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Home of the Month: From Mediterranean to Contemporary in Fort Myers

How a Fort Myers couple renovated their Mediterranean-style home into a showcase of contemporary living.



Sometimes, when you follow the crowd, you end up in a place that is totally unfamiliar. And if you’re particularly stubborn, you stay there for 15 years.

That’s how things went down for Robin and Gary Correnti. They moved to Fort Myers from New York, bought the lot and promptly waited two years to build. And when they finally did, they did what everyone else was doing.

“We had never built a home before, and we just did what everybody else was doing: the columns—all that Mediterranean junk,” Robin says. “It was the flavor of the month: the arches, the columns. … I went with the flow.”

“The faux. You went with the faux,” Gary chimes in.

Of course, they can be forgiven. All the cool kids were doing it. But after 15 years, it’s amazing how poorly the faux Italianate style held up. Even the Capulets wouldn’t be caught dead in one. So the Correntis called in designer Dwayne Bergmann with the thought to renovate the kitchen and perhaps repaint other rooms. When he returned with a 3-D presentation of the entire house, the Correntis were blown away.

Bergmann took the dark, dated interior and transformed it into a showcase of contemporary living, something that particularly resonated with Gary because he grew up in a very modern home. In fact, the only piece of furniture that survived the Bergmann renovation was a spectacular 20-piece vintage de Sede DS-600 nonstop modular sofa that holds court in the living room. It was purchased 40 years ago by Gary’s parents.

“I don’t want to say that we designed the whole house around that couch, but a lot of it was,” Robin adds. “It’s the coolest couch in the whole world.”

And it’s finally in a house that makes sense. Bergmann gutted the 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom home and had the Correntis move out for eight months as renovations took place. Every column that wasn’t weight-bearing came out, new hurricane windows went in, beautiful smoked-walnut flooring went down. And that’s when the designer started making some noise. The chef-grade kitchen, a space that gets a great deal of use with the family, became a gleaming showcase of design. Whimsical paper florals adorn the walls, and the eat-in island features a monolithic green glass top that brings the “wow factor.”

“I love that they wanted this very unique, three-dimensional look,” Bergmann says of the florals. “I think it’s very cool and very unexpected. … You have these little lighthearted pops of relief. It makes you smile.”

And with a swap of the locations of the dining and living rooms, the home flows much better and allows for an immediate statement upon entering thanks to a no-holds-barred dining area with 24-foot-tall coffered ceilings and a neighboring sweeping staircase featuring a plush purple runner.

The entire home is now the perfect gallery space to display the family’s art collection, which includes Calders and Pottorfs. The powder room is also an artistic tour de force, thanks in large part to its door. Bergmann had the solid door routered and then commissioned former Fort Myers artist Veron Ennis to work her magic on it.

“They asked what I was planning for the powder bath and I said, ‘Don’t worry about it,’” Bergmann adds. “I put these small iridescent subway tiles on the floor and these massive 24-inch-by-72-inch tile on the walls with an industrial pattern. But because of the location of the bath and its interaction with this beautiful sitting area, I wanted to create something special. I didn’t want it just to be a door. … It’s one of the coolest things in the house.”

But the best part of all is that the homeowners have definitely been true to themselves and said goodbye to the faux.

At first glance this den may appear to be a retro excursion to ’70s glamour, but upon further inspection, it’s a bold homage to modern living. Though the leather couch truly is a survivor of the disco age, the two-tone structural media wall keeps eyes focused on clean accessories. 

 

Right off the home’s foyer, this area was previously a little-used formal living room. The homeowners’ love for entertaining has brought life to the space. The massive table is flanked by delicate and whimsical chairs featuring silver seating and Dalmatian print.

 

Color and lines are appreciated throughout the home, and this beautiful console plays perfectly with the room’s art.

 

Thanks to the home’s high ceilings, grouping art vertically allowed for a visual statement. Here, a teal lacquered bar cart serves as a base for a trio of Pottorfs while the living room awaits around the corner.

 

The home’s centrally located kitchen walks back and forth between minimalistic finishes and over-the-top accents. The eat-at island features a dominant green glass surface so large it could be made only at one particular glass shop in Central Florida, while decorative flowers weave around the room.

 

The home’s office enjoys a lovely view of the outdoor living space and the surroundings beyond while lowering the level of eclectic interference elsewhere.

 

Of course, the guest powder bath is anything but subdued, thanks to a stunning door created by artist Veron Ennis.

 

Interior designer: Dwayne Bergmann Interiors

Photography: Rick Bethem

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