Caribbean Calling

Charlotte-based designer Ashley Shaw transforms a coastal Florida house into a British West Indies-inspired home.

That vision was simple: Design a home with a British West Indies aesthetic inside and out. “He wanted it to feel like you walked into a vacation beach home but with more of an eclectic, collected look and feel to it,” Shaw says. After many interviews, the homeowner enlisted Shaw and architect James Dupree to bring his vision to fruition. “What I loved about Ashley right from the start was that her designs were timeless,” the homeowner says. “It was important to me that this home was built so that it would transcend time without a whole lot of modification.”

The three-story home and adjacent cottage were designed with timelessness in mind while also pulling in architectural and design elements that aligned with the British West Indies aesthetic. The homeowner was drawn to the dark wood of the Caribbean look, so Shaw sourced rich, warm African mahogany to be used throughout the home on both the flooring and wood beams. White plaster walls reminiscent of this same aesthetic were also added to the home to invoke that classic Caribbean feel.

Because the wood detailing and finishes felt masculine, Shaw was careful to soften the look. “That much wood throughout a home can be a bit heavy,” she says. “So we really wanted to lighten and brighten it.” The designer looked to natural elements just outside the home and drew color inspiration from the ocean, seagrasses, sand, and more. “The color palette is a lot of blues and soft greens, which really pull that outside in,” Shaw says, who incorporated rich velvets and leather in those same hues in keeping with the masculine aesthetic while also adding a dose of femininity. The same thought was applied in the dining room where a large dining table with wood base and marble top by Baker was softened by the elegant and dramatic mid-century mirrored glass and Lucite waterfall chandelier.

The adjacent living room was also about comfort. “He really wanted the whole home, but especially the living room, to be very comfortable,” Shaw says. “The room is comfortable but casual, approachable but elegant.” A large sectional by Lee Industries was layered with a variety of accent pillows, which help create a more inviting and comfortable place to lounge and relax.

Upstairs in the master suite, Shaw took a less-is-more approach with her interior design. “The homeowner really wanted the views and only the views to be the focus of the space,” she says. So as not to distract from the stunning ocean panorama the space provided, Shaw kept not only the Mrs. Howard for Sherrill Furniture headboard, the channel-quilted coverlet, and the Elegante bedding simple but classic, she also kept the color scheme and artwork subtle.

Hidden, drop-down blinds keep the view unobstructed, as well. In the adjacent cottage, Shaw was given a bit more freedom with the design, which is more casual and relaxed than the main home. A large photograph by artist Grégoire Moulin, which was taken at a North Carolina beach, sets the laidback beach vibe for the space. To accommodate extra visitors without adding more chairs to the 1,500-square-foot cottage, which the homeowner says all four of his grown kids can use as they want, Shaw added the Hickory White coffee table. Underneath, ottomans can be stored, which allows for more seating throughout the space.

The home was a true collaboration, the homeowner says. “Ashley was so fully aligned with my vision from the start that there was never one mishap along the way,” he says. “I knew that when I hired Ashley for this project, she would bring my vision for this home to fruition.”