views as the master bedroom…a perfect place to dine or relax in the shade of the sun or as a shelter from showers.

A room for relaxing and creating

“Unplugged” is the bonus room theme.  This “tech free” zone with its sound absorbing cork floor is dedicated to hobbies, arts and crafts, or just relaxing with family and friends. Large work surfaces, storage, and plenty of natural light inspire a “creation station.” Listen, dream, imagine, reflect, create, read, paint, or just breathe in and enjoy the solitude of this sanctuary at home. 

Beautifully designed for a coastal lifestyle

The piece de resistance of the house is the nearly 1,000 square feet of outdoor living space that includes a covered lanai for casual dining, a fully equipped outdoor kitchen with adjacent granite countertop bar, and a pool/spa with a custom pebble technology surface specially chosen in a shade of blue to mirror the house’s exterior trim.  The deeply shaded wood of the boat dock at the water’s edge beckons the owner to enjoy a day on the Tampa Bay…a true benefit of coastal living!

This Southern Living Showcase Home can be toured Thursday through Sunday, now through May 4, 2014, from 10 am to 4 pm for a nominal fee that benefits Operation Finally Home and All Children’s Hospital. The house is located at 4 Sandpiper Road, Tampa, FL  33609. Additional information may be obtained at TampaShowcaseHome.com.  Those not residing in and around the Tampa Bay area can view this outstanding home in a future issue of Southern Living magazine.

All photographs provided by Javic Homes.
Article by Sandi Wallace

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