Home of the Month: Leonardo da Vinci Would Love This House

This Cape Coral reconstruction goes modern but features interpretations of the great artist’s masterworks.

Cape Coral is getting hotter by the day. And it has nothing to do with the burning of fossil fuels or greenhouse gases. Europeans are flocking to the city and building showstoppers such as this 10,000-square-foot-under-air (15,000-total) beauty just minutes from the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

This six-bedroom, five full- and two half-bathroom home was built to be used as a holiday retreat for homeowners Heiko and Alexandra Sauer of Berlin, Germany. Like anyone who lives in a northern climate, they found Southwest Florida’s winter weather too good to pass up. And so they bought the lot, tore down the existing aging house, and asked the architect to build “a nice, modern-looking home” that was spacious and took advantage of the property’s wide canal views.

Then, as the building was taking shape, they called interior designer Leili Fatemi of Leili Design Studio to work some magic on the cavernous space. Fatemi, who is also an artist, studied design in Europe and brings a European modernist aesthetic that is a magnet for foreign-born homeowners in Southwest Florida. And for good reason: Clean lines, neutral tones offset with pops of color, modern furnishings and accents, and rich woods that add warmth create a space that appeals to virtually everyone who walks in.

In fact, upon entering you’re struck by the expansiveness of the home. The first floor seamlessly blends both a living room and a great room, giving guests plenty of space to relax. The great room has 25-foot ceilings and is highlighted by a massive fireplace/television combo set in Lexington white quartzite. Above that, three stunning art pieces—each 4 by 10 feet—bring the eye skyward thanks to the dramatic use of color. Gorgeous modern sconces by Cinier LT bring the space to scale, while an adjoining wall features an installation by the designer of a series of stainless steel boxes pouring out from the ceiling. Modern glass chandeliers throughout add glamour and help bring down the ceiling height. The entire home uses a wood-look porcelain tile in varying shades as a base.

“Both Heiko and Alexa were very clear about the style they wanted,” Fatemi says. “Modern. … But he likes the cool colors of blue and gray, and she likes warmer tones of gold and orange.” Alexa also does art and graphic design back in Germany and has an interest in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. “I wanted to include her passion,” Fatemi adds. Combining the two styles was tricky, but the designer found spaces to incorporate modern interpretations of da Vinci’s masterworks, including an example of Vitruvian Man that the designer split into three glass panels that could be lit from behind. In front of the work, she placed a Porsche Design 911 GT3 twin exhaust sound bar that fills the home with music.

“That’s why I went with the dark wood,” Fatemi adds. “When you see da Vinci’s drawings, you see browns and beiges.”

An illuminated da Vinci helicopter concept sits just off the open gourmet kitchen, which blends modern with industrial and features double islands topped with Cambria quartz. The main floor also sports two master suites, which look out to the water and the home’s expansive outdoor living and pool area, each with touches that speak to the homeowner’s appreciation of the modern aesthetic. The second level features the remaining bedrooms, as well as a loft and game room area with a wet bar and access to a large sun deck. It’s a home that makes every day a holiday in Cape Coral.

Walking through the front door of this waterfront home generates nothing but smiles thanks to a terrific melding of straight lines and curves. The mix creates a welcoming yet modern look, leading eyes toward beautiful outdoor views. The homeowners also appreciate the works of Leonardo da Vinci, and the home includes several nods to the Italian genius, including a replica aerial screw (far right).


With a European aesthetic toward modern, the home doesn’t shy away from color, shine or cool lighting. Pendent chandeliers in a variety of shapes, along with exposed metals, are everywhere from the master (above) to the kitchen (below).



Located just off the outdoor living area, the home’s second master suite mimics the first by using blasts of cobalt blue juxtaposed with chrome and bold patterns to create a space that is both energized and relaxing.


With 25-foot ceilings, the home’s main living space has room to spare, but Fatemi masterfully brought things to scale by adding custom original art above the fireplace and television. Each panel is 4 feet tall by 10 feet wide.


In yet another nod to da Vinci, the interior designer found a large print of Vitruvian Man, split it into three panels, and then placed a thoroughly modern Bluetooth speaker from Porsche Design (built from the twin exhaust of a 911 GT3) in front of it.


Architect/builder: Palladio Homes

Interior designer: Leili Design Studio

Photographer: Giovanni Photography