The creation of this splendid home is a love story in several ways. The homeowners, after vacationing for years on Bonita Beach, would dream of owning a home there. They were mesmerized by the way the gulf would change colors throughout the course of the day and the seasons from bright aqua to deep sea green. The special place in their hearts held by their children served as an impetus to make a paradise the whole family could enjoy.
Gathering a team of experts that would fit together like hand in glove is no easy feat, but the skilled professionals they employed worked together seamlessly, and soon fell as much in love with the project as the owners themselves. Compatibility among the players, too, made building the home a pleasure for all involved. “These were fantastic clients to work for. They were gracious and appreciative throughout the entire construction process,” reflects builder Ryan Potter, of Potter Homes Inc., Naples. “They trusted us to deliver a superior product on time and we did,” he adds.
Residential designer Rich Guzman, of R.G. Designs was immediately attuned to the clients’ affection for the sea and sky, and to stay true to the Florida vernacular, made sure nothing would stand in the way of gazing at these elements without limit. “In designing this home, I used lots of glass to view the beach,” states Guzman.
Lead interior designer Alex Theis of Freestyle Interiors used the family’s fascination with the sea as inspiration. “Very early on in the process, I came across a gorgeous Casamance fabric that picked up the various colors of the gulf and I knew immediately it would be my focal point,” notes Theis who incorporated a pop of aqua here, a splash of blue there, and even the introduction of grays and teals to emulate the gulf and sky on a stormier day.
“Alex is detailed and focused, and immediately got what we wanted to achieve,” owner Susan Winters recounts joyfully recognizing that imagining your dream home is one thing, while genuinely attaining it is quite another, “We ended up with exactly the look and feel we hoped for, both inside and out. We love it.”
As is easily discerned from the front exterior, this Bonita Beach home is a charmer from the top of its third story to the bottom. Symmetry plays a vital role in the foreground, with balanced landscape design on either side. Landscape architect Christian Andrea of Architectural Land Design, called for many tropical- and salt-compatible plantings to help reinforce the beach lifestyle. The gulf water beyond is hinted at through the custom wood and glass front door.
The revealing design of the staircase celebrates rather than conceals the technical means by which the stairs are fabricated. Stainless steel plates are inserted into the solid wood tread, which combines with aluminum cable rail and custom stained wooden handrail. Theis, who has a background in architecture and admittedly, has a “thing” for stairs, realized that since these stairs are what you see when you look opposite the gulf, they had to be a focal point.
The gulf and sky are purposefully the main backdrop of the great room. Casamance fabric window panels capitalize on that, acting like paint upon the seascape canvas. To perpetuate the indoor/outdoor feel she was going for, Theis utilizes multipurpose fabrics from Sunbrella and Perennials. “Everything in the room stems from the client’s desire to have all of the seating surfaces able to keep up with their love of entertaining, and utilizing this space from the outdoors in,” she articulates.
This study is intended for the “Mrs.” alone, so the designer wanted to keep the furnishings light, simple, elegant, and distinctly feminine. The curved leg Century desk plays softly off the two-toned credenza by Lorts. An oversized chaise from Hickory White is strategically placed for optimal beach viewing, but the sight from behind is equally delightful, courtesy of the watercolor-inspired sophisticated fabric by Osbourne & Little. White wave-printed linen sheers invite the sea breezes in, without detracting from the glorious vista.
White is used in abundance in the kitchen to maintain an ocean theme. The turquoise shell chandelier over the dining area and the kitchen’s leather counter stools reflect the sea in its brightest glory. The cook’s kitchen has a 60-inch Wolf gas range, convection steam oven and warming drawer below from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.
In the master suite, purples and grays pay homage to Southwest Florida’s world renowned sunsets. The custom bed features an upholstered, floor-to-ceiling channel-tufted headboard, adding drama to the tall ceilings and vastness of the open view. A chaise is swathed in pale gray, and understated violet panels adorn the expanse of windows.
“The master bath was designed with a mix of classic elements and a playful, contemporary twist,” remarks Theis. White marble floors feature an occasional color departure with insets of eggplant-colored square tiles. A traditionally-shaped, freestanding tub is offset by zig zag wall niches.
Recognizing the importance of a warm and inviting outdoor living area to her client, Theis gave this area extra tender care. The fireplace is clad in a multi-shaded tile by Artistic Tile. Its blend of blue, gray, and brown adds movement, making an otherwise simple fireplace come alive. The custom made oversized bed swing was suggested by Mrs. Winters, and Theis loved how the idea played into the traditional southern living style.
Bonita Beach is world-famous for its magnificent sunsets; what better place to enjoy them than from a body-hugging lounger, right inside the pool. The second-story pool was artfully designed by Christian Andrea of Architectural Land Design who joined the team very early in the building design. “We recessed the spa to be level with the pool, so that it does not distract from the view, Andrea explains, adding, “When the spa is being used the person’s eye becomes level with the vanishing edge, and further establishing the connection to the gulf.” The construction executed by Jackson Pools allows for a 22-foot-wide unobstructed view from the living area as well. On either side of the pool’s edge matching fire bowls frame the home’s magnificent sunset views.
Written by Robin Hodes
Photography by Tim Gibbons
100 4th Avenue
Bayport, MN 55003
Architectural Land Design
2780 South Horseshoe Drive, Suite 5
Naples, FL 34104
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
3406 Domestic Avenue
Naples, FL 34104
3525 Bonita Beach Road
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
19910 South Tamiami Trail, Suite A
Estero, FL 33928
809 Walkerbilt Road, Suite 4
Naples, FL 34110
28071 Vanderbilt Drive
Bonita Springs, FL 34134