by Margaret Zainey Roux | Photography by Jean Allsopp
Sand, sun, and simplicity. That’s what attracted Kathy and Craig Johnson to Gasparilla Island in 2006—and that’s exactly what keeps their family coming back no matter the reason or season. “We fell in love with the island the very first time we visited it,” says Kathy, a Houston-based interior designer. “Golf carts and bicycles are the main source of transportation, and almost all of the restaurants and shops are small and family-owned. You also won’t find large high-rise complexes dotting the shoreline. When we arrive on the island, it’s like we’ve stepped back in time.”
The Johnsons’ house hunt wasn’t exactly smooth sailing, though. It took six years of searching before they found the perfect home—or more accurately—before the perfect home found them. According to Kathy, the 5,800-square-foot Mediterranean-inspired manse was never officially on the market. The couple learned through word of mouth that the owner was open to a sale should the right family come along. Fortunately, the Johnsons were just that family.