Have you ever walked into a store and thought, “Take all my money while I take one of everything?” That’s exactly how you’ll feel after setting foot into Island Style in Key West. The colorful tropical boutique and fine art gallery located at 512 Duval St. is home to an array of eclectic pieces of art made by local artists as well as a variety of upscale, handmade, one-of-a-kind items created by Caribbean-inspired artists.
With two locations in Florida, it’s no wonder Island Style has become a staple for both residents and visitors alike looking to add a hint of island flavor to their decor or looking for that perfect gift to give. The Sanibel Island location has been in business for roughly 43 years and the Key West location for 23 years.
Owned by former elementary school teacher Dyan Gonsalves and her husband, Richard, Island Style is a unique art gallery. Shoppers can splurge on a variety of products ranging from fine art and jewelry to pottery and inspirational cards and buyers can shop confidently knowing they are getting eclectic items at a wide variety of price points. And for those of you thinking about the holiday season, there is definitely something for everyone on your gifting list.
“I moved from Michigan to Sanibel Island then bought a home in Key West,” Dyan says. “At the time I was teaching, but no one can afford to teach and live there, so I decided to open up the gallery. While I was a student in college, I was in charge of buying for a small boutique, so I had some buying experience under my belt. I have a minor in art and a passion for the tropics and the Caribbean lifestyle, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that into my space. I had a special place for Key West since my early days in high school and I fell in love with the island. It was during my visits to the rock that I saw a need for Island Style in Key West and I wanted to create a space for both locals and visitors to get unique art and gifts that were both accessible and affordable.”
As soon as you walk into the vibrant space of turquoise, yellows and pinks, your senses are greeted with the soothing sounds of a steel drum as island calypso music plays in the background. You’re greeted by Dyan or one of her longtime helpful employees and you’ll usually see her husband in on the action as well as he’s busy packing up goodies to ship out to their new homes or hanging up new pieces of art that have just arrived.
While you decide how you’re going to carry everything home — because trust me, you will want to take it all — you can’t help but feel happy surrounded by so much vibrant energy. (They do offer worldwide shipping, if your purchases exceed your luggage space.) There’s something about Caribbean colors that catch your attention and lift up your spirit. The music doesn’t hurt either, as you find yourself swaying and grooving throughout the store.
Art lovers can feast their eyes on handmade and hand-painted furniture, which of course can be customized to match your home’s palette. Dyan loves working with individual clients to help curate pieces that will stand out in beach homes or houses in the Midwest. You can choose from multi-hued dining room sets, end tables, mirrors and lamps.
The store is also home to wearable art by artists such as Judy Lichenstein (yes, she’s a relative to famous artist Roy Lichtenstein), island lifestyle brand Jamz World, custom glass-blown chandeliers, and one of the only children’s departments on the island, which sells books, adorable onesies and (of course) chicken and aquatic plush toys.
“I love the fact that I get the opportunity to go to buying shows and work so closely with the artists to create pieces that are exclusive to Island Style,” Dyan says. “Art doesn’t have to be serious.” People are usually intimidated by fine art galleries, but there’s something special about this space that is both inviting and welcoming.
When she’s not busy serving up island style, Dyan is usually island hopping with her husband to their Sanibel Island location or to her home away from home in Nevis. “I guess you can say I’ve always been an island girl at heart,” she says.
Dyan’s love of the tropics and fine art is evident throughout the space she has so meticulously curated along with the artists she has handpicked to show. Known for the colorful numbered address tiles and beautifully crafted outdoor sculptures that can weather the storm and have you envied by all your neighbors, Island Style is a must whether you’re on the island for just a few hours or you live here. And it’s the perfect spot to check off all those that have been both naughty and nice on your holiday list this year. I guarantee you’ll find something for everyone. Happy shopping and make sure you tell Dyan that Jenny sent you. ¦