This old naples residence stands out from its mediterranean-style neighbors. It stands out from its Old Florida neighbors, too. Instead, its clean, sloping angles and organic materials fit more along the lines of what architect Mark J. Leonardi refers to as regional modernism.
“There’s been a lot of talk recently about transitional architecture,” he says. “That seems to be a new tag line. People are trying to tag things and give it some kind of meaning, but they’re not looking to the root of where something came from. Can’t it just be a new movement? Can it be a ‘regional modern’ that’s coming into this area and starting to influence it?”
That angle, as he describes it, isn’t about the latest fad in architecture. Instead, it’s about taking timeless design and building upon it to create something that’s current and specific to its location. “We know we can’t do something that you’re going to see in the Hamptons or out in LA,” he says. “We’re using indigenous materials from around here. There is a certain purity about the forms in this house. We’re not trying to reinvent anything, but to take it into a different concept.”
He carried this theory with him when redesigning this home, which was built in 1954. In its original plan, it was shaped like an acute trapezoid, so it came to a sharp point on both sides with a pitch in the center. The concept for the new design was to recall the essence of the older structure, he says, which manifested in a low-profile façade that soars to the back of the house.
On the corner of second avenue South and Third Street South, architect Matthew Kragh re-made history. Originally built in 1940, the cottage was “unlivable” when Kragh signed on to the project. “Anyone else would have walked up and said, ‘This thing has got to come down,’” he says. But former owner and developer Kristen Williams—whose name the house, called Kristen’s Cottage, reflects—wanted to preserve its integrity.
Though the stick-frame structure of the house is still the same, Kragh and his team modernized the construction, redoing the flooring, expanding the square footage, raising the whole house 18 inches and making it energy efficient, with impact windows and Icynene insulation. They also reused the home’s existing mahogany and other hard woods, planing them down to take off layers of aging and replacing them in the home in ceilings and decorative elements.
“Recent clients have not been buying lots, knocking down the existing houses and building McMansions,” he says. “They’re respecting the historic feel of Old Naples and trying to salvage what was there.”
More and more, the eco-conscious are incorporating green design into all aspects of their homes. In creating a nursery for her son, Marco, interior designer Kira Krümm focused on a space that would be tranquil, pure and simple, ultimately good for her baby and good for the environment, as well.
The crib, she says, was the first and most important selection. She chose a contemporary-style crib made of New Zealand pine wood from sustainable forests that is lead- and phthalate-free and can later convert into a toddler bed. Even the carpet—which is made of corn—is environmentally safe.
Keeping with her signature coastal aesthetic, Krümm gravitated toward light neutrals with touches of dark wood. Done in shades of cream, khaki and soft green, the crib set by Nature’s Purest Collection is 100 percent premium organically grown cotton with no pesticides, chemicals or dyes. Custom-designed pillows in certified organic washed cotton and linen from her own Kira Krümm Kollection provide the finishing touch for the gender-neutral, eco-friendly haven.
THE QUINTESSENTIAL BEACH HOUSE
If you’re living in southwest florida, it only makes sense that you’d seek out a home that reflects the carefree appeal of a beach vacation. (Isn’t that, after all, why we love it here?) “Coastal” was the key word for Lisa Ficarra Shepherd of Ficarra Design Associates when designing this 4,000-square-foot beach house on Fourth Avenue North in downtown Naples. The homeowners wanted it to look as if they just walked off the beach, she explains. So she brought in light colors, wide plank flooring and, of course, corals and shells. A few coats of white paint transformed the home’s former pine wood accents into something fresh and airy—including the spiral staircase, which Ficarra Shepherd admits she originally wanted to tear down because she thought it looked so outdated. Instead, it became one of the best-loved aspects of the home.
“This is what lots of my clients are looking for,” says Ficarra Shepherd. “They want lighter, fresher, simple, clean design, but they want it to be comfortably elegant.”
(EVEN MORE) OPEN FLOOR PLANS
While it’s certainly not a new concept for homeowners to opt for living space that flows from kitchen to family room, some architects and designers are taking it to the next level. In this Moraya Bay condo, even the master suite lacks a wall between the bedroom and bathroom, an alteration to the original floor made by interior designer Renee Gaddis that, upon seeing how it maximized the view, led the developer to make it a standard feature in the rest of the building’s units.
Gaddis also removed the wall between the shower and the tub deck, seen at far right, to allow natural light to flood the space, highlighting the silver travertine on the walls and the green quartz tub deck. Thanks to the altered design, the green quartz is showcased from the master bedroom side as well.
The overall goal, though, was to highlight the spectacular Gulf views from several rooms within the unit. “We’re seeing a lot more open floor plans,” Gaddis says, “and why waste the view? It’s the key.”
Renee Gaddis, formerly of Collins & DuPont Interior Design
Jay Zapata, Artistone