Resurrecting a beachfront dream
It’s a tragic tale with a happy ending. A couple had just put the final touches on their beautiful 5-bedroom home when fire destroyed it. Once the grief and loss subsided, determination took over, and they reenlisted original residential designer Richard Guzman of R.G. Designs, original general contractor William Must, and award-winning interior designers Kim Collins and Alina Dolan of Collins & DuPont Design Group to restore their residence and elevate it to a level surpassing what once stood in its place.
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, the home took on a new life, with a few exciting additions that would enhance the drama of its prior state. “We wanted to erase the negative emotions and effect an outcome that would be truly spectacular,” says Collins.
Fortunately, the external structure remained intact, so the first order of business was to eradicate the damage. “We started with a remediation—removing any traces of smoke, water and fire,” says Must. “Then, we had to gut the whole place.” His game plan was to find a superbly-skilled group of subcontractors to perform this feat. “We needed nothing short of a miracle to pull off something this massive,” he says.
Guzman strategized the enhancements with intensity and vigor. “The client had an existing plan on the beach, but they needed more space,” he explains. “We did some really cool curved windows, pushing the glass to the absolute edge allowing for uninterrupted sunset views 365 days a year.” He also expanded the great room, opening-up the floor plan for a seamless flow. “Now you can see across the whole house, so it doesn’t feel confining,” adds Guzman. Also, to accommodate an extended family with lots of grandkids, the lanai needed to be larger. “It was broken up and discombobulated, so we made it into something truer.”
In a valiant effort to introduce high drama and unparalleled opulence, the designers embarked on an “inspirational journey.” “Alina and I went to California’s Pacific Design Center to inspire the client and unearth exciting new products,” says Collins. There, the design team found most of the anchor pieces and some stunning elements like natural crystals. “Most of the fabrics we selected were Italian, with high sheens and metallics to speak to the glamour aspect,” she adds.
The clients’ willingness to take risks and embrace the unusual made the project fun and stimulating for the designers. And as is evident in the stunning end result, sometimes heartbreak can be a blessing in disguise
The front exterior, which survived the fire, was simply freshened with new materials like a metal roof and stucco finish. Guzman’s four-story design with an octagonal cupola at the top make for a stunning profile. The curved columns and archway are mimicked by a decorative entry door of the same shape. Artful landscaping complete with plentiful proud palm trees furthers the grandeur.
Fondly referred to as the Leisure Room, this great room is a place you’d never want to leave. A show-stopping ceiling by Christine Adele Arts captures the movement of the Gulf with undulating lines, and features a luminescent glow achieved by a multi-layered faux finish adorned by flaked pieces of natural mica. The sofa by A. Rudin is upholstered in a toffee-colored weave by Pollack & Associates and is backed by a modern ebony console from Donghia and soft poufs from Studio A. The breakfast area includes a Baker glass table atop a pedestal base finished in white gold. Above it, the Hudson Mother steel chain chandelier shimmers, perfectly complementing the custom seed cloud fixture glittering with crystal buds hung at various lengths. The fireplace detail consists of a Glazzio brown shell mosaic and a custom mantel designed by Collins & DuPont.
The hallway is a funhouse of custom-beveled mirrored columns. A play of dark and light is achieved by deep wood flooring contrasted with walls painted in a lighter shade. “The original stairs were a closed-up radius that we converted to an open tread and riser, so the daylight comes through,” says Guzman. The dramatic lighting includes LED bounced off the ceiling, and sparkling On the Rocks wall sconces from Boyd Lighting.
The formal living room boasts an upholstered wall of individually-made squares of Donghia lilac suede custom-fabricated in Italy. A luxurious Donghia sofa is wrapped in a spot-patterned Sahco fabric. A pair of lounge chairs by Thomas Pheasant for Baker is upholstered in Romo’s Veta fabric, while the third chair is from Christopher Guy. Marc Phillips’ Satinwood area rug in ivory grounds the lavish space. The shimmer suede iridescent ceiling finish and iridescent wax over mica-encrusted custom wall finish are by Christine Adele Arts.
The dining room is appointed with several showpieces including an exciting textural wool and silk rug called Occulation from Tai Ping, a Christine Adele Arts custom mica-encrusted wall finish, and a ceiling decoratively accented by a rectangle of applied plaster with an intricate, lacey trellis effect. Marge Carson’s glossy dining table is flanked with chairs by the same maker, with backs upholstered in Cassaro’s Java faux leather and trimmed with silver nailheads. Donghia Lido drapes fashion the doors and windows, and a Boyd chandelier drips crystal from above for a dazzling, liquid effect. Mother-of-pearl Aphrodite tiles from Ruben Sorhegui Tile Distributors, and even the Grizzel and Mann counter stools shimmer with Romo’s Zinc fabric.
If you’re going for glamour, why stop at the kitchen? The cabinetry is custom stained rift cut walnut, polished to a high gloss, crafted by Thomas Riley Artisans’ Guild, while the backsplash flaunts glass mosaic tile in mushroom tones. The countertops along the perimeter are fabricated with sleek Lumix Quartzite, but softened at the edges to mirror the curvaceous ceiling niche treated with faux gold and sprinkled with applied mica for extra shine. Truly the brass ring, the Prometheus light fixture was custom-made by Siglo Moderno. Cylindrical columns are treated with mother-of-pearl Aphrodite tiles from Ruben Sorhegui Tile, and even the Grizzel & Mann counter stools shimmer with Romo’s Zinc fabric.
A posh master bath showcases contemporary custom cabinetry of maple with a painted satin sheen, designed by Collins & DuPont. The gleaming countertops and tub surround are made with precious stone from Antolini. The Domus Modena floor tiles are inset with Atlantico mosaic accents. Ritzy shaped cornices feature a smoked quartz animal print by Romo and beaded rope trim from Osborne & Little. A six-arm chandelier with pewter silk shades is from coveted Italian lighting brand Porta Romana. The wall and ceiling are custom finished by Christine Adele Arts in iridescent glazed silver.
The master bedroom is elegant and gilded, from the custom Moneta light fixture–—featuring seeded glass diffusers of tobacco, amber, and clear glass—to the topaz waves, courtesy of Fabricut, inset into the window cornices. Pearlized silver foil walls with textured wax overlay by Christine Adele Arts continues the theme of precious metal, as does the Allan Knight chaise swathed in Romo’s reflective Rowell putty-colored fabric. A Colombostile bed is custom-finished and decorated with an assortment of sumptuous pillows as well as a chic faux-fur throw. The artwork, entitled Flow from CHC Art, and Tai Ping’s Hemisphere silk rug, serve to tie the look together.
The homeowner’s desire for glamour is satisfied in this guest suite with a custom Allan Knight free-form tree branch light fixture in a French-gold finish accented with small rock crystal buds and the custom Swaim bed with headboard of beveled antiqued-glass squares. The bed is dressed with an Ann Gish Croc coverlet in Quartz and Cassaro fabric shams trimmed in selections from Osborne & Little and Marge Carson.
Treasured guests will feel important in the VIP Suite, where bold shades of turquoise, teal, and peacock are showcased by pillows and shams in assorted luxury Italian textiles and a wispy floral cashmere throw by Tribute Goods—all neutralized by the Ann Gish quilted king coverlet that dresses the bed. The clients’ existing ottomans were reupholstered in Cassaro’s Lamorelle Baltico. The Holland & Sherry Interrupting Line handspun bamboo silk rug adds softness below, while Golden Lighting’s organically-shaped Autumn Twilight chandelier in mystic silver finish illuminates the room with decadence from above.
This balcony is situated above what is now the expanded great room. Dedon furnishings available through Richlin International include an Orbit round daybed, MU cocktail ottoman, and right module sectional piece. The fabrics, ranging from Lloyd Flanders Plush Oatmeal to Dedon’s Montecatini Sand Dune, as well as light blue throw pillows playfully trimmed with pom-poms, represent all the natural elements of sun, sand, and sky. Undeniably, the sunsets seen from this vantage point are beyond compare.
A spiral staircase leads to an extraordinary award-winning adaptation of a study—a crow’s nest that the designers, along with the clients, nicknamed the “Master of the Universe Room.” Rich in detail, Christine Adele Arts created oil-rubbed suede walls in coffee and aqua tones, and the Glazed Dragon Skin texture on the beamed ceiling. The cabinetry is made from mahogany with an ebonized stain, all custom-designed by Collins & DuPont. A Baker sleeper sofa is wrapped in a silvery glitter fabric by Sahco, and the pillows include those with a knife-edge design done in Brunschwig & Fils velvet, complemented by others that are button-tufted and feature Jim Thompson’s Fireworks silk in evergreen. “It’s the crowning glory of the home,” says Collins.
Written by Robin Hodes
Photography by Lori Hamilton
Christine Adele Arts
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Collins & DuPont Design Group
8911 Brighton Lane
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
28071 Vanderbilt Drive
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
10800 Corkscrew Road, Suite 182
Estero, FL 33928
Ruben Sorhegui Tile
3876 Mercantile Ave
Naples, FL 34104