Aubuchon Homes’ new Carleton model is situated just a few miles from the lush, historic Edison and Ford Winter Estates of famous friends Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The neighborhood in downtown Fort Myers not only holds an interesting historical story, but it also fuels the architecture and design of this Grand Aurora Award-winning model.
“Stylistically we wanted to pay tribute to the history of the area, but at the same time introduce something fresh and different,” shares Gary Aubuchon, partner of Aubuchon Homes. This upscale West Indies-inspired home is full of both intrigue and style that undoubtedly stands up to the history of its surrounding community.
Aubuchon Homes’ Director of Architectural Design Mike McKiddie prioritized indoor and outdoor living and designed this West Indies home so it embodies an “it has always been there vibe,” he says. Symmetry steers the design front-to-back and side-to-side. The front entry’s walnut French doors — visible from the street — sit between a courtyard drive that buffers the home from the road. The bright white stucco, warm gray tile roof, vibrant bougainvillea, exotic palms, and rubber trees evoke the inspiration that hails from Edison’s historical stamp on the area. Even though the post-and-beam construction gives the illusion of period accuracy, this high-tech “smart house” is a marvel of modern creation.
Lead interior designer Diana Daniel of Evalutions by Aubuchon invents an adventurous family, who at the turn of the twentieth century — Edison’s era — travels far-and-wide, returning to their coastal winter home just like Edison. “You could visualize the family came by boat and could see the special artifacts or furnishings they would return with from far off regions,” Daniel elaborates. All of this, Daniel says, creates an “interesting culture to be inspired by,” so each color decision, furniture selection, and accent piece is chosen with that story-in-mind. Daniel weaves deep marine and warm walnut hues into the bright-white palette and infuses the design with spirited zebra prints, organic textures, and subtle geometric forms to introduce subliminal modern design elements. All the natural wood finishes in the home vary slightly in hue, adding to the idea of gathering special pieces from around the world. For Daniel, winning a Grand Aurora on this project is a “true highlight” of her career.
“When you look at The Carleton, it will be hard for future generations to judge the timeframe it was built in since we used timeless features,” says Aubuchon. The Aubuchon team flawlessly blends the inspiring Fort Myers’ history with a fresh and exciting spin on the West Indies style, making this home an “instant classic,” states Aubuchon — and thus putting their own Aubuchon Homes’ stamp on history.
*Feature cover image: The home’s crisp white façade makes the marine and natural wood accents pop. The roof — finished with a three-gray-blend — imitates the look of handmade clay tiles. Authentic walnut French doors open to the outdoor living space, honoring traditional West Indies style while creating a timeless ambiance.
With prominent views on either side of this grand room, lead interior designer Diana Daniel’s design eases the eye over the space with warm woods and neutral colors. Soft pillows with playful blue and silver decorations adorn the clean line sofas. To add texture, Daniel uses a sisal area rug with a subtle, geometric pattern. The massive walnut coffee table grounds the space, and is offset from the rug with its special concave, ripple mirror base.
Sculptural, geometric recycled marble and travertine tiles on the fireplace create a modern textural element, while a simple beam mantel reflects the architecture, tying together this Old World tropical style in 2020. McKiddie designed the built-ins to the height of the transoms, while Daniel sets a weathered blue woven backdrop that allows the elegantly simple shelves to stand out. Rattan chairs in a deep navy and zebra pattern tell an exotic story like each artifact accent piece.
“Just one cabinet color would not have made the kitchen a focal point,” shares Daniel on the mixture of bright white, driftwood, and royal blue, which became the kitchen’s colorway. A dainty hood along with glass-front cabinets with a delicate, subliminal fish design softens this strong kitchen. Low profile woven-back stools with black metal bases pop against the large format tile installed in a straight stacked pattern by Modern Tile & Carpet throughout the home’s main living areas.
This dining space by Aubuchon Homes is a convergence of comfort and elegance in navy blue — with organic textures and geometric motifs — and a spectacular view through the French doors out to the pool. Strong enough to stand on its own, this dining room is a restful transition between the two focal walls. Sherwin-Williams’ muted gray-blue ceiling paint opposes the walls in Pure White to create intimacy in this grand space.
The freestanding tub from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery has striking modern fixtures that pair well with the floating shelves. The wood inlay chevron pattern “rug” is made from the same wood flooring found in the owner’s retreat. Dekton sheets complete the surrounding floor and continue up the shower walls creating a seamless integration into the shower.
The serene outdoor view is mimicked by the soothing original artwork across from the bed. Grounding the art is a white linen-wrapped console table with silver metallic trim and a cozy chair in a delicate denim-blue, whose whitewashed feet stand out atop the warm, rustic wood flooring from Modern Tile & Carpet. Sculptural milk glass pieces above the bed add whimsy akin to the crystal bracelet light fixture.
To unify this feature wall, Daniel uses 12-by-24-inch ceramic tiles in a similar colorway to the raven-ash NatureKast cabinetry. Blue marine frames the windows, adds a nautical feel, and ties into the softer blue and ash watercolor backsplash tile. The warm tongue-and-groove cypress ceiling harkens back to the interior trim and showcases three voluminous globe pendants that elevate this elegant outdoor space.
Three sets of French doors lead to the open veranda, drawing the view to the pool, pool deck, trellis-waterfall, and fire bowls that “creates a visual interest in contrast,” says Aubuchon. Travertine stepping stones set among the pebbles and across the pool lead to the trellis-covered deck amid the tropical foliage. The soothing waterfall creates a tranquil ambiance, while music plays through specially calibrated hidden speakers — propelling this West Indies home into the future.
Written by Rachel Seekamp
Photography by Barry Milligan
Residential Designer | Luxury Home Builder
4707 SE 9th Place
Cape Coral, FL 33904
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
38 Goodlette-Frank Road South
Naples, FL 34102
Modern Tile & Carpet
5450 Division Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33905