New Yorkers turned new Floridians, Bob and Margo Alexander transformed a tropical escape into the dream home they never knew they'd always wanted.
"Changing the floors from ceramic tile to heart pine made an enormous difference in how the house feels," says homeowner Margo Alexander.
Guillermo Orozco designed the kitchen cabinetry and called in a local artisan to create the tile mosaics. Margo nabbed the vintage table and chairs-and her ever-expanding collection of pottery-on eBay.
Guillermo specified bamboo for the stairway railings because of its sustainability and durability in the steamy climate. "I didn't understand why, but I loved the wagon-wheel furniture the minute I saw it," says Margo. "Then my mother reminded me that I slept on a wagon-wheel bed at my great-grandmother's house when I was a little girl."
"I thought the porch, with its 14-foot ceilings, would feel way too grand," Margo says. "Guillermo said, 'Trust me. You'll live there.' And he was right―we do!"
The Alexanders chose bamboo for the outdoor shower because of its natural feel and durability.
Lush landscaping surrounds a lagoonlike pool. "Key West is a place where you envision beachfront houses, but it's very limited in terms of actually being on the water. That's why I like to bring the feeling of water elements in and open the indoors to the outside as much as possible," Guillermo says.
By converting their home's attic into guest quarters, the Alexanders make the most of all available space.
Custom upholstered beds add a modern touch to the retro interiors.
The colors of river-rock flooring in the master bath echo the hues of the ocean. A local artisan laid the stone to mimic the sea's movement.