Island Style

A fortuitous side trip to Key West compelled a Washington, D.C., couple to stay awhile.
Text by Francoise O'Neill

For Carole and Gerald Fauth, the Caribbean summed up their idea of paradise. They promised themselves that the next time they visited, they would purchase a piece of land and build a vacation home to escape the cold Washington, D.C., winters. But as often happens, fate intervened.

"We got a phone call from friends who were considering buying property in Key West. They asked us if we could check out the area for them on our way back home," Carole says.

Little did the Fauths know, their circuitous route would alter their plans forever.

The couple was so taken with Key West's carefree attitude, blue seas, and diverse residents, they decided to find their getaway place there. "The weather was perfect, the restaurants plentiful, and the lifestyle relaxed," says Carole. Ten years after building a home, the couple decided on a repeat performance―this time in Truman Annex, a former U.S. Navy base turned private neighborhood.

They called on architect Thomas Pope for his experience in restoring and renovating historic homes. "Tom understood instantly what we were looking for," Gerald says. "We planned to winter here and wanted to take full advantage of the garden and the pool area."

To give his clients that always-on-vacation feeling, Tom drew on West Indies and Bahamian sensibilities. He utilized trademark elements such as metal roofs, picket fences, double-hung windows, low roof overhangs, and shutters to integrate the new home into the established vernacular. Transom windows let in plenty of natural light, and French doors keep the indoors flowing out.

"The dining area opening onto the back porch is my favorite room," Carole says. "We have wonderful dinner parties with friends." Out here, when the slightest breeze unleashes the fragrance of jasmine and gardenia, Carole and Gerald no longer have to depend on Caribbean dreams.