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Casa Magnifica

Beachside home radiates Caribbean charm and classic elegance

The symbolic painting over the living room sofa, by Cuban folk artist Margarita Cano, portrays Leonor on a raft, holding her infant son, Boris, with doves and musicians escorting them as they flee over the ocean from Havana to Miami.

The symbolic painting over the living room sofa, by Cuban folk artist Margarita Cano, portrays Leonor on a raft, holding her infant son, Boris, with doves and musicians escorting them as they flee over the ocean from Havana to Miami.

At the end of a quiet road leading to the ocean are two white gates, easily missed unless one has been invited to enter and stay awhile. That’s when the magic begins, as the gates open to a courtyard where a burbling fountain is surrounded with bursts of seasonal blossoms and lush tropical greenery and framed by sabal palms. It’s a scene that would prompt any artist to capture it on canvas.  

It’s also the perfect introduction to the Caribbean style two-story, three-bedroom house where ocean views are available in every room. Here, waters of the Atlantic gleam blue as a jewel, and a balcony off the spacious master suite is the best place to welcome the rising sun with, as owner Leonor Gonzalez smilingly notes, “a cup of Cuban coffee.”

Catching up with the ageless optimist isn’t always easy. Often on the go, eager to expand her horizons and seek new learning opportunities, Leonor often refers to herself as the “eternal student.” Yet no matter where her inquisitive mind takes her, she always returns home, to the house, guesthouse and gardens she so thoughtfully designed, furnished and treasures, and the community she loves.

It wasn’t always so.