From NYC to Jacksonville Beach,WNBA President Donna Orender finds serenity and inspiration in her oceanfront home.
Donna Orender, president of the Women’s National Basketball Association, knows how to sink a shot, and her Jacksonville Beach, FL, beach house is one of her many scores. This “committed New Yorker” picked up roots when she was recruited by the PGA Tour to lead the effort of moving their production company to the Sunshine State. Florida may not have been home, but things turned out exceptionally well; the Nantucket-style Cedar Shake oceanfront home that she shares with husband MG Orender (Honorary PGA President) and their four children is a testament to the benefits of change. Many years later, the WBL All-Star point guard and ABC Sports and SportsChannel celebrity says, “I don’t think a day goes by that we don’t remark on how much we enjoy our home.”
What drew you to Jacksonville?
I was involved in the initial start-up of PGA TOUR Productions in New York City, and after a few years left to begin my own marketing company (Primo Donna Productions). The Tour decided to move their company in-house; they asked if I would be interested in going to Jacksonville to help. I found the beach lifestyle to be the perfect complement to my city life and a great antidote for a very busy and challenging job.
Which area destinations do you like to share with out-of-town visitors?
We play golf at Amelia Island’s Northampton Golf Club and at the Ponte Vedra Inn. There are a lot of good restaurants and local chefs that we like to support, including Pom’s Signature Restaurant and Eleven South. For little and big kids alike, a trip to the Alligator Farm is a must. Recently, we hosted a group who came here to launch Generation W, a special event for women in northeast Florida. Our itinerary included a reception at Roy’s—one of my family’s favorites (Roy himself visits from Hawaii and cooks for us).
How would you describe its furnishings?
It is a happy house with an open layout, a great flow, clean lines, a warm heart, and a beach soul. With a beautiful view of the ocean, we have chosen colors that echo nature and accentuate the window-framed scenery.
What has influenced your tastes and design choices?
We often joke about the influence of things we’ve seen during our travels, particularly great bathrooms. We are equally at ease in urban environments and have ultimately created a warm, clean, and friendly aesthetic. We have an eclectic style—with a dash of whimsy. We feel strongly that style has to function for all to work well.
Which room do you spend the most time in?
The room with “the view” and the food. We do everything in this space. Our kitchen, dining area, computer workspace, and living room tie together and are framed by three enormous picture windows. I find it serene, inspiring, and motivating. Everyone tends to end up in this space.