As you approach this elegant Bermuda-style home, you would never guess that it was once hidden behind a jungle of trees and subtropical shrubbery, obscuring its potential to be a modern family home in one of Naples’ best locations. Looking at it today, it’s also impossible to tell that it has undergone four renovations in its past life because this, the fifth and last renovation, was done with such vision, skill, and care. Home & Design® Magazine’s 2017 Signature Home has at last been transformed into the modern Old Naples estate it was meant to be.
“I was always drawn to the home and I felt it was too important to be torn down,” says developer Kristen Williams of KW Properties. “Living in this area, I knew it was one of the first grand homes built on Gulf Shore Boulevard. I could tell it had great bones, we just needed to revive it, and create a home that fit the needs of the new Naples resident.”
Williams enlisted the talents of architect Alberto Abad of New Architectura and builders Jay Bowerman and Jaider Gonzalez of Big Island Builders. The team set to work designing an additional wing and new entry worthy of the home. “We felt it was important to change the orientation of the entrance to create more curb appeal and to give the home a true Gulf Shore Boulevard address. Also, the original two-story wing made the home feel off balanced,” comments Abad.
Armed with a plan for her vision, Williams was thrilled when she was approached by Home & Design with the idea of collaborating with celebrity designer Lillian August to turn the property into a one-of-a-kind show house. “I am such a fan of Lillian’s collections, so I jumped at the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with her,” says Williams.
Bringing a design perspective driven by couture runways and a love of vibrant palettes, Lillian August was able to create a home that plays to fashion while still maintaining the traditional feel Northern transplants are so accustomed to. While inspired by the Floridian sky, August was also charmed by Williams, and her hands-on approach to the project. “I found working with Kristen to be magical, and collaborating with a woman developer was empowering. It gave me the ability to play to fashion and celebrate the power of style through the design of the home.”
One of the main challenges Williams and August faced was the physical distance between them. While Williams and August were able to travel to one another at times, someone at the local level was needed to facilitate the vision. That task fell to Suzanne Costa of Suzanne Costa Interiors who says, “As a New York designer I was very familiar with Lillian August and working with such an icon was an honor. I feel we were able to take her distinct and colorful style and successfully translate it for Naples’ coastal market.”
Throughout the home, August’s unique ability to layer color, retro styles, and whimsical elements creates an interior that speaks to the history of the home and its setting, while looking towards the bright future it’s sure to have.
As the Bermuda-style home is viewed from the new custom-poured shell driveway one would never guess at the extensive redesign and artfully executed renovation which took place. The orientation of the home was changed from the narrow side street to face Gulf Shore Boulevard, a second two-story wing was added on the right, and the triple-arches were changed to reveal a new grand entryway. “It took a lot of structural re-engineering, but I’m glad we were able to add the arches because they look spectacular as you approach the house,” notes builder Jay Bowerman.
“This home was about surprise elements for me—from the way a hallway would open into an intimate sitting room, to accent items found throughout, I wanted people to be excited about each new space—,” says celebrity designer Lillian August, seen here in a portrait taken in the formal living room by photographer Lorin Klaris. An expertly curated mix of traditional formality and a relaxed lifestyle is apparent. The sleek silhouette of twin Maison sofas pairs with the gold finish of the coffee and side tables offering an ́80s vibe. The art in this room is from August’s Wendover collection, inspired by her love of Florida’s always beautiful sky. The large antique mirror was retrofitted for the home and plays off the arched windows it reflects.
Filled with saturated color and textural layers, the dining room is a space that gives the homeowners a truly formal entertaining area. American made chinoiserie wallpaper represents a new opportunity for designers as it replaces the more expensive and labor-intensive hand-painted method. The wallpaper sets the color scheme and period for the room, and is accented with the punch of Chinese red and oversized porcelains. The dark wood dining table sits on a rug that reinforces the traditional feel.
