Home and Design

Design Trends: The Gulfshore Finds Its Groove

Southwest Florida design sizzles with brights, whites and a coastal style of its own.

BY December 3, 2014


Color and Texture

Designer Inga Sempé elevated the simple lines of Ligne Roset’s Ruché platform bed with distinctive quilting—a form of boutis stitch work using cross-hatched interrupted seams. The blue hue is a refreshing break from woven or wood. Starting at $4,985 at Ligne Roset/I Empress Design at Miromar Design Center, Estero.


Simplified Sophistication

Transitional design’s emphasis on clean lines and absence of frou-frou is pared down even more, to its most simplistic form. Naples designer Janet Bilotti created a dramatic entry using just a console with two coral bases and a colorful beach-themed painting that introduces the home’s bright blues. Crisp white is contrasted with wood floors and dark furnishings. Blown-glass art is displayed on the wall to the left. “‘Fresh’ and ‘clean’ are the two words clients use the most,” Bilotti says.


Cottage without the Kitsch

Deborah Chase, an interior designer with Norris Home Furnishings, finds design inspiration throughout Southwest Florida and her Pine Island home. “I keep in mind the color palette of sandy beaches, crystalline seas, clear blue skies, brilliantly hued sunrises and sunsets, vivid exotic flowers and lush tropical foliage,” she says. Chase loves the store’s new Tommy Bahama Ivory Key collection and its fabrics: a kaleidoscope of aquamarines, cyans and palm greens in chevrons, ikat, embroidery and striped patterns, and textured solids. When using a lot of bright colors, white can be the perfect background. White painted bead-board walls and sun- and sea-weathered finishes provide a sophisticated spin on the cottage look. Ivory Key pieces also feature quatrefoils, leather-wrapped bamboo and raffia accents. $2,295, as shown, at Norris.


Tables Have Turned

For a different take on driftwood, the Ligne Roset/I Empress Design Alburni tables, available in two sizes ($750 and $785) at Miromar Design Center, are laser-printed to emulate the look of a split-open log—minus any imperfections. “Ligne Roset is über modern and high design,” says Nanci Breeze, who works with the brand. “It is the trend—modern, clean and fresh.”


Fort Myers Modern

A peek inside a builder’s own waterfront home is a study in mod finishes warmed with dark wood-framed furniture and hits of bright greens and yellows. Charlie Hansen of Clive Daniel Home replaces traditional beige backdrops with gray in the striated honed linear marble floor and the split-faced brick travertine wrapping the column and dining room wall in a brick pattern. The stairway’s glass wall enhances openness; the sheer beading between living and dining rooms is hippy chic and a little reminiscent of an Art Deco SoBe hotel lobby without all the white.


Neon Lights

Melon-washed walls provide a soft backdrop for a Barefoot Beach model home’s sitting room designed by Collins & DuPont. Neon yellows and greens add pizzazz while black-and-white artworks introduce the coast. Mango wood textured end tables embrace the popular trend of painted furniture and driftwood while turquoise ottomans ground the room with hues of the Gulf. The ceiling also plays with color.


The New Naples

Aldo Castillo, owner of the eponymous gallery at Miromar Design Center in Estero, saw the paradigm shift in local design earlier than most. “A lot of people think Naples and Southwest Florida are conservative, but the area has become an international, progressive, diverse and sophisticated destination for forward-thinking people,” he says. More designers and homeowners are gravitating toward contemporary and modern art as captured in the works of artist Scott Ashley, whose 2014 Swimming Body acrylic on canvas Castillo sold for $12,000 this year.


Fresh Spin on Old Florida Architecture

Toscana Homes’ newly constructed beach house near the Naples Pier is a welcome departure from Old World and Mediterranean architecture. Instead, it’s an exaggerated Old Florida-style home with tin roof, lap siding and plenty of white woodwork. Its cantilevered balconies provide a contemporary spin, a theme continued inside where white interiors provide a blank canvas for bolts of color.


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