Sensible Elegance : Caribbean Charm Meets Old Florida Style

Tucked just off the street and backing up to a canal, this Naples home gives a nod to Old Florida style with a hint of Caribbean flair evolved to meet modern needs. “Think of it as an Old Florida home that went off to college and came back a more sophisticated version,” says Rob Herscoe, managing partner at Herscoe Hajjar Architects who designed the house.

The 5,000-square-foot home is intentionally planned with understated elegance. “The homeowners wanted to create a space that had a sense of humility from a distance,” Herscoe says. This sensibility comes from the architecture which tucks the front door into a private courtyard, to the lush native plants offering seclusion, and then extends the simplicity of the home’s decor.

The homeowners worked hands-on with the builder and architects to create a truly beautiful space. Mike Nourse, president of Nourse Building Company Inc., says, “The homeowners obtained elmwood flooring reclaimed from Japanese temples. The prefinished floor was one of a kind; it even had gouges and filled-in square peg notches.”

While the home is filled with traditional Florida charm, the homeowner collaborated with Herscoe who had traveled to the Caribbean. “You can see those touches throughout the space,” adds Nourse. He notes the heavily vegetated landscaping, the tabby shell finish on the fireplace, the X-style transom windows, and vaulted post-and-beam ceilings throughout.

“In the creative process, the interior details were worked out specifically with the homeowners’ functional requirements,” Herscoe says. Throughout the home’s interior, clean lines, bright open spaces, and simple materials manifest the feel of a laid-back retreat. Rooms sport casual, yet tailored furnishings while the large outdoor spaces — from porches, the courtyard, and lanai — afford beautiful views, fresh air, and plenty of light.

“The homeowners came to the project with a specific interest in landscaping and gardening,” says Herscoe. “Our job was to provide them with the adequate spaces and backdrop so they could evolve their landscaping over the years.” To start out, the architects planned for lush native plants to add a tropical feel. The home’s front door is tucked behind the plants in the courtyard, and the roof is a GALV-ALUM metal.

Most of the home’s rooms afford views of the canal out back. The architects designed four-foot by ten-foot sliding doors that fully pocket so the living room can open to the outdoors. One of the most significant features that anchors the home is in the great room. The unique free-standing sculptural fireplace element is the room’s focal point. The mantel is wood and the fireplace surround is made with a tabby shell application, which involves a stucco and masonry mix to which shells are embedded. “The homeowner also added on specialty shells like scallops, starfish, and sand dollars,” says Nourse. The fireplace is a lava rock Earthcore Isokern model.

Counter-to-ceiling built-in shelving offers the perfect display space for accessories in the dining room. As with the rest of the home, the owners subscribe to a less-is-more approach in the way of decor, not crowding the shelves. “All cabinets in the dining room were built offsite in town and then brought to the home to be installed,” says Nourse. The cabinets below the shelves provide storage. The thick-slabbed wood trestle table complements the floors and dining room chairs upholstered in stripes and light florals. A simple faux candle chandelier adds ambiance to the dining area.

Light blue walls help offset the kitchen’s rich cherry countertops and complement the marble floors. The broad island allows for guests to gather around while the host and hostess prepare a meal. The teakwood island was custom-cut in Dripping Springs, Texas. The Wolf range is set into the back of the sculptural fireplace. An en suite butler’s pantry area to the right of the refrigerator provides extra storage.

Clean lines, simple marble floors, and white tile open up the master bathroom. A unique blue glass backsplash adds a pop of color around the vanity area, and the shower is large and spacious. The bathroom has direct access to views of the back porch and the pool. In keeping with the rest of the home, the raised ceiling accentuates the airy feeling to the room.

Simple furnishings, coupled with a plush window seat and sitting area, make the master bedroom a true retreat. All the Anderson windows throughout the home feature the X-style transom, a nod to Caribbean style.

Located off the dining room, the lanai offers the perfect outdoor gathering space. Weatherproof outdoor furniture coupled with Sunbrella all-weather cushions stand up to salt and moisture. The wet bar area features a sink, fridge with ice maker, wine cooler, and barbecue grill. A privacy shade backs the bar. “The back of the house faces west, and we installed the shade, along with awnings, to make sunsets outside more comfortable,” says Nourse. The mahogany doors outside were custom-made in Georgia, and, like the fireplace, the bar features the tabby shell design.

The 40-foot-long pool was kept shallow enough for volleyball matches and features a sun shelf perfect for lounge chairs and grandchildren. Precast stone was sand-set around the pool. Beyond the pool area lies the canal the home backs up to, featuring a boat slip. The pool area is studded with palm trees and spectacular views.


Written by Claire E. Vath

Photography by Giovanni Photography


Herscoe Hajjar Architects
22 10th Street South
Naples, FL 34102


Nourse Building Company
2800 Davis Blvd., Suite 101
Naples, FL 34104

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