The French country kitchen is consistently one of the favorite rooms in the home. Designed by Carol Ruffino and manufactured by Ruffino Cabinetry, the Alabaster White-finished cabinets provide the perfect canvas on which to build. Wire-grill door inserts with limed oak T&G backs, and shelves with custom iron brackets complement the beautiful limed oak island. Ruffino’s design incorporated a Lacanche Chassagne Classic Art Culinaire French range. Williams used the French pastry table at the end of the island to enhance the classic European look. Calcutta Gold marble and French white oak flooring complete the space.
The kitchen and family room flow together into one large entertaining space. Abad and Williams felt that keeping the original architectural detail of the outdoor patio was important, and August used it for inspiration saying, “I found the indoor-outdoor feel of the room to be so significant.” Sourced through Emilio Sadez of International Design Source in Naples, the Smithfield Sectional in a chenille velveteen provides a comfortable and durable surface for family and casual entertaining. The storage ottoman and Preston wingchair add pops of bold style to this more casual space. The colors of the wide plank floors are mirrored in the ceiling beam and headers.
“I wanted to create a distinctly masculine area in this house and I think this room turned out to be a wonderful space with a global feel,” says Williams of the billiards room. Roman shades, the animal skin rug, and antler accents add exotic touches to the classic pool table and leather sofa. The artwork is from August’s Wendover Collection.
The downstairs master suite features a more vibrant color palette with bold and complementary fabric choices. An Arlington king bed features an Eglomise mirror with antiqued-gold wood trim, and is flanked by matching nightstands. The Leif secretary desk with an Antique Linen finish is a staple of August’s line. An Arden Court chair with imported fabric completes this cozy workspace. French doors dressed in coral draperies fabricated by Statewide Window Treatments open onto the travertine pool deck. Flowers shown are courtesy of the Naples Garden Club.
One of two upstairs en suite bedrooms, this vibrant retreat features bold colors and whimsical art. The four-poster bed is bold and simple against the linens in tropical shades of tangerine and bright pink.
Carol Ruffino also designed the cabinetry for the master bath. Simple and clean, the all-white room is the perfect complement to the soft colors of the adjoining master bedroom. Calcutta marble counters and large tiles on the floor enhance the spa-like feel provided by the soaking tub and double sink vanity. Naples artist Judith Auclair of Maison Auclair created accents throughout the home such as the decorative gray boxes found in the master bath.
In the upstairs master suite, August uses one of her favorite colors, lavender, as a neutral tone in the room which pairs well with the unique blue accents in the bedding and window seat fabrics. The American-made furniture showcases the versatility of custom quality case goods. “A tufted upholstered headboard is always a popular option, and while the Devon set comes in several variations, I chose one with clean and modern lines,” explains August. The two-toned white washed Liza desk pairs with the soft tones in the geometric patterned rug.
A midsized Wright Sofa in lavender tones with clear blue accents is found in the master sitting room. Above the sofa “Shore Break”, a photo by Lorin Klaris hints, at the Gulf of Mexico just a short block away.
The pool area created a unique set of challenges for the builder and architect. Because the lot was fairly narrow and the orientation of the home had been changed, they had to be creative in working around their setback requirements. Abad’s solution was to cantilever the home, giving the exterior more visual interest while adhering to the city’s guidelines. The tiered Travertine pool was another clever solution, and creates a unique entertaining space. Large pink flamingos by Ed Koehler add a tropical pop of color to the neutral tones of the pool area.
Written by Channing Spano
Photography by Blaine Johnathan
Available through Olde Naples Real Estate
Big Island Builders, Inc.
4601 Enterprise Avenue, Suite 1 & 2
Naples, FL 34104
International Design Source
6001 Taylor Road
Naples, FL 34109
381 13th Avenue South
Naples, FL 34102
3561 Bonita Bay Boulevard North
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Olde Naples Real Estate
536 Park Street
Naples, FL 34102
291 Broad Avenue
Naples, FL 34102
Statewide Window Treatments
2047 Trade Center Way
Naples, FL 34109
Suzanne Costa Interiors
381 13th Avenue South
Naples, FL 34102