Home of the Month: Passionately Modern
A California-style home stands out in Old Naples for its unique design.
Homeowners James and Tara Bates renovated several historic buildings to feature modern interiors in James' native England. Upon moving to Naples, they eventually decided to create an entirely new dwelling.
A love for mid-century modern led one local designer and her Realtor husband to purchase a teardown property in Old Naples and build the home of their dreams—a supremely white, two-story dwelling with a modernistic stairway that leads to a deck at the top of the home.
“We quite like the very modern,” explains designer Tara Bates, owner of Lime International Décor. Bates formerly worked in the fashion industry in New York, London and other cities. With her husband, James Bates, the duo gutted and renovated historic England properties prior to moving to Naples seven years ago.
Despite their passion for historic renovation, their projects always involved very modern interiors. With his appreciation for history, James proceeded to establish himself as a local Realtor who values vintage character, last year selling a 1926 Addison Mizner estate, located at 670 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., for $16 million.
But with few historic homes in Naples to choose from, the Bateses decided they would build their own unique dwelling. A small 1950s home on their property was razed, although the vintage-loving couple salvaged some unique furnishings from it and then refinished and installed them their new abode.
The home’s design, done in collaboration with Architecture Artistica in Fort Myers, took a full year. “We knew exactly what we wanted to build,” James explains. “We kind of liked bringing our own ideas into it.”
Among those ideas is a European kitchen with sleek white cabinetry to complement the thick Corian countertop that wraps the center island. Inlaid is a new, nonporous product from Germany, called Resysta, which is made primarily of rice husks. “We wanted it to be green as well,” James explains, regarding the home. “We wanted it to be resilient in the heat.” Resysta is also used on decks surrounding the outdoor pool, in the garage doors and other areas.
Floor-to-ceiling windows permit the couple to enjoy the outdoors, even when working inside. “You sort of lose yourself in the outside,” James says. Floors throughout the home combine two unique products, American Tigerwood and a brushed porcelain tile.
The couple, collectors of midcentury art, viewed the home’s staircases as opportunity to install memorable architecture. The interior staircase is made of glass railing with polished chrome, powder-coated steel and solid oak treads. Throughout the home, Tara reupholstered original mid-century furnishings with modern Kravet prints and accents of lime and bright orange.
From the second floor, a hidden door opens to reveal an exterior, white, semi-circular staircase leading to the very top of the home to a grand outdoor deck that provides an interesting observation point to the surrounding neighborhood. Beyond, they can see the horizon peeking between the trees and high-rises of Gulf Shore Boulevard.
“I always wanted to do this,” Tara says about the rooftop deck. “It is remarkable how green Naples is,” James adds.
Together, the two have grown accustomed to working together to create their own spaces. This year they plan to venture forth in their creativity with more modern home designs to come in Old Naples.
ARCHITECT Architecture Artistica
INTERIOR DESIGN Tara Bates, Lime International Decor
BUILDER BC Construction
PHOTOGRAPHER Rick Betham