MINI / Mindful Parenting / At Home

Baby’s First Bungalow

The founders of Stone + Beach Design transformed their Naples home for the arrival of their first son.

BY March 31, 2022
(Photo by Dan Cutrona)

Jeremy Jones needed to turn his bachelor pad into a family home—and fast. Jones and his girlfriend Sydney Moeller had talked about moving in together, but she had resisted relocating to his home, which she describes frankly as being “like a circa-2000 bachelor pad.” The happy news of a baby boy on the way fast-tracked their plans for cohabitation.

Fortunately, the couple was uniquely equipped to turn the dark, outdated space into something bright and stylish in record time. Jones is the founder of an eponymous decorative painting business in Naples, Jeremy Jones Fine Finishes, and as a result, he has deep experience with home renovations. (He also makes those uber-cool crystal-and-resin tables and other home accents that aesthetes fawn over at places like Judith Liegeois Design & Gallery and East West Fine Art.) Moeller also has a creative background and had just finished a major renovation of her home in Fort Lauderdale, which Jones helped manage. 

Even more importantly, the couple was in agreement on the direction they wanted to take the house. “We wanted it to be a chic, modern, beachy bungalow,” Moeller says. Having already worked together on her home, they were experienced in making design decisions as a team. “We knew it was going to be a lot of work having a child, and we knew if we didn’t do it right then, we might never do it,” Jones says of the decision to renovate when Moeller was five months pregnant.

To kickstart the makeover, the couple called on their friends, family and coworkers to help gut the main living space down to the studs. “It was a demo day just like you see on HGTV,” Jones says with a laugh. The next order of business was to open the main living area. Down came the nonstructural wall between the living room and kitchen; out went a hallway to the office and laundry room nearby. “We wanted a hotel vibe,” Jones says. “Think: really clean and modern with everything in its place.”

Rounded kid-friendly kitchen barstools
While design-forward, every detail was conceived with the baby in mind. Rounded furnishings keep little noggins safe, white oak-look synthetic floors can take a beating and clever details, like the Kraft paper roller in the kitchen, help the family keep things in order. (Photo by Dan Cutrona)

While they didn’t expand the house, the new layout made the three-bedroom home feel much larger. (It also allows them more family time, as they can still interact when one is in the kitchen cooking while the other is playing with Navy in the living room.) A few tweaks to the exterior also improved the flow. Bumping out the front door just a couple feet and installing a window provided daylight and a place to drop keys and the diaper bag. They knew they’d be welcoming lots of friends and family eager to meet the baby, so they replaced a window with slider doors in the guest bedroom to make hosting more comfortable.

With the bones for the new space defined, Jones brought in his professional expertise. He reconfigured and repainted the existing dark cherry kitchen cabinets a light, modern gray. Counters were swapped from a dark stone to white quartz, which can easily be wiped clean with bleach, if needed. In the living room, he treated the walls with a faux-concrete finish and, in the dining room, he embellished a wall with dramatic black Venetian plaster. The most impressive decorative finish may be the poured resin floor with embedded crystals in a guest bathroom. 

The couple selected new furnishings that fit their hotel-inspired aesthetic that would also stand up to the rigors of a young child (that resin floor looks like art, but it cleans up like a dream). A pair of curving loveseats and an upholstered ottoman form a stylish sitting area, with the added bonus of no sharp corners for a toddler to bump on. Plus, the performance fabric upholstery is no match for grubby fingers. They used white oak accents throughout the house, including the entertainment center, the kitchen island, floating shelves and the primary bedroom headboard, but opted for a synthetic flooring, designed to look like white oak, that could weather wear-and-tear. To help keep themselves organized, the couple created a designated space for everything. They also rotate toys, storing some and bringing in new ones to keep clutter from accumulating. And, some areas were intentionally left unfurnished to allow baby plenty of room to play.

For Navy’s nursery, they converted a guest room, avoiding kitschy kiddie decor and keeping with their modern aesthetic. “We are pretty hip, if I can say that,” Jones says with a laugh. “We want [our home] to still be cool.”

Crochet bassinet
The crochet bassinet from their babymoon in Tulum, Mexico, reflects Moeller’s boho vibe. (Photo by Dan Cutrona)

The entire house came together in less than five months–including a two-week break for a babymoon to Tulum (they came back from that trip with a boho-chic bassinet that tends to hang out in their room)–and was completed just weeks before their son Navy, now 2, was born. “Our house now reminds me of an art gallery,” Jones says.

In the whirlwind of new parenthood, the couple became keenly aware of their friends and family’s delight in the refreshed space. “We started thinking after we got everyone’s reaction from the house,” Moeller says. “We knew it was pretty amazing, but we definitely were motivated by others’ reactions to the space.” They wondered, could their love of design be turned into a home design business? With the world turned upside down by the pandemic and a new baby at home, Moeller saw the appeal of pivoting to a career that would let her make her own hours, and Stone + Beach Design was born. Jones continues to run his decorative painting business as the couple slowly takes on a few clients for design projects, including a bathroom renovation and a backyard lounge space. 

While they’re taking a measured approach to their new business venture, it has been full steam ahead in their personal lives. The couple recently closed on a new, larger home in Logan Woods, which they are renovating in their signature, sophisticated beach-house style (they’re still hanging on to their old home for now), and the family is expanding, with Moeller expecting another baby in May. “We’re pregnant again, and we’re remodeling again,” Jones says with a laugh. Fingers crossed, they can finish before the baby comes.

